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Light Bulbs

Philips Hue expands on HomeKit, teases new 'Hue Entertainment'

Philips Hue's motion sensor, dimmer switch, and self-powering Hue Tap light controller will soon work with Apple HomeKit. Lighting integrations with TV, music and gaming are on the way, too.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

It's been a busy IFA for Philips Hue.

hue-tap-product-photos-5.jpg

In October, the Hue Tap light controller will gain new compatibility with Apple HomeKit, along with Hue's dimmer switch and motion sensor.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

That's the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, in case you didn't know, and it's Europe's largest tech showcase. It's also where Philips Hue decided to make a bunch of news this week -- including two fairly significant announcements earlier today.

First, Philips announced that the Philips Hue Motion Sensor, Philips Hue Wireless Dimmer Switch and the self-powered Philips Hue Tap light controller will all soon be syncing up with HomeKit, Apple's iOS-based platform for the connected home. 

They'll join Philips Hue's bulbs, which hopped on with HomeKit two years ago by way of the second-gen Philips Hue Bridge. Compatibility is slated to start working in Octobe. Once it's live, you'll be able to activate your HomeKit scenes with a single button press on the Hue Tap, dim your HomeKit-compatible lights using the Hue Dimmer or any number of other intriguing combos.

Coming in December, "Hue Entertainment" promises to sync your Hue lights up with new movies, video games, and music.

Extract from Disney Moana "How far I'll go" by Auli'i Cravalho, in a tech showcase with new Philips Hue entertainment, synchronizing Philips Hue lights with entertainment content. Image (c) Disney Music

The second big announcement today is something called "Hue Entertainment" that's expected to arrive this December. Essentially, it's a new set of software tools developed in conjunction with the entertainment industry that'll let you sync your Hue lights up with movies, music, gaming and streaming content for automatic color changes that match whatever's playing.

Calling it "surround sound for the eyes," Philips Lighting's Home business group leader Chris Worp promises that Hue Entertainment will be "fast, synchronous and easy to set up."

"We want Philips Hue to be a natural ingredient of any gaming, movie or audio experience, complementing action on the screen," he says.

Existing users won't need to buy anything new to take advantage, provided they own a second-gen Hue Bridge -- that's the square-shaped one. You'll get everything you need through a free software update.

Philips calls its earlier lighting integrations with programs such as 12 Monkeys and Sharknado a pilot for what it wants Hue Entertainment to be. The company tells me it had developers jumping on board "within two minutes of the announcement going live."

Philips wouldn't share any details on who's jumping in just yet. Though, from the looks of it, Disney's on board.

The new announcements come hours after Philips already revealed that its three main starter kits -- Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance, Philips Hue White Ambiance and Philips Hue White -- will all soon include four bulbs instead of just two or three.