The instructions that come with the Philips Hue White Lights Starter Kit are short and sweet, making it look easy to get into automated home lighting. But if you want to control your Philips Hue lights with Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, it’s not quite that easy. It took me a while to figure it out, in fact. Plus, you will need to repeat part of the process every time you add a new light bulb to your home. So I made a video to show step by step how to set up your Philips Hue lights, and how to integrate them into your Smart Home network, so you can control your lights with voice commands to Alexa. It also shows how to use the Philips Hue app on your smart phone.
As you will see from this video, the boxed set contains two light bulbs, as well as a Philips Hue bridge with a power cord and an Ethernet cable, which you connect to your home wifi.
The first step is to download the Philips Hue app on your smart phone. This enables you to switch the lights on and off with your phone, and with Siri. The Philips Hue app also prompts you to update the software for your lights, and does the update for you.
However, you have to do another step to get the Amazon Echo to work with your Philips lights. Note that I did this step on my browser on my laptop, but you can also use your Alexa app (if you live in the USA or the UK – in other countries, it is not possible to download the Amazon Echo app). If you do the setup on your browser, the web site is http://alexa.amazon.com. You will of course need to log in, and then choose the Smart Home menu on the left.
As you will see in the video, you will need to create a Group and name it something like “Living Room” (the default), so that you have a way of telling Alexa which lights you want to control.
The bulbs in my Philips Hue starter kit are basic white, 850 lumens. They boast a very long life, and very cheap running costs. I also ordered a Philips Hue White Ambiance Light Bulb, because two bulbs is not enough, plus I wanted to try out the various shades of white that are offered by the Ambiance light bulb. Below is a video that shows the different shades of white you can enjoy with a Philips Ambiance light bulb. The video also shows how to control the shades of light using the Philips Hue app on your smart phone:
I highly recommend the Philips Hue White Lights Starter Kit for those wanting to get started with automated lighting. It’s not cheap, but it makes my life easier, and makes me feel like I am living in the future!
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