In many living rooms, it has long been a matter of course that surround sound is part of a good evening TV. But there is still room for improvement.

At least that's what the manufacturer Signify, which was formerly called Philips Lighting and sells the networked lights known under the Philips Hue brand, claims.

The system that is able to produce surround light around the television is called Hue Entertainment.

We tested it for several weeks.

Getting Hue Entertainment up and running in the living room is not entirely trivial.

But it's not really that complicated either.

If everything is installed correctly, the light in the living room synchronizes with the content that you see on the television.


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The atmosphere becomes more haunting


That sounds like a gimmick at first.

But that's not it.

If the light and media content are in sync, an atmosphere is actually created that allows the viewer to immerse himself in what is happening on the screen.

You almost get the impression that the screen is getting bigger, which of course it doesn't.

But it seems so.

However, it takes a lot of effort to get there.

First of all, you need at least a Philips Hue lamp and a Hue Bridge V2.

This bridge looks like a large ice hockey puck and is the control center for the networked lamps.

A smartphone app called “Hue” helps set up the bridge and lights.

There is a whole range of different shapes and models, from light strips to pears that are screwed into normal sockets.

Due to their LED technology, they are able to reproduce all possible colors in order to create certain light atmospheres that are defined in the app.


For Hue entertainment, an additional set-top box is now required, which bears the unmistakable name "Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box" and is placed between the television and all kinds of playback devices such as Apple TV box, Fire TV, Chromecast, PlayStation or Xbox is switched on.

The Hue box has connections for four HDMI devices, which can also be a TV receiver or a Blu-Ray player.

The television is controlled via the fifth HDMI connection.

All content from devices that are connected to this box can be synchronized with surround light.

When all devices are connected, the user has to install the Hue Sync app on their smartphone, which then guides them through the further setup of Hue Entertainment.

First the smartphone connects to the box via Bluetooth, which then has to be connected to the WLAN, in which the Hue bridge also transmits.

Basically, the app also guides you through the set-up here.

However, you first have to create an entertainment area in the normal Hue app, in which you determine which Hue lamps should participate in the synchronization.

System crashes occasionally

We initially made the mistake of including all the lamps in the living room.

When the TV evening started, the other family members wanted to flee the room for fear of a nervous breakdown.


Indeed it blinked badly in all colors.

It quickly becomes apparent that less is more.

We have deleted all lamps from the entertainment area with the exception of the two Play Lightbars.

The light bars are 25 centimeter long lights that can be placed upright on the left and right of the television.

That's enough.

In this way they create the effect that the Philips TVs have built in with their Ambilight - but now also with other TVs.

Conclusion: The effort for Hue Entertainment is high and expensive.

The Hue box costs 250 euros.

If you don't have any Hue lamps in use, you also need a bridge, which costs 60 euros.

And the double pack of light bars is sold for 130 euros.

Our set-up amounts to 440 euros.

That's a lot of money for surround light.

In the test, however, there were occasional system failures.

Sometimes the lights would flash briefly, but very brightly, for no apparent reason on the screen.

Repeatedly, the box simply stopped working so that the lamps no longer emitted any light.

Apparently this is a problem that can be solved by an update, because after restarting the box everything works as usual.

Once the system is up and running, it's really fun.

Provided that you have set the intensity in the app so that the family will also enjoy it.

Otherwise you sit alone in the living room.

This article was first published in December 2019.