A good, properly configured surround-sound system can put you in the middle of the action of a TV show or movie, minus all the burdens a fictional protagonist must bear. But what if you're chasing that something extra? Syfy, using Philips' Hue lights, is having a crack at that special something, using its new show The Expanse as a guinea pig.
Variety's Janko Roettgers writing from this year's CES, visited Syfy's "Labs" booth, which had a demo playing of the cable channel's illumination-based experiment. Essentially, Syfy recruits someone to go through each episode of a series — in this case, The Expanse — and create a light "map" for the Hues to follow:
[The colours change] depending on what's shown on-screen during an episode of its new drama "The Expanse". During a moment of suspense, the light may glow blue, only to flash in red patters in the middle of a fire fight.
I imagine you could take it further — gunfire hits a ship, and the lights flicker as power is interrupted. It'd certainly add another dimension to each viewing.
There are a few catches, however:
[The lights] are controlled by the SyFy Sync second-screen app. Users just have to start the app on their Android or iOS device, after which it automatically listens to the TV to keep track of the action, and then change the color and intensity of the light based on what’s happening in the show.
Not exactly the most hands-off experience, but then, it's just an experiment. One we're unlikely to ever see deployed en masse, but it's certainly a nice idea.