Philips Hue PLAY Light Bar – Just a Backlight for Your TV or More?

Written by Martin Regtien on . Posted in Miscellaneous

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Disclaimer: Yes, we bought into the Hue ecosystem, meaning that just like Lego we want to have all the bits and pieces that Philips/Signify/Hue bring to the market.

In every colour. In every shape.

Today we look at the PLAY component. 16 million colours in a svelte, black unit that can sit unobtrusively behind your television or game monitor, casting a soothing backlight or vivid auroras of light that match what’s on your screen or sync with your music.

The new bias lighting disco ball...

The unit under review is a PLAY light bar (actually two of them, feeding off one power plug that can accommodate 3 of these lights.
We positioned them behind our Samsung TV, utilising a little plastic stand that comes with the units. Alternatively you can also use the included adhesive pads to “glue” them onto the back of the TV. Probably best to give yourself some wiggle room to adjust the lights for best viewing experience.

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Switch the power on and a pleasant warm white light emanates from the back of the TV.
If you want to “play” around with all the colours of the rainbow plus 15,999,993 others, you need to have a Hue Bridge (see our earlier reviews to know what that is all about). Important is not only that you can choose your colour(s) but also the dimming levels.

This is where the Hue PLAY lights really shine: Light, Colour, Action!
If you just need a simple backlight for your TV viewing, a small Himalayan salt lamp works fine.
But if you want to turn it up (or down!) a notch and dial in some colour for your action movies or when gaming, the PLAY is an excellent choice.

You may find that running this sort of active “bias” lighting on a TV may have a slight delay, taking away from the experience. This is less so when using the Sync function on your PC monitor.

Here are some action shots of various scenes (there are plenty of video clips on the internet that show its full capabilities, including syncing with Spotify) but a few screenshots will give you the idea. Click on the images to enlarge them.

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We love how Philips comes up with new luminaires to bring colour into our lives. We looked at their outdoor range earlier in the year and we got our eyes on some bluetooth units that have just been announced.

The Hue PLAY units will stay behind our TV but we will get a couple of other units in the bedroom as well. These are perfect for dimmable mood lighting...

Note: keep in mind that Hue Sync only runs on a desktop – not on the Hue app. I think that is an oversight in this day of PC-less households...

And a reminder that you do need to either have a Hue Bridge already or purchase one to make full use of the PLAY’s capabilities.

Weird: Sometimes, when you use the colour presets in the Hue app, one of the lights has a slight delay and a different colour than the other light... Puzzling.

See below:

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Final point of improvement: the power plug adapter is too wide and I had to use a two-way adapter.

Price is AUD199 for the base unit with 2 light bars.

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