The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is a fun way to add interactive lights to your setup, with the box taking an input HDMI signal and synchronising light colour to it. It has one major limitation at the moment: it only supports 60Hz inputs.
Starting from this Autumn, the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box will get a free software input that will enable it to take a 120Hz input from the latest games consoles, the Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and the Sony PlayStation 5.
As the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box has only HDMI 2.0 inputs and output, the box is only capable of supporting 120Hz at 1080p and 1440p resolutions, rather than full 4K. Whether this matters or not, depends on your setup and the type of console you want.
First, for 120Hz gaming, you need a display that supports the refresh rate. Few 4K TVs do, the LG OLED55CX being one of them. Higher refresh rates are more common on gaming monitors, with both 1080p and 1440p a common resolution, so you could run the Sync Box to a display.
The type of console you have will make a difference, too. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are designed for 4K gaming, supporting the maximum 120Hz; the Xbox Series S has a 1440p resolution, so its resolution limit falls within the capabilities of the Hue Play Sync box.
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Ultimately, for those with top-end hardware and the latest TVs, the choice is going to be between whether they want the highest resolutions and frame rate without Hue light synchronisation, or higher frame rates at lower resolutions with Hue light synchronisation.
There’s currently no word on whether Philips is working on a new Sync box with HDMI 2.1 ports. In the meantime, given that most people don’t have 120Hz capable TVs, the update should suit most setups.
A neat upgrade to a cool product
The Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is one of the most fun products I’ve used. Combined with the gradient light strip on the back, it’s turned my regular TV into one with a Philips Ambilight-style backlight, changing colour to match the on-screen action. I’ve already seen the box updated to support Dolby Vision content, and this update expands the box’s capabilities further, even if 120Hz at 4K is not possible.