I wanted to share my comprehensive test report about the new HDMI Sync Box from Philips Hue with you until today at the latest. With a price of just under 250 Euros, the entertainment device is anything but a cheap affair, so you'll want to inform yourself thoroughly beforehand. Now I have to inform you: the test report won't be published soon because I'm still disappointed with the HDMI Sync Box.
The reason is quickly explained: in my setup, consisting of Sky receiver, Apple TV and BluRay player, the automatic change between the inputs does not work. Especially between Sky receiver and Apple TV we switch back and forth quite often in everyday life. So far, we have solved this quite comfortable with a Logitech Harmony. With the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, switching between the inputs should be automatic, but that's not working in my case.
So every time I want to switch from one source to another I would have to manually select the input in the Hue Sync app. This is something that my wife would veto at the latest. So I have removed all the wiring and currently only connected the Apple TV to the HDMI Sync Box.
But even that doesn't work properly: the Apple TV doesn't switch off immediately when you switch back to the Sky receiver. This leads to the fact that the light synchronization is continued although the input is no longer active. Currently, I have to start and stop the HDMI Sync Box manually if I want to use it with my Apple TV.
Update: on Sunday I have dealt with the topic in detail once again. Apparently, devices that don't turn off completely immediately by using the (universal) remote control are responsible for the problem. The Apple TV is a hot candidate here because it only switches to sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity. For the Sync Box, it is not obvious that the Apple TV is actually no longer active, although it is still sending a signal.
In this current situation I don't want to commit to a final verdict at the moment. The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is actually very easy to set up and, in combination with the right hardware, provides great effects – which you might have already seen in my little video.
I will get feedback in Eindhoven
I will continue to work on this topic and have very good news for you: next week I'm going on holiday to the Netherlands. That sounds relatively unspectacular in the first place – but I'll stop by the Philips Hue headquarters in Eindhoven on Friday. There, I will hopefully be able to talk to the right people about my current problems with the HDMI Sync Box. I also want to find out how exactly the individual lamps in the Hue Entertainment area are addressed and how the positioning in the app affects the color rendering.
The causa Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is definitely not finished for me. Currently, I would only recommend the box to users who only have one input signal. That is, only if there is only one source anyway, or if there is a device such as an AV receiver in front of the HDMI Sync Box which takes care of the input sources.