Hueblog: Philips Hue Sync TV App: From 5 January on Samsung Smart TVs

Philips Hue Sync TV App: From 5 January on Samsung Smart TVs

Sync Box alternative costs 129.99 euros

Just this afternoon I reported on the topic of Sync Box and external inputs, now there is more than interesting news from Philips Hue. At the CES in Las Vegas they announced that the Philips Hue Sync TV App will be released on Samsung Smart TVs. Owners of Samsung QLED TVs built in 2022 (from model Q60) can thus do without the Hue Sync Box.

Compared to Sync Box, the Sync TV app has a decisive advantage: not only external sources, but also internal apps and the classic TV signal can be used to light up to ten lamps in a Hue Entertainment area to match the TV picture. The app supports all picture formats including 8K, 4K and HDR 10+ as well as external sources and all built-in apps.


“This is an incredible milestone in Philips Hue’s home entertainment journey and our ever-evolving partnership with Samsung. We are proud to offer more immersive and personalized experiences with our new Philips Hue Sync TV app and look forward to bringing this new way to enable surround lighting to living rooms across the world,” says Jasper Vervoort, Business Leader Philips Hue at Signify.

The Philips Hue Sync TV app for Samsung has a catch

The Philips Hue Sync TV app will be able to be installed directly on TVs from 5 January, with support for Samsung Smart TVs built in 2022 (Q60 model and above). However, there is a big catch: the app is not free.

129.99 euros are due for installation. Of course, that’s a lot of money, but you also have to keep an eye on the relation: For the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, you have to put 269.99 euros on the table; the box is rarely available in stores for less than 200 euros. And unlike many other current app solutions, Philips Hue does without a subscription model for the Sync TV app, so you only have to pay once.

“We’re excited to bring the Philips Hue Sync TV app to Samsung TVs together with Philips Hue,” says James Pi, Head of Experience Planning Group, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “This innovative app offers our users a new way of experiencing TV content by immersing themselves in their favourite movie or game. It brings entertainment via our TVs to a whole new level.”


In den letzten Jahren habe ich mich zu einem echten Experten in Sachen Hue & HomeKit entwickelt. Mittlerweile habe ich über 50 Lampen und zahlreiche Schalter im Einsatz. In meinem kleinen Blog teile ich meine Erfahrungen gerne mit euch.

Comments 8 replies

  1. Before supporting Samsung, Philips have to make an update to Ambilight TVs to use gradient lights with full function. Not as a regular light.

  2. Is there any feedback about the lifetime of any Hue lamp when used several hours a day with hue sync system. I mean having a lamp with intensity and color that change that often does work well on the long run ?

    1. The following explanation is based on my current understanding of LED technology and matches usual recommendations about LEDs lifespan.

      Some background:

      The long explanation (but still highly simplified, hopefully still understandable):
      LEDs are electronic components that spit out photons when electrons change their power level when crossing their junction.
      The light wavelength depends only on the junction band gap, which depends on the materials used. While not strictly monochromatic, the emitted light spectrum is very narrow, and cannot be changed, a LED can only emit a single color.
      As for the brightness of an LED, it depends on the band gap again, either the voltage is sufficient for an electron to cross the junction and a photon is emitted to release the energy used to cross it, or the voltage isn’t sufficent and nothing happens.

      In short:
      A single LED module always emits the same color, and is an on/off process – it emits photons or doesn’t, there are no “less bright” photons.

      So how do these LEDs we have in bulbs and strips emit several colors and handle brightness?

      Pretty simple, to control the brightness, we use what we call pulse-width modulation (PWM), which basically means we quickly alternate between it being on and off, with different time lengths, to change the quantity of photons it emits during the same time interval.
      Imagine you have a light switch and have to control how much light you get in a room over a period of 1h, but have no way to dim the light bulb. If you want 100% light, you leave the bulb turned on the whole hour. If you want 50% light, you leave it on a half hour, and turn it off the next half hour, if you want 25% light, you leave it on a quarter hour and turn it off for the next 45 minutes.
      LED controllers (inside your Hue bulbs, not the Bridge) are doing exactly the same thing, but over such a short interval that you don’t see it blinking. It effectively turns the LED on to emit a few photons, then turn it off to stop the photons flow, then on again, …
      Less lights is always a matter of less photons, not less powerful or less bright photons, even with incandescent bulbs, it always only changes how regularly a photon is emitted.

      For the color, we combine several LEDs of different colors so their combinations can achieve the colors we need. Typically Red, Green, Blue for decoration lights, warm white and cold white for white ambiance (which can change white temperature but not color), and all 5 for good color ambiance bulbs (so they can both achieve colors and good whites).
      Using PWM for each LED, we can mix the colors and whites to achieve any color and saturation.
      The multicolor LED modules you see on lightstrips and tubes are in fact several LEDs contained in a single package.

      This means the controller circuit is always using PWM to make your LEDs blink to achieve the color/temperature and brightness you selected, even when the color and brightness are not changing dynamically, this is always how LEDs achieve brightness and how colors are mixed.

      Having fast-changing colors like when using dynamic scenes, or entertainment area sync, will only change the timings of the PWM signals sent by the controller to each LED, but will not change the stress these LEDs get, as they’ll get some PWM signal for a stable color and brightness as well, only the controller is working slightly harder at processing the incoming commands to adapt its timings more regularly.

      LEDs have their efficiency and lifespan reduced when they are used at 100% compared to 70%-80%. Like most electronics, it seems heat is the main culprit to reduced lifetime.
      The rapid on/off cycles used by PWM do not actually stress them, but instead give them short time slots to rest and cool down, improving their efficiency and lifetime.

      Since the different colors are different LEDs, changing colors regularly actually spreads the wear over the different LEDs, and further let each LED rest and cool down when not needed for a short time when a color they don’t contribute to is shown.

      Basically, I don’t see any reason Hue Sync would reduce the lifetime of your bulbs, probably even the opposite, as using the same colors as part of a static scene will wear the individual LEDs less evenly than when synchronized to a video with a wider range of colors, which can spread the wear over all LEDs.

      I’d focus instead on the known ways to achieve better efficiency and reduce heat, which are to try to use them in the 70%-80% brightness most of the time.
      Several sources, including Signify recent recommendations to save power (https://hueblog.com/2022/11/18/philips-hue-gives-energy-saving-tips-for-its-smart-bulbs/), mentioned bulbs are 70% brightness are only using 50% the power.

      Personally, I add bulbs if needed to be able to keep them below 85% brightness, which also makes it possible to push them to 100% for short periods of time when some extra light is needed. This is how to both increase their lifetime and achieve the same light output for less electricity.

  3. Would be very interesting if you can investigate if this comes to LG WebOS as well.

    I think it’s a real killer app and would definitely consider exchanging my brand new LG TV for a Samsung if there are no plans for an Hue App.

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