Philips brings Ambilight to other TVs with its smartest lightstrip yet

Mike Wheatley

Philips is bringing its Ambilight mood lighting experience to almost any kind of television via an upgrade to its Philips Hue Play lightstrip.


The new gradient LED lightstrip “generates multiple colours at once and blends them together seamlessly, creating a magical viewing effect around your TV,” according to Philips.

For those who’ve not seen a Philips TV before, Ambilight is a unique feature that uses LEDs around the edges of the screen to echo whatever colours are being played on-screen. The effect helps to make the edge of the TV screen less apparent, creating an illusion of a bigger picture that some say, helps draw viewers into the scene. The technology has been around for years, and while it might not be for everyone, it definitely has its fans.

Philips said its new lightstrip will be available in three sizes, to accommodate TVs of 55-, 65-, and 75-inches. It said it’s the company’s first lightstrip that can sync with whatever media is being played on-screen, which means each individual LED will be able to generate light of different colours at different brightness levels to match the content.

The Philips Hue Play gradient lightstrip also comes with rounded mounting brackets which should make it simple to attach to the TV.

Unfortunately though, if you’re planning on transforming your existing Samsung, Sony or LG TV to am Ambilight-esque model, that transformation won’t come cheap. That’s because the Philips Hue Play gradient lightstrip needs to be paired with the HUE Play HDMI sync box, which must be purchased separately. This sits between the TV and the content source to analyse the signal as it comes in and help the lighting sync with it. Users will also need to invest in a Hue Bridge, which can be controlled using the Hue Sync mobile app. The Hue Bridge is a lighting hub that can be used with up to 50 lamps and other accessories throughout the home, for setting timers and routines and controlling the lights when not at home.

Those devices don’t come cheap however, with the HUE Play HDMI Sync box priced at around £229.99 and the Philips Hue Bridge likely to set you back another £50 or so.

The Philips Hue Play gradient lightstrip itself will cost £160 for the 55-inch strip, £180 for the 65-incher and £220 for the biggest 75-inch version. Philips said they’ll go on sale in the U.K. in October.