The popularity of smart home technology is increasing at an exponential rate. STACK takes a look at how you can incorporate the smart home into your gaming entertainment space.
Not just another media buzz word or gimmick, smart home technology is both convenient and efficient, and Australians are adopting it at a phenomenal rate. The tech is being used for security cameras, lighting, entertainment, even garden irrigation, but it’s the entertainment space we’re going to discuss here. If you’re a games buff, it doesn’t take much to enhance the entertainment experience within your own four walls.
A smart home can also be easily facilitated for games lovers, with a stack (no pun intended) of hardware and lighting options available.
When it comes to PC gaming in the smart home, the possibilities are boundless. There are already a slew of product manufacturers that include programmable RGB lighting in their builds, including controllers, mice and keyboards from respected companies like Corsair and Razer. RGB stands for red, green and blue, and this combination of three colours creates over 16 million different possibilities.
For top integration in the PC gaming space, it’s tough to look past the Philips Hue. The Hue Plays fit perfectly behind a monitor, throwing light off the wall. Using the Hue Sync app on your PC (or Mac) and tapping into the Hue entertainment mode, gamers can customise a profile or use the preset scenes to augment the action they’re playing through.
First-person shooters blaze into life all around you when explosions and bullets are relayed to lights in real time. If you’ve already invested in the Razer peripherals that use Chroma, the good news is that Hue and Chroma are now compatible, so you can bring all the RGB lights across mice, keyboards and controllers into sync with Hue.
But console gamers shouldn’t despair. Hot off the press, Philips Hue has just announced the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, a small black box that has four HDMI ports. This means you can now connect your console to the Sync Box and access up to 10 different Hue lights to enhance your gaming time. There is no release date for this as yet, but we’ll keep you posted when more details become available.
For a gaming TV, you’ll want to go with an OLED if the budget stretches that far. OLEDs deliver the best black levels – perfect for darkened levels in games. And you’re going to want HDR, too. In short, HDR maximises the contrast between dark and light areas, allowing the eyes to perceive colours on the screen as close to how they appear in the real world.
Our pick here is the Sony A8G 55” 4K UHD. While the PS4 and Xbox One are perfectly fine, if you want to get top end performance out of your console gaming, you’ll need to hook up a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X to take advantage of full 4K and HDR support.
The A8G also features a pretty robust built-in audio system that, if you don’t have a soundbar on hand, will certainly suffice. But if you do have a soundbar, a reversible stand on the TV has been designed to incorporate space for it beneath the screen, so you don’t lose the picture. Input lag – the essential response time between controller and screen – is good in the game mode, as is the motion handling – another important issue in choosing a TV for gaming. Performance-wise, this is a beautiful television delivering exceptional contrast and realistic colours – the perfect companion when The Last of Us Part II releases in February.