Welcome to a lessons learned document explaining what issues I experienced with the Phillips Hue Sync Box and how I finally found a way for my home entertainment system to be harmonious!
The main issues I had with Phillips Hue Sync box is the frequent black screens that would result in being in the middle of an online game and cannot see what Im playing for a few seconds. Or watching a movie and the screen goes black mid movie too. This multi part solution resolved these issues for me. This will not support 120hz or other more complex unsupported configurations but for those who just want the lights behind the tv to work reliably this is a good option. Phillips may launch an 8k sync box someday but for now I think its best to accept what we have already.
- Use really high quality HDMI Certified cables, I tried probably close to 8 different types and found the Belkin HDMI cables to be the most reliable
- Use ARC or eARC over HDMI to the sound bar or amplifier and do not pass HDMI video signals through an HDMI input on your sound bar or amplifier. Using HDMI passthrough resulted in too many disconnects.
- If you have a device that uses a lot of bandwidth over HDMI like an Apple TV 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos or an PS5 and probably even an Xbox the Hue sync box only has 2 ports that can support that much bandwidth and they are Ports 2 and 4
- Even if connecting high bandwidth devices to ports 2 or 4 and high quality cables if your devices has an option to reduce bandwidth usage make sure you opt to using lower bandwidth. For example the PS5 has an options in Settings > Screen and Video > Video Output > 4k Video Transfer Rate: -2
These options work well with CEC too but on occasion waking up my ps5 shows my Apple TV until I press a ps5 controller button and vise versa, waking up my Apple TV Shows my ps5 until I press an Apple TV Remote Button.
The Journey to this realization:
Shortly after paying the price for the Hue Sync box and Play gradient when they first launched I had my Apple TV Hooked up and it worked nicely for a few weeks with very light usage. Then the black screens started to occur.
I read what I could online and was told it was the HDMI cables.
I bought and tried 6 different HDMI cable types and always had black screens.
I then thought it must be the sound bar so I exchanged my sound bar and that also did not help the issues.
I contacted support with Phillips hue and Vizio and Phillips hue offered to exchange the hue sync box under warranty and so I was able to get that swapped out and black screens occurred yet again.
I contacted Vizio again and they recommended I have the boards inside the tv replaced so I had the tech come out and do that.
It still occurred so then I decide to buy an LG tv and must I say LG is a great tv brand, just saying.
After the black screens returned I read online that a certain cable resolves the issues and so I bought the Belkin cables mentioned and it worked better and longer but black screens still occurred.
Running out of ideas I explored other options that don’t need to use HDMI like the GOVEE system but I did not like the camera horn sticking out in front of the tv and I also didn’t like that it wasn’t very automatic and required to use the app and a lot of manual calibration.
I decided I would try a holistic approach reading every Reddit article I could find and came up with the plan for the solution mentioned at the beginning of this posts and sure enough after using this solution for weeks I can confirm it works really really well.
It requires each of those bullet points of the solution to work together, only doing part of the bullet points does not work, all of them need to be implemented for the Phillips Hue Sync Box to simply just work and work well and easily enough anyone can enjoy it.
To summarize its not just the cables, the ports its those as well as the devices themselves having the settings to reduce the bandwidth going over to nice cables and the good ports.
I hope this is useful to you and maybe you can dig your hue play lights out of storage to enjoy again, that’s what I did and Im glad I gave them one last try. They are working so nicely now.