Complete guide to lighting Philips Hue Smart Home

There are many smart lighting options to choose from, including C from GE, Lifx, and Ikea Tradfri. But arguably the most popular in Philips Hue, made by a company called Signify.

Philips Hue is a huge smart lighting ecosystem. There are light bulbs of various shapes and styles, light strips and waterproof lighting for the garden, as well as a range of switches, dimmers and other accessories.

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Installing a smart lighting system for the first time can be intimidating – and we have to be honest, an expensive project. Smart lighting, especially light strips and the company’s new Hue Play products, have relatively high prices.

And yet, on the other end of the scale, some newer Hue lights now work with Bluetooth. This allows you to install and control a single smart lightbulb from your phone. Or, you can replace every light bulb in your home with a smart shade alternative. It’s really up to you and your budget.

The Hue Starter Kit contains three color bulbs, a hub and a Signify dimmer switch

Types of light bulbs

Unless your only plan is to attach a Hue light to a lamp, you need to know the type of lights that are already installed in your home. The E26 is a popular type of lamp in many households, but some properties use ceiling spotlights that Hue is not suitable for. So, you need to check your current lightbulbs and see if Hue has an equivalent product before you begin.

If Hue doesn’t offer the same lights as the ones you already have, you can either replace the lights with one that’s compatible with Hue lights, or move the Hue light somewhere else, e.g. B. on free-standing lamps or by attaching LED light strips to furniture. Lamp types also vary by country, but for this item we will stick to the Signify’s Hue range offered in the US.

Philips Hue lamp types:

  • BR30 E26
  • E12
  • A21 E26
  • PAR38 outdoors
  • E26 downlight 4 inches
  • E26 downlight 5/6 inch
  • G25 E26 globe filament
  • A19 E26 filament ball
  • ST19 E26 Filament Globe

The Hue collection also includes a range of wall and ceiling lights or different designs, as well as pendant lights and garden or path lights that are intended to be sunk into the ground.

Next up are Hues LED light strips. The indoor version is 80 inches long and can be extended with a 400 inch extender kit. There are also 80 “and 197” weatherproof outdoor light strips, as well as light strips that are specially designed for the back of your TV and offer screen sizes between 55 and 75 inches.

Table lamps are also available that can be used to cast light onto a nearby wall for smartphone-controlled mood lighting. There are also the new Play light bars, which we will explain later.

Hue bulbs typically start at around $ 15-20 and go up to $ 40 or even $ 50. Inexpensive multi-packs are available. Three White & Color lamps cost about $ 100. Hue light strips start at $ 80, the 40-inch extension starts at $ 25, and outer strips start at $ 90. The Hue Play gradient light strip for attaching to televisions costs between $ 200 and $ 240, depending on the size.

White Philips Hue Smart lightbulbs

White Philips Hue Smart BulbsSignify

The difference between Hue White and Hue White & Color shines

There are two versions of many Hue lights, White and White & Color. The former can be set to any brightness and temperature, which means that they vary from a cool, crisp and slightly bluish white to a soft, warm and orange tinge.

White and colored lights do this too, but they can also be made in 16 million colors. Because of this, Hue’s colored lights are more expensive. Unless you want the option of making your kitchen bright red or your lounge blue, Hue’s white lightbulbs are suitable for most applications.

What is Hue Play?

Philips Hue Play light bar
The Hue Play HDMI synchronization box works with two Hue Play Signify light strips

Play is a new branch of the Hue ecosystem and is made up of colored lights designed to be used with your TV. The range includes a pair of light bars that can stand upright or be placed at an angle and project their light onto the wall. There are also the gradient light strips mentioned above that attach to the back of your TV that can display multiple colors at once.

All of these features are designed to be connected to the Hue Play HDMI sync box, which then plugs into your TV and anything you normally plug into the TV, such as a TV set B. a game console, a streaming device or a cable box.

The Sync Box then analyzes what is displayed on the TV screen and controls the connected Hue Play displays accordingly. In this way, the colors of the TV are projected onto the wall behind and on the side, creating an even more intense experience.

Building a Hue Play system isn’t cheap though, as the HDMI sync box costs $ 230. You’ll then need to hook it up to a pair of Play light strips ($ 130 for a pair). If this is your first Hue device, you’ll also need to buy the $ 60 bridge that connects the lights to your WiFi router.

It takes a lot of effort, but the results can be spectacular. Only as long as you have the light and your TV in the right position.

Do all Hue lights need the bridge?

Philips Hue Bridge

Philips Hue BridgeSignify

No. Some newer Hue lights can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. They will then be controlled by a new Bluetooth version of the Hue app.

This can make setup easier for those who only need a few lightbulbs and know that they will always be within Bluetooth range (up to 30 feet) when they want to control them. However, the features here are limited and the lights cannot be controlled when you are away from home.

In our experience, your best bet is to buy the $ 60 bridge, which gives you the freedom and flexibility of control over WiFi and even from home. The cheapest way to buy the bridge is to purchase a Hue starter kit, which often includes three lightbulbs, the bridge, and sometimes a wireless dimmer.

Signify is currently selling a Hue starter kit with four White & Color R26 lamps and the Hue Bridge for $ 200. The same kit but with white lightbulbs is $ 120. Each bridge can control up to 50 lights so you probably only need one in your home.

Philips Hue switches and accessories

Philips Hue wireless dimmer

Philips Hue wireless dimmer switch Signify

Part of what makes the Hue system so comprehensive is the additional accessories that Signify sells, such as switches and sensors. Most useful is the dimmer switch, which is wireless and battery operated and has four buttons to turn lights on and off, adjust brightness, and cycle through several lighting settings that you can configure in the Hue smartphone app. The dimmer can be wall mounted or used as a portable radio remote control.

Signify also sells indoor and outdoor motion sensors – handy for turning on bathroom lights during the night – and a single smart button that can perform a range of functions with the push of a button. All of these accessories are configured using the Hue phone app for iOS and Android.

Finally, there is a smart plug from the Hue brand that you can use to control devices such as lights with the Hue app or to talk to your voice assistant.

Smart home integration and voice control

Tint lights work with almost all smart home systems, including the popular options from Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. This means that the Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri voice assistants can be used to control your Hue lights, and the lights can be integrated with other smart home devices using automation platforms such as IFTTT.

Once everything is set up, you can ask your voice assistant to turn an entire room, floor, or house with lights on and off at the same time, or you can request just a specific lamp to light up, as well as for each color, temperature and brightness.

In terms of automation, the lights on our favorite Hue controls gradually turn on to wake us up in the morning. Then at 6 p.m., switch from a cool, light color to a softer, warmer shade to signal that work is done for the day.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility tester, to see the other compatible products that work with Philips Hue smart lights

GearBrain shows how Alexa and Google Assistant control the Philips Hue Go

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