There is one main reason to buy a Philips Smart TV over rivals from the likes of Samsung, Sony, Hisense, TCL and others – its nifty Ambilight technology. For those who don’t know, Ambilight is the name Philips gives to the strip of multicolour LEDs that surround the back of the screen and illuminate the wall behind the telly with colours picked from what is happening on screen.
So, if you’re watching BBC’s Blue Planet, the wall behind your TV will be bathed in stunning blue shades, but if you’re watching a horror film there will be nothing but a flicker of a yellow light beamed from the candle on-screen. The whole thing is pretty effective and incredibly immersive. Once you’re used to the effect, you’ll instantly miss it as soon as you switch to a bog-standard telly where your movie or show stops at the border of the screen.
Thankfully, those who decided to buy a rival gogglebox from the likes of Samsung, Hisense or others can now enjoy the same Ambilight experience. That’s thanks to the launch of a new Philips Hue lightstrip which can be mounted to the back of your television where it can flash, flicker and glow whatever colour is needed to match what is happening on-screen. It’s a nifty way to upgrade your viewing without the cost of buying an entirely new TV.
That said, there are still some extra costs to factor in. First of all, you’ll need to buy the lightstrip itself, which start from £129.99 for 55-inch to 65-inch TVs and rises to £149.99 for 75-inch or larger TVs. Then you’ll need a Hue Bridge (£49.99) to plug into your Wi-Fi router to connect the lights to your home internet connection.
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And finally, you’ll also need the Philips Hue Play HDMI sync box (£229.99) which draws information from what is taking place on-screen and translates that into the lights needed for an ambient glow around the borders of your TV.
If you have a 55-inch TV you can expect to spend a total of £409.97 to bring the Ambilight capabilities to your telly. Of course, if you already have Philips Hue smart bulbs in your home, it won’t cost you quite as much as that – as you’ll already have a Hue Bridge, so can deduct £49.99 from that total.
At the most expensive, you could find yourself forking out £429.97 to kit out a 75-inch Smart TV with the headline feature of Philips’ own TVs. For that much, you can pick-up an Ambilight TV from Philips in Black Friday sales. So, you’ll have to be really married to your current TV to cough up this much.
The new kit is all available to order in the UK Philips Hue store right now. If you’re overseas, you could face a wait. In the United States, you won’t be able to get your hands on these new gadgets to retrofit your telly with Ambilight until October 16, 2020.
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