How to setup Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box

Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box

Philips Hue Sync Box connects Philips Hue lights to your TV to create immersive media experiences, with a simple HDMI set-up. This means that anything HDMI compatible can be connected to Philips Hue Play (HDMI) Sync Box, including games consoles, DVD players and laptops. With this new feature you can take your movies, music, TV series or video games to the next level and enjoy interactive experiences that react to action in real time.

Simply plug in the Philips Hue Play (HDMI) Sync Box via HMDI into you TV. Download the Philips Hue Sync Mobile app to control it. Pair the Philips Hue Sync Box to the Philips Hue Bridge. Then connect up to four HDMI devices to stream content from Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, game consoles, laptops or Blu-Ray players, and your Philips Hue lights will sync with the media content to create an exciting and interactive experience in your whole room.

What you will need

  • 1 or more color capable Philips Hue lights.
  • Philips Hue Bridge V2 and above.
  • An entertainment area (created in the Philips Hue main app).
  • Display/TV/projector for watching content, needs to have HDMI input.
  • 1 or more HDMI output devices (game consoles, Chromecast, set top box).
  • High speed HDMI cable (1 already included with the Sync Box).
  • Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz, during setup active internet connection needed).
  • Mobile device with Philips Hue and Philips Hue Sync apps installed.
    • iOS 11 +
    • Android 7.0 +

How to setup

Here are step-by-step instructions on setting up the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box.

  1. Install Philips Hue lights and setup Philips Hue Bridge.
  2. Download the Philips Hue Sync app and Philips Hue app on your mobile device.
  3. Connect your Hue Sync Box to your TV with the HDMI cable that is in the box. 
  4. Connect your HDMI devices (DVD player, gaming consoles, Chromecast) to your Hue Sync Box. 
  5. Power on your Hue Sync Box by connecting it to the power adaptor, using the cable that is in the box. 
  6. The LED will start blinking blue, confirm in the app that this is the case. 
  7. Make sure Bluetooth is on your mobile device is turned on.
  8. Accept Terms and Conditions in the app.
  9. Connect to the Hue Sync Box via Bluetooth. 
  10. Select your WIFI network and make sure this is the same your bridge is connected to. 
  11. Enter password (no copy/paste possible).
  12. Connected, press next.
  13. Press button on sync box for 3 sec, LED is white, flashes green once when linked successfully.
  14. The app will now check for updates, install these, afterwards press Next.
  15. Connect to Hue bridge, make sure it is powered on and on the same WIFI as your Sync Box. 
  16. Press search, when your Bridge is found, press the button on the Bridge, press Next.
  17. Select or create an entertainment area. 
  18. Name and select icons for your HDMI input devices (this can be changed later, and this step is optional.

You’re all set, choose Let’s go! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What lights do I need?

You will need to have an entertainment area set up in the Philips Hue app. For this, you will need at least one Philips Hue color capable light.

What apps do I need?

You will need the Philips Hue app to connect your bridge, set up your lights and set up the entertainment area. The Philips Hue Sync mobile app is also needed to setup and control the Sync Box.

Does the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box work with the apps on my Smart TV or built in casting solution?

No. Smart TV apps run directly on the TV. The content will need to pass through the Sync Box so it can analyze the content and send the right commands to your lights.

Will existing Philips Hue lights work with the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box?

Yes, all existing Philips Hue color capable lights will be able to connect to Philips Hue Play (HDMI) Sync Box to create an immersive entertainment experience.

How does the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box work?

Connect Philips Hue Play (HDMI) Sync Box to your TV and download the Philips Hue Sync Mobile app to control it. Plug in up to four HDMI devices and the content will be sent from the Philips Hue Play (HDMI) Sync Box to the Philips Hue bridge. This in turn will control the lights. This works to decrypt the data and create a light script for an exciting and interactive experience.

As well as the default behavior, you can tailor the reactions of your Philips Hue lights to correspond with your entertainment. Customize the brightness, speed of effects and more with just the click of a button to enjoy entertainment that’s tailored to you. And change predefined settings to your own liking to fully automate the device to react on your remote control and turn on automatically with other devices.

What does the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box support?

The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box supports all HDMI devices and resolutions up to 4K. Resolution above 4K will be downgraded to 4K when passed though the HDMI device.

  • All HDMI devices will work with Philips Hue for TV, from the various game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation), to Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, HD DVD/Blu-ray players, digital cameras and laptops as long as they are connected via HDMI.
  • What won’t work is streaming directly to your TV or devices connected via other connections (optic, SCART etc.) as this will bypass the Sync Box.
  • 3D, HDR+, Dolby Vision and HDMI ARC content is supported as pass through, but the light sync will not work.

What HDMI standard is supported?

It supports HMDI 2.0b, with HDCP 2.2. Resolution up to 4k 60Hz HDR10.

What will happen to my content if I don’t want to sync my lights?

You can easily select between syncing mode or not. When you’re not syncing your Philips Hue Lights your Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box will just act as an HDMI pass-through device.

Why is there a dedicated app to control the device?

The initial entertainment onboarding including the creation of an entertainment area is still done in the Philips Hue main app. From there you branch off in whatever direction you want; Razer, Hue Sync on PC/MAC or the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box. The onboarding of the Philips Hue Sync Box itself, including paring to the Hue ecosystem and the daily control and customization of the light effects is all done in a dedicated app in order to make it as easy and quick as possible.

Does this work over Zigbee, WiFi or Bluetooth?

The setup of sync box is done both via Bluetooth and WiFi. Afterwards the sync box communicates over WiFi with the Hue bridge which in turn uses ZigBee to control the lights. All without any delay.

Will Philips Hue Sync Box also work with non-Philips Hue products?

No, the entertainment feature requires special software within the lights, so it is only available for official Philips Hue and Friends of Hue products.

Can I use more than 10 lights at the same time? 

Philips Hue Play (HDMI) Sync Box can connect to up to 10 Philips Hue lights at once. You can create multiple entertainment areas of 10 lights to switch between.

Can I use Philips Hue Sync for desktop to control my Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box? 

No. You control the Sync Box via the Philips Hue Sync app on your mobile device. 

My lights are not in sync with the content and sound, what can I do? 

Delay/speed up settings in the Philips Hue Sync app. 

What does the USB port on the back do? Can I power my Chromecast Ultra via the USB port on the back? 

The Hue Sync Box only uses the USB port to check the state of the TV (on/off). If the TV is turned off or on, this is detected, and the Hue Sync Box will follow. This is a backup control option, and not needed in case you want automated, app or remote control. 

Can I use the Sync Box with multiple people? 

Yes, if the Hue Sync app is downloaded on another device, follow the installation steps, but when it asks if the LED is blinking blue, say no. Pick solid white. You then will be asked to press the button on the Sync Box. After that you can control the Sync Box from this other mobile device too.

I hope this well researched article helps you setting up your HDMI Sync Box. If you have any questions or need help please feel free to leave a comment below. Stay Safe!

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21 thoughts on “How to setup Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box

  1. Can the intensity of the Ambilight be controlled in the Sync Box?
    I had an Ambilight TV a few years back and setting for that was an ‘expert’ setting. Fortunately someone released the code to get to the hidden settings.
    As standard, Ambilight was too bright for my situation.
    It looks like the current Ambilight TV’s have this as a ‘regular” setting. Looking at their manuals.
    Stay Safe.

    1. Yes, you can use the splitter box but the sync box will not auto sync when the signal is detected. You have to open the sync app and press the sync button.

      1. James, i am using a setup where my receiver has two HDMIs and one is going to TV and the other is going to the Sync Box. They are simultaneous signal, so just the same image. My app does recognize the signal but it does not turn sync on. I have to do it manually. Is there a way for me to get it automated? quite annoying having to turn on system + entering the app and turning sync on…

  2. I have a Smart TV and I use the app from the TV. There is any way that I could use the sync box with this setting?

    1. I have my TV, amazon fire stick, Apple TV and a DVD all connected to a Bose surround sound system – how can I set up the Play HDMI Sync Box to work with the TV (amazon fire stick) and sync with my Phillips Hue lighting?


      1. All HDMI devices will work with Philips Hue for TV including Apple TV & Amazon Firestick as long as they are connected via HDMI. Please refer to the step by step instructions mentioned above.

  3. I’m having issues connecting the box. I’m in the step where I need to hold the power button for a few seconds but nothing happens. No green light or anything. I’ve been stuck with no luck. I’ve been calling Hue support but I get placed on hold for long periods of time!

    1. Can you try to factory reset the HDMI Sync Box, to see if this fixes the issue. Please remove the power first, and then hold the button and connect it to power while holding the button, and wait for 15 seconds to issue a full-factory-reset. Let me know if this works out.

  4. Hi,
    1. Is it possible to adjust the color of the lights going through the sync box? The majority of colors is OK, but I have green instead of blue on the wall while syncing lights.
    2. The gradient light strip doesn’t turn of when i turn of my TV and the sync box powers off. I need to turn the light off thru the Hue BT app. Is there any way to fix this issue?
    3. Is there any way to adjust the color of the wall as it was possible on my Philips TV with ambilight?

    1. I had to set my 4x hue playbars to go back to previous state in the hue app. So if the sync box turns them on, when it goes off they go off too. Guess this would be the same with the lightstrip.

  5. How do I select my primary input device? Sometimes when I power my system on it is on input 1 (Firestick) and sometimes input 2 (chromecast). There seems to be no rhyme or reason why it opens up to one or the other.

    1. I was hoping this to be the case. My hdr work fine until I connect to the sync box. All tv setting for 4K/HDR are on auto – all my hdmi ports are hdr compatible – I have hdmi 2.1 cables in and out of all devices. Apple TV and ps5 are in hdmi ports 2 & 4 on sync box. TV states it’s in hdr, but Apple TV and ps5 stare tv not hdr compatible – most recent firmware update for box is complete – I can’t figure this out…

  6. When watching my Samsung TV through my cable box that runs through the Hue Sync Box, my TV will turn off after about 20 minutes. The Hue lights connected to the Sync Box and Sync Box continue to work (changing to whatever is coming through the cable box, but the TV just turns off). I’ve toggled on or off the automated actions on the sync settings in multiple configurations and have had zero success. I’ve gone through the entire TV menu and reviewed the settings, there only setting that could even have caused this on the TV side is the eco mode which will turn the TV off after 4 hours if there is no adjustment to the TV in that time. Certainly nothing that automatically shuts it off every 20 or so minutes. This only began after installing the Sync Box. Anyone else having this issue? Are there any thoughts on how to fix?

    Thank you,


    1. Something similar. From time to time while watching My tv will loose signal as if the SyncBox stop sending signal. I know my AppleTv is still working because sound is coming out from my HomePod. Just loose signal then the sync box will go in sleep mode. I Change cable reset everything same problem. I just ask Hue to send me a replacement…. 3 weeks delay.

  7. Do I have to run another HDMI cable back up from the sync box back up to the TV if the TV is the only device that I am synching? I do not have any other devices like a game console. The box is not detecting the HDMI that is already plugged in between the tv and the sync box. thanks.

  8. I’m in need of some advice please. My current set up is:
    TV – Samsung QE75QN800A (with One Connect box)
    Soundbar – Samsung Q600A (connected via eARC)
    Panasonic bluray DP-UB820EB
    Sky Q

    I’m adding some lights into the mix with Philips Hue Sync box (yes, have a Bridge) + Play Gradient Lightstrip (poss. other lights later).

    Have followed instructions for Bridge and Sync box start up and that’s ok.
    However, on connecting all bits to the Sync box, then Sync box to the TV there was no ARC (as there’s no ARC with Sync Box).
    So, then connected soundbar to TV (arc) and remaining items to the Sync box, then Sync box to the TV. This gave two problems:
    1.When using bluray the TV speaker only worked – I want bluray audio via soundbar.
    2. When TV turned on the lights come on and begin to sync.
    When using TV I will not always want to use the light system but I will always want Sky Q and soundbar connected so don’t want to be swapping or making things on/off all time.
    Is it my connections or is there a setting somewhere I’m missing?
    Any advice how best to connect the Sync box into the existing mix would be appreciated.

  9. Getting ready to return the whole setup….
    Sony A80C 65in OLED TV
    Apple 4k TV
    Philips 10ft Premium 8K HDMI Cables

    Soooo ya… Apple tv will play Dolby Atmos 4k no problem.
    Using HDMI 3 or 4 and the enhanced is turned on in the SONY menu.
    Unplug it to play through the Phillips box, nothing.
    I can only get it to play 1080 Atmos.


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