(Pocket-lint) - A couple of years ago, Philips announced the promise of improvements to the Philips Hue lighting range with the addition of Philips Hue Entertainment. This system allowed for the creation of entertainment zones within your home where smart lighting could be used to create greater ambience when watching different sorts of content.
An update to this system means you can easily set up Philips Hue lights to respond to what's happening on your gaming PC or Mac.
This includes syncing your lights with games, music and video that's playing on your machine as well as easily accessing standard scenes within the app.
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How to set up Philips Hue Light Sync
Firstly you need colour Philips Hue lights - any lights will do but we've found Hue light strips and spotlights work especially well. With the Philips Hue App installed you can create an entertainment area to tell the system which lights you want to sync with your games.
The next step is simply to download the Philips Hue Sync tool to your computer. Installing this will then talk you through the steps necessary to pair with your Philips Hue Bridge and to set up the app to work with your lights.
Within the app's settings, you can then select the monitor you wish to sync the lights with - if you're using multiple displays then you need to set the default monitor or the lights won't sync properly.
The app itself can then be set to launch when you turn your computer on or you can just start it when you want to use it like any other software.
For standard day-to-day use you can use this app to operate the basic light settings including brightness adjustments and switching between the four scenes (read, relax, concentrate and energize).
The fun happens in the other settings. Selecting "games" and clicking "start light sync" prepares your lights to respond to the games on your screen. It's then just a case of booting up your favourite game and diving in.
We've been giving it a whirl in various games and are thoroughly impressed with what a difference it makes to the experience. Sometimes the lighting is subtle, other times it's incredibly immersive. The brightness and colours displayed depend on what's happening on the screen and the syncing works really well.
You also have the option of switching between subtle, moderate, high and intense effects and even getting the app to use game audio to determine lighting visuals too.
This new system seems to be a great improvement on the previous syncing we've seen with Razer Chroma. It's also really flexible in that you can use it for everyday use and syncing with games and movies too.
Syncing with your favourite tunes and flicks
The Philips Hue Sync tool also offers the ability to sync your colour lights with music and movies you're watching on your machine. We've fired up Spotify and Netflix to give it a whirl and found it made watching and listening more enjoyable.
With music, you're given the option to select from various colour palettes for the lights to play with. The system then listens for the beats and makes the lights in your entertainment area respond accordingly.
With movies and videos, the sync app responds in a similar way to the way it works with games. The results are fairly fantastic.
This new tech is similar to what we've seen with Philips Ambilight televisions in the past, but now it can work in more places, as long as you have the processing power to back it up.
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