I have simple, if expensive, needs. I want to achieve, in 2018, the kind of immersive glow that the Philips Ambilight, a product last updated in 2007, provided the TV obsessive a decade ago. I can drop £115 on the Dreamscreen backlight, but I’d much rather use the eight Philips Hue lights already in my basement. If TV and set-top box makers embrace Philips’s new Entertainment API, my needs might finally be met.
The Philips Hue Entertainment API has long languished in the development stage. Philips broached the possibility of syncing entertainment with Hue lights back in 2015 when it showed off gameplay from an Xbox One synced with the the lights in an apartment. But back then the apartment was outfitted specifically for the demo and the Xbox One was hacked by Philips.
Now anyone with a PC can download Razer’s Synapse software and sync their lights to their games. They don’t even need any of Razer’s glowing devices to do it. They just need the software, which is free, and a Philips Hue setup. The software also works in conjunction with Razer Nooma speakers that have Chroma built in.
The light show will absolutely break you brain if you use it for any extended period of time. Using the Chroma Workshop app you can configure your lighting setup. Basically, the lights can function as an extension of any Razer Chroma stuff you might already own, flickering with a keypress or functioning as an equaliser readout as you jam to “Despacito.”
But the real killer feature will be when fans and game designers use the Chroma Workshop to program how lights function when you’re playing a game. They could flicker like candlelight when you’re hunkering down in a tavern in Witcher 3, or flash red when you get ganked in Star Wars: Battlefront II.
That’s the kind of extravagance I imagined when I bought my eight Hue lights. And I am very excited to see what other people do with the system. Imagine it linked to a Roku set-top box or a TV, automatically adjusting the lights depending on what’s playing. Or better yet, imagine if Sony or Microsoft supported the API on their consoles. The chance for a rave gaming room is really finally here. I’m a nerd enough to be pumped.