The new Play and Signe smart lights are designed to color your living room walls and smarten up your home entertainment experience.
With new outdoor fixtures, light strips and even a new smart mirror on the way, it's been a very busy summer for Philips Hue, the makers of the most popular line of color-changing, app-enabled lights. Today, that busy summer continues, with the announcement of two new Hue lights designed to accentuate your home entertainment setup when they arrive later this fall.
The first new product is called the Philips Hue Play, and it's essentially a 9-inch bar of color-changing light that you can stick to the back of your TV, or underneath a cabinet. Philips also says you can lay it on the floor to "wash a wall up to the ceiling with light," which sounds like a unique take on the geeky sort of smart home decor that products like these tend to represent.
The Play comes in both black and white-bodied designs, and will cost $70 (roughly £55, AU$95) for a single unit and the power supply. A base kit with two Plays, two base stands and the power supply will cost you $130, while additional Plays will cost $60 on their own. Each power supply can support up to three Plays.
The second new product is called the Philips Hue Signe, and it's a thin, vertical fixture designed to cast colored light onto your walls. A small-sized table lamp version of the Signe will cost $160 (roughly £125, AU$220), while a taller floor lamp version will set you back $250.
Philips tells me that each Play starter kit comes with bases that let you stand the bar up vertically, so I'll be curious to see how that approach compares to the similar-sounding Signe, which costs more than twice as much. One note: unlike the Play, which uses a separate power supply similar to a laptop battery, the Signe comes with a standard plug -- perhaps the plug-and-play simplicity will help win it some appeal.
Like other Philips Hue products, you'll control the Play and Signe lights using the Hue app, or with voice commands via Amazon's Alexa, the Google Assistant or via Apple HomeKit's Siri controls. And, like the rest of Hue's smart bulb lineup, the new products will require the Hue Bridge in order to translate their Zigbee signals.
Neither of the new lights comes with the Bridge, which costs about $60 on its own, so you'll need to factor in the cost of getting one if you don't already have one plugged into your router. Another option is to sync the lights up with the Amazon Echo Plus, which includes a Zigbee radio and support for direct connections with Hue's lights.
Both the Play and Signe product lines seem aimed at bolstering interest in Philips Hue Entertainment, a recent upgrade to the Hue ecosystem that uses software on your Mac or PC to sync your Hue lights with whatever's playing on your screen. We're still waiting for new announcements on that front, specifically some fresh content partners, or perhaps new versions of Hue Entertainment's software designed to run directly on things like smart TVs, streaming devices and gaming consoles. A spokesperson for Hue tells me that the brand doesn't have any announcements to share regarding Hue Entertainment at this point.
Both new products will be up for preorder by the end of September, with units slated to ship out in October. We'll plan on testing them out at the CNET Smart Home, so stay tuned for more.
5 reasons to buy color-changing light bulbs: Thinking about upgrading to color-changing smart lighting, but unsure of how you'd put it to use? We've got a couple of suggestions.
5 things to consider before installing smart light switches: Smart lighting is a great place to start in building your smart home. But you should know these four things before installing smart switches.