How To Video
Take control of Philips Hue smart bulbsDesigning a lighting scheme is easy with Philips' line of wireless LED bulbs, but Sharon Vaknin has some tips for making them perform automated tasks as well.
Out of the box, the Philips Hue is an awesome centerpiece. It turns your room shades of blue, red, green, and purple, plus you never have to get off the couch to control the lights. Well, once you get past that novelty, Hue can also be really useful. Today, I'll show you how to wake up with Hue, use it to keep burglars away, and set the mood the moment you get home. Once you've installed the bulbs and the portal is set up, first on your list is to set up remote controlling. That means you can actually control the lights from miles away. To do that, go to the app and tap the "Settings" button, then log in. Once you register for an account on the Hue website, you'll be asked to grant remote control access. Pick "Yes," head back to the app, and you should be set. Now, you can use almost all the app features even when you're not at home. You've also just unlocked three of Hue's best offerings -- alarms, timers, and geofencing. If you need a little extra push out of bed in the morning, there is a Hue feature for that. Waking up to light will tell your brain that it's morning and it's time to get up. To program an alarm, hit the "+" button to create a new scene, then choose the recipe and the brightness. Energize would be a good one for the morning. Now, choose which lights will turn on. And finally, tap this button then "Alarm" to set the alarm. When you're setting the time, you'll see you have an option to "Randomize." If you enable this, the lights will turn on and off at various times to foil any thieves. Then, choose your fade-in interval, the days, and you're set. Now, you can give the recipe a name up here and it will show up in the app. If it's blue, you'll know it's activated. Any time you want to deactivate it, just double-tap the scene. Hue is also pretty smart, if you train it to be. With geofencing, lights will automatically turn on when you get home and off when you leave. Here's how it works. Like the alarm, create a new scene, but this time, choose "My Location." This marker indicates where your house is. If you need to, hit refresh to help the app find you. Down here, check the boxes to decide when the lights turn on and off. Unless you don't get a lot of natural sunlight, check this box to make sure Hue only turns on when it's dark out. Now, whenever you arrive home, your lights will be on and the mood will be set. These are just some of the more useful Hue features, but there's lots more. So check out my complete guide on howto.cnet.com, and as always, hit me up on Twitter with any questions. For cnet.com, I'm Sharon Vaknin. Now, I think it's time to relax.