Synchronize Lights With Games and Music With This App

Windows, Mac: There are tons of apps you can use to put on a little light show at home (or at the geek’s den) if you’ve purchased the Philips Hue ecosystem. My room is filled with expensive color-changing LED lights and I’ve tested several of these apps, but generally I don’t need to make my room look like an exploding volcano on a regular basis. Apps like these are suitable for parties, but not very convenient for everyday use.

However, I love Philips Hue Sync , a free utility for Windows or Mac that lets you match music, movies or games to your lighting settings. First, it’s practical: when I play my fifth Starcraft II co- op match of the day, I love the things that amuse me. Having lights that match the general atmosphere of the cards I rotate adds a fun degree of immersion.

Secondly, the Hue Sync app is much easier to use than something like the Razer Synapse 3 app (forever in beta, it seems), which also syncs in-game activity to the Hue’s highlight. I found the whole process of setting up and using Synapse 3 with Hue backlit to be so hectic that I eventually gave it up. And that says something, considering I’m always looking for a silly new way to make my room look like a rock concert when I’m playing.

Thirdly, Hue Sync works with absolutely everything. Of course, your games won’t trigger custom effects like the Razer “I’m healing you in Overwatch and now I have a light on”, but the app analyzes what appears on your screen and adjusts your lights to match colors, like those settings ambient lighting that people use behind televisions. Only in this case everything is beautifully done by the ceiling (or neighboring lamps?).

To get started, you first need to use the Philips Hue app ( iOS or Android ) to create an “entertainment area,” that is, the specific lights you want to use for the Hue Sync app. I found it more practical to leave a few lights at the usual settings I use in my room, and tweak the rest for ambient effects, rather than turn them on all at once. For example, in a dark game like Diablo 3 , using any light source can make you feel like you’re playing in a dark cave – it’s a little depressing when it’s light outside.

Then, in the Hue Sync app, you choose whether you are playing games, listening to music, or watching videos. You also choose how reactive your light should be: weak, moderate, strong, or intense. Choose if you want the app to also respond to light signals for the sounds it detects, and then click Start Light Sync when you’re ready to go. Your lights quickly change the color of everything on your screen (in game and video modes) and forward.

While the app works well enough to give you a decent, enhanced ambience for your games and movies, it may still require a little tweaking for your music. There is still a slight delay between the drum beats and the lighting effects in the music mode of the app, and I’m not entirely sure what kind of weird pattern my lights are always trying to create. I’ve tested Hue Sync with a few different songs – some of the beats are a little more amorphous and some are pretty well-defined – and I still never felt my lights react the way I would rather they look.

However, Hue Sync is free, easy to turn on and off, and it gives you something interesting. There are much more sophisticated apps and settings out there to make your Hue lights responsive to what you do on your computer, but Sync does a decent job of making your games and movies seem so much more fun.

Do you have a Windows or Mac app (paid or free) that you really like? Tell us about it: .


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