luce.Life logo

Do you still know the good old dimmers? These whatits that we used to use to make the light brighter or darker? Quite frankly, we did not use them very often. Why? We had to get up to control our light. So, getting up quickly, setting the light, sitting down again and... drat, from here, things do not look as they did close to the light switch. So, up again, set the light... etc...

The idea

In contrast to this, the idea of Philips Hue does work like this: First of all, your remain seated and make yourself comfortable. Then you take your smartphone, tablet or laptop and adjust all Philips Hue lights exactly as you wish - every single light independently from all other lights. So, one is bright, the other dark, one is blue, the other red - whatever suits you best.

Philips Hue - Idea

Why does it work?

In the old days we only had filament lamps. Dimming them, their metal filament became more or less hot and thus more or less bright. That sounds more like a camp fire? Yes. It was one. Sometimes cozy but always nonpractical.

Today, we fortunately have LEDs - as for instance Philips Hue. They also can be cozy - but without fire. And, if desired, they even can do it the unpleasant way - if we, for instance, have to stay focused at work. Oh, by the way, Philips Hue also can make your life colorful - but obviously only after work.

How does it work?

Via your internet router. Today, it is normal that our smartphone "talks" to the router. Fortunately, we have WLAN (WiFi) for it. But how do Philips Hue lights "talk" to the router? They don't - actually, they have their own router. And to avoid any misunderstanding, it is called bridge. With a bridge, you can simultaneously control up to 50 Hue lights.

Philips Hue - Idea

(Logos: Wi-Fi Alliance, Zigbee Alliance - Montage: luce•LIFE)

The lights and the bridge "chat" via a specific form of WLAN - called ZigBee (indicated by a white Z on a blue background in the right part of the drawing).

There is just one remaining question: how do your router and bridge "chat together"? Simply via a normal network cable (the green line in the drawing). For your convenience, it is shipped with the bridge.

To sum it up:

Your smartphone, tablet or laptop talks via WLAN (WiFi) with your router. The router talks via a network cable to the bridge, which in turn uses ZigBee to adjust Philips Hue lights.

What this detour via ZigBee is good for? ZigBee does consume much less power than WLAN (WiFi). After all we do not want Philips Hue lights to consume more power than normal LED lights.

Hue lights - Let's start

One of the indicators for the success of Philips Hue are the various types of lights. But fortunately, it is easy to get started. For this, we only need four things:

  • A simple table lamp for A19 bulbs (UK base: E27, US base: E26)
  • A Philips Hue white and color ambiance A19 bulb (UK base: E27, US base: E26)
  • A Philips Hue Bridge 2.0
  • A smartphone or tablet with the newest version of iOS or Android

With these simple components you will already get the full "Hue feeling". All other Hue lights are only a variation of this theme.

Once you got the components, please proceed here.

Other lights

In most examples we show a Hue A19 bulb (E26 base) with color LEDs. Alternatively, the Hue system provides lights with white LEDs and GU10 base. This table provides an overview of all them:

Philips Hue designation Base LED type Color temperature
White and Color Ambiance A19 UK: E27
US: E26
White + color Adjustable
White and Color Ambiance B22 B22 (UK) White + color Adjustable
White and Color Ambiance GU10 GU10 White + color Adjustable
White and Color Ambiance PAR16 PAR16 (US) White + color Adjustable
White Ambiance A19 UK: E27
US: E26
White Adjustable
White Ambiance B22 B22 (UK) White Adjustable
White Ambiance GU10 GU10 White Adjustable
White Ambiance BR30 BR30 (US) White Adjustable
White A19 UK: E27
US: E26
White Warm white

The brightness of all of these lights can be dimmed.

Starter Kits

Hue Starters Kits consist of one or more Hue lights and a bridge. Philips offers these Kits in the UK and/or US:

  • 3x White and Color Ambiance GU10 plus bridge (UK)
  • 3x White and Color Ambiance A19 plus bridge (US)
  • 3x White and Color Ambiance B22 plus bridge (UK)
  • 3x White Ambiance A19 plus bridge (UK,US)
  • 2x White A19 plus bridge (UK,US)

Important: a bridge can be used to simultaneously control up to 50 Hue lights. So, if you have bought a Starter kit, it will be no problem to add any of the lights described in this page - without having to buy a new bridge.

Colored strips

Want to play with colorful light without depending on A19/E26, PAR16, BR30 or GU10? No problem - for this Philips provides Hue lightstrips. Their LEDs are mounted on a adhesive tape. Pasted below or behind a piece of furniture it seems to "glow". There are three types:

  • Lightstrip: 6.6ft (2m) long, cuttable
  • Lightstrip Plus 2M Base: 6.6ft (2m) long, extendable with:
  • Lightstrip Plus 1M Extension: 3.3ft (1m) long, to extend Lightstrip Plus 2M Base (up to 32 ft (10m))

In the old days, Philips provided a Lightstrip Starter Kit. Meanwhile, they are outdated. Please note that it is no problem to add a Hue Lightstrip to an existing bridge.

Integrated lamps

You prefer off the shelf solutions? Then you are in good company. This is exactly the direction Philips is moving in with more and more new Hue products. Create colorful light patterns with little money using these three integrated lamps:

  • Hue Bloom: brings color to walls - all without paint bucket and brush
  • Hue Iris: a larger version of Bloom
  • Hue Go: a portable version of Bloom

These three lamps are not available as a Starter Kit. However, you can add them to an existing bridge without any problem.

Hue Beyond - the gem

"Good design is as little design as possible". With Hue Beyond Philips follows this idea of  Dieter Rams.

Beyond lamps are based on two LED units. Philips calls this system "LightDuo". You can adjust the colors and/or color temperatures of these LED units independently. As an example, you may have cold white light shining downward to read a book, and at the same time red light shining upward to create a warm ambiance. There are three versions of Hue Beyond:

  • Hue Beyond table light
  • Hue Beyond ceiling light
  • Hue Beyond pendant light

Hue Beyond lamps are not available as a Starter Kit. However, you can add them to an existing bridge without any problem.

Colored light - Philips Hue Beyond

Even more Hue

Hue fulfills the basic human need for light and color with modern technologie. Philips was the first to see this connection. So, it is no wonder that Hue meanwhile is a synonym for LED lighting.

Encouraged by this success, Philips introduced over 9 new integrated Hue lamps in autumn 2016. For the sake of clarity we will not do this here, but recommend to have a look at   this (UK)  or   this (US)  webpage.