Philips Hue has made a really big announcement at CES 2023: its Hue Sync app is available from today on the best Samsung TVs. As someone who has (a) a Samsung TV and (b) a Hue Play Sync HDMI box I can attest to how brilliant Hue Sync can be, but I'm also really disappointed that Hue's gone for a really high price. If you want the Hue app on your 2022 Samsung TV, it'll cost a whopping $130.
Without the app, the only way to sync a TV with your Hue lights is to do it via the Play HDMI box, which costs £229. That mirrors whatever comes into it via HDMI, so it works with my Xbox Series X, my PS5 and my Apple TV 4K. But it doesn't work with my Samsung TV's native apps for the likes of Netflix, iPlayer and Disney+. I get round that by watching them via the Apple TV apps, but with the Hue app you won't need to do that. If you can see it on screen it'll sync.
Hue Sync on Samsung TVs: impressive but expensive
The new app is available for 2022 Samsung TVs from the Q60 model upwards, and while it's expensive it's a lot cheaper than my setup: instead of a £229 sync box and a £169 Apple TV you can now sync for £130. But that's still a lot of money for an app, and if I decide that the best TV for me in a year or two is a Sony or an LG then I can take all my sync stuff and swap it over. You can't do that with the Samsung app – and while you don't need to shell out for the Sync box you do still need to buy Philips Hue Play lights or lightstrips to get the full effect. They're hardly cheap.
My gut reaction, then: if you're sure you'll be sticking with Samsung for the next decade then the app's a worthwhile investment. If you're not so sure, you might want to consider a rival hardware solution from the likes of Nanoleaf or Govee.
Also in Hue news, there are new outdoor Hue lights: the Resonate downward wall light offers white and colour washes to brighten up any outdoor space, and the new Hue PAR38 floodlight bulbs are powerful enough for large gardens and back yards. And at long last the Hue Go portable table lamp will launch in Europe in February, some months later than originally planned and just in time for the return of better weather.