CES 2016: The show floor here at CES is absolutely packed with cool technology, but one that caught my eye was the SyFy Labs booth. It’s what they call their innovation lab, where they’re using all kinds of high-end and modern technology to inspire them to deliver the latest content. We’ve got VR headsets, allowing you to explore a demo called “expanse”, a virtual reality app for the Samsung Gear VR, where users can explore spacecraft and settings from the TV show in 3D.
It’s a cool demo and it’s clear how this could be a great tool for show makers to really get into the mindset of their locations in sci-fi TV and movies, especially given the level of greenscreen work.
Next up we’ve got 3D printing from MakerBot, while this is a great tool for making props and other cool things, you can actually download models of ships, props, logos and more from the shows and download them to print yourself!
Joining forces with Philips Hue, Syfy Sync can enable your home RGB lighting to run on a “lighting track”, allowing the 2016 season of The Expanse to give you an even more immersive home cinema experience.
It’s great to see TV show producers really thinking outside of the box to make their shows more immeresive, and I may have to go buy some RGB Hue bulbs now just to try out the lighting track feature.
Tired of not having enough customisation when it comes to your chassis’ lighting sceme? Sure you can buy a few LED strips, but they’re often fixed with a single colour and changing them can be as complex as buying a whole new kit and re-installing it all, just to go from blue to red. The same goes for LED fans, they’re often single colour, many can’t be turned on or off and their colours are fixed. NZXT have the solution with their HUE+ RGB lighting kit, as it gives you control over each lighting strip/zone within your system right from your desktop, allowing you to endlessly customise it as often as you like and with minimal effort!
“HUE+ lets you light up your system like never before. It is a digitally controlled lighting solution that combines intuitive software and versatile routing options to give you unprecedented PC illumination possibilities.”
The new HUE+ uses the latest NZXT CAM software, which comes equipped with 8-preset effects, as well as extensive customisation options to create your own. There are two channels on the lighting engine, each capable of supporting four LED strips, which can be configured to run separate effects; you get four LED strips included in the box.
The packaging is nicely designed, showing how the HUE+ can display full RGB lighting to the interior of your system.
Around the back, there’s a quick rundown of some of the features you’ll find in the CUE software; it all looks pretty straightforward, so let’s take a closer look.
There’s a nicely detailed user manual included, which folds out and has lots of large pictures to help explain each step of the installation. It’s certainly worth reading too, as you wouldn’t want to wire all the lights in backwards and them not operate properly, if at all.
In the box, you’ll find four RGB lighting strips with modular connectors on each end.
While the strips do have 3M adhesive on the back, you can also take advantage of the four strong magnets that are placed on each strip, allowing you to quickly snap the strips into place, but also quickly remove or move them as needed; so long as your case is metal of course, 3M is needed for plastic panels.
All the cables you’re likely to need are included, such as extensions for linking together multiple light strips, a Molex to DC jack for the controller, USB motherboard header to MicroUSB for the CUE software and HUE+ to communicate with each other, and some cable ties to keep it neat and tidy.
The actual controller is quite compact, fitting into a 2.5″ hard drive form factor, albeit a little taller. There’s an angular top to give it a bit of style, with a strip of lighting in the top; even if it is on show inside your system, it should still look great.
Around the back, there are four ports, DC 5V, USB and two lighting channels. It’s all pretty self-explanatory and setup should be nice and easy.
The 2.5″ form factor is no accident either, as you’ll find four screw holes on the base to mount it to a hard drive bracket. This is handy for NZXT chassis such as the H440, which has an on-show 2.5″ mount below the motherboard.
Setting up the HUE+ is pretty easy overall, there are only four ports on the back and it’s pretty obvious where all the required cables go. The power cable and USB cable are essential to the operation of the device, but it’s up to you how you use the light strips. You can use any number of the four LED strips included, and with two channels you can set up to four strips to each one; to keep things nice and simple, I’ll be using two LED strips per channel.
Custom PC builds are becoming more popular as consumers construct their own rigs and create a visual showpiece. Various cases like the H440 incorporate a side panel window to display the beauty of a clean, professional looking system. The first NZXT Hue offered RGB lighting via a huge LED strip and front panel for controls.
It became a suitable choice for system builders due to the competitive price, reliable LED strips and clean cabling. Furthermore, the 2-year warranty added peace-of-mind as cheaper LED strips are prone to having dead LEDs. NZXT has just announced the Hue+ which is a digital lighting solution and offers unprecedented customization and 8 preset lighting effects.
Johnny Hou, NZXT’s founder and CEO discussed the product announcement and proclaimed:
“Lighting can truly bring your system to a new visual dimension, that’s why most of our cases provide windowed-panels. With a smart, easy-to use digital interface such as CAM, available for everyone as a free app, HUE+ offers unmatched control and customization for users seeking to bring their PC to the next level,”
Using the Hue+’s CAM software, you can adjust a wide array of attributes including colour, speed and lighting transitions. Additionally, the lighting can respond to system temperatures and even react to the audio output during music or an intense game. This huge selection of modes on the Hue+ provides the end-user with an unbelievable array of options.
The Hue+ is available to pre-order now from participating retailers and has a recommended retail price of £39.99 + VAT.
Hot on the tails of the Hue programmable RGB LED lights by Philips the company has now pulled the veils off of the Hue Go. The Hue Go is a semi-translucent half of a sphere that can be used as an accent light or something that one can carry with them.
The Philips Hue lights can be controlled by an app on your smartphone or tablet, and that will allow you to change the color of the light. The Hue Go allows the user to control the color output to one of five presets, from ones like a cozy candle or to “Night Adventure”. If you don’t have your phone or tablet handy you can easily change the preset with a switch on the Go itself. The Go would likely be a great option for parents that have a child that is afraid of the dark, or even for adults who like a little light at night. The Hue Go will be available from Apple stores, Amazon, and Best Buy among others by the end of May and should be $100.