Syfy Sync and Philips Hue are working together to give you a more immersive movie experience while watching the sure-to-be-masterpiece Sharknado 2: The Second One.
When viewing the B-movie sequel the Syfy Sync iPad app will communicate with your Philips Hue coloured lights via the Hue Bridge and cue up some impressive lighting effects.
Every time a shark explodes, your Hue lights will flash a bright red. In case you didn’t get the memo, Sharknado's production company The Asylum create shockingly bad made-for-TV monster movies. The plot of the first Sharknado concerns a tornado made of sharks attacking Los Angeles. Lots of people and sharks die.
Engadget writer Zach Honig was invited to test out the new immersive set up himself when he was sent a copy of the first Sharknado in the post. After failing to find a laptop with an optical drive (physical media? In 2014?), Honig opted to stream Sharknado on Netflix instead.
Luckily for him and the rest of us, Syfy Sync and Philips Hue get on just fine whether you’re watching the movie on DVD or you’re streaming it.
Right now, Philips Hue will only play nice with the iOS version of SyFy Sync and for the time being it’s just Sharknado and Sharknado 2 that are supported.
Once you’ve connected your iOS device to your WiFi network (the same one your Philips Hue gear is connected to) all you have to do is fire up SyFy Sync. The app will automatically detect when you start playing the films.
You can then select which of your lights you want to control while watching the film or TV show and the Syfy Sync app will do the rest – adding in colour and vibrant flashes of light whenever they’re deemed necessary.
The app detects what’s happening in the film using sound cues rather than using time codes that could vary according to how you’re watching the media (streaming may be a little slower, or different TV providers may queue ad breaks differently), so you’ll need to make sure your speakers are turned up nice and loud.
Honig said: “Some pairings made sense, like bright red to match an exploding shark, but there were plenty of missed opportunities, like flashing my lights when an ambulance came on screen.
“The experience is as cheesy as the film itself - there's plenty of room for improvement, but if you have Hue and the latest version of Syfy Sync, it's worth trying once.”
Sharknado 2: The Second One will premiere on SyFy in the US this Wednesday, July 30.
SyFy UK & Ireland will broadcast Sharknado 2 at the same time as the US east coast launch time and repeat it again at 9:00pm on Thursday, July 31. We've already set our recordings.
SyFy is available on Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk TV and BT TV in the UK.