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New Video – Philips Hue & Alexa: Full Setup (Step by Step) + Why I Chose Hue

I had always been a bit unsure about smart lighting due to their cost, but I realized of a perfect smart light usecase around my home (turning on and off four side lamps in the evenings). So I went out and purchased four E14 candle Hue bulbs (White Ambiance), along with a B22 starter kit to get the V2 Hue Bridge.

I then set this all up and integrated it with Alexa, using voice-activated routines to tailor the new setup to my exact needs.

It all worked really well – check out the video guide (showing the full setup process, and why I chose smart lighting) below:

This is quite a long video – the timestamps for different parts of the video are below, so feel free to jump ahead if you’re only interested in specific parts of the setup process:

  • 1:03 – Why I ended up buying smart lights
  • 2:16 – A look at the Hue products I purchased
  • 3:45 – Installing the Hue Bridge (in my attic)
  • 5:08 – Setting things up in the Hue app
  • 8:54 – Examples of my Hue lights being contolled in the app
  • 10:05 – Integrating with Alexa
  • 13:01 – A problem with Alexa integration (due to how I setup my lights in the Hue app)
  • 14:01 – Fixing this problem
  • 20:16 – Showing the problem is now fixed, and my Alexa integration works as expected
  • 20:38 – Adding a routine to automate my smart lights
  • 26:53 – Trying out my final Alexa routine(s)

Video Transcript

Hey YouTube, I’m Tristan from Smart Home Point. If I’m honest with you, I’ve always been a little bit skeptical of smart lighting. This is because if I look at the price of Hue bulbs and LIFX bulbs, the price always seems a little bit high. For example, I was pricing up how much it would cost me to change all the downlights or the spotlights in my kitchen diner into smart color bulbs and I think it would have cost me over £450 which is over $600, and for me it’s just not worth paying that much money for smart bulbs.

Having said that, I recently came across a case in my house where smart bulbs would have been perfect so I started shopping around online and actually got a really good deal on four, Phillips Hue E14, candle-type bulbs which I’m using in side lamps. I also got a B22 Starter Kit, which I mainly bought to actually get the Hue Hub V2.

So I wanted to shoot this video just to cover exactly how to set up and also why I decided that smart lighting was now finally suitable for me. Let’s take a look.

Okay, so firstly I turn on my living room light which is a side lamp and then I go to my hallway and I do the same thing on that side lamp and then, in my landing I go and do exactly the same thing, isn’t this exciting? And finally, I come to my master bedroom and I turn that light on as well.

(sighing) Oh, sorry, I bet that was really exciting! I mean, I find doing that every evening really exciting but what’s even more exciting, it’s three hours later when I start going to bed I then do this. I go to my living room and I turn that light off. I go to my hallway and I turn that light off. I go into my landing and this time I’m gonna mix it up, I turn my light off but I turn on a nightlight, ooh and that’s because I got a young child so obviously, nightlight on the landing makes sense. And then, other than that, I go into the master bedroom and you can guess it, by the end of the night I turn the light off.

Surely, there’s a better solution. Yes, there is, smart lights. So I went out and I bought a Phillips Hue Starter Kit which contains the Hue Hub which you can see here, it’s just the Vision 2 Hub. It connects over ethernet, and this we’ll see in a second, I’ll install this up my attic or my loft. This Starter Kit also comes with some Hue white bulbs B22 Bayonet fittings. So alongside the hub, what I also bought is four of these candle bulbs the single E14s, it’s white ambience so it flicks between sort of a yellowy and bluey sort of color. Actually, looks like that, so it says Hue, white ambience.

Okay. So I know you know how to change a lightbulb, I’m obviously not gonna talk you through that but the reason I’m showing this is that once you’ve actually, as part of the setup process, once you’ve put the bulbs in, turn the power on, you know, on the wall and then make sure it stays on. And the reason for that is obviously you need constant power to, You need the power on the bowl turned on even if you want the bulb turned off and that’s the four side lamps which now have smart Phillips Hue bulbs in them.

So now in terms of looking at the setup process, now the bulbs are in I’ve gone into my attic and I’ve got network cabling up there so this connects to my living room router which provides internet. I’ve then got internet going into my NAS and my bedroom and I’ve also got power. Okay, so this is my Hue Hub, I will, in the end, attach it to the wood but right now, I’m just gonna quickly show you how to get it set up. So I’m just gonna plug it in and this connects via ethernet not Wi-Fi, so that’s why the instruction says install it by your router but obviously, in this case because I got full networking up in my loft, I’m just gonna connect it here instead, just so is it’s out of the way. And I got more plug sockets free up here basically. Okay, so now with that plugged in you can see the power light comes in and then a few seconds later, you can see all three lights come on which means network and internet connectivity. They go off and on whilst the device sets up. But you can see now, the network is on which is the middle light and then the internet connectivity is flashing as well and meaning that that’s on as well. Again, it might flick on and off but don’t worry about that, the main thing is that, eventually after a few minutes it’s fully set up as you can see here.

Okay, so, now I’m gonna go and actually get the app, as the next part of the setup process. So if I search for Hue on the App Store you’ll see that there’s two apps listed. One of them is the Philips Hue Bluetooth and this is for the newer generation of bulb. This is the one that doesn’t require the Hue hub. In this case, I don’t want to be controlling things via the Bluetooth, I wanna actually use the hub so I want this app, the Philips Hue app. You can see it’s got a lot more downloads and also it’s got lot more features and functionality which is one of the benefits of the hub. You can also see it’s got, yeah, a lot more downloads. The other good thing with the hub or the bridge is that it supports up to 50 bulbs unlike the Bluetooth mode which only supports 10 bulbs. So I’ll just download that now.

Okay, so we’ll open that up and it’s saying searching for Hue Bridges because I’m connected to the Wi-Fi network which, my hub is connected to via ethernet. It’s found it straight away, so I’ll click set up. I now, still at my loft, I need to actually click the button on the hub itself to actually pair it, which I’ve done. It says there’s updates so let’s just install them. The nice thing with the hub is, because it connects over ethernet I don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi and entering any Wi-Fi passwords and also the hub is Zigbee based so, and all the bulbs are Zigbee based as well so what that means is, again, you don’t need to worry about entering Wi-Fi passwords in all your bulbs. As we’ll see in a few minutes, once this is all done, all the bulbs will be recognized automatically. Okay, so it’s still installing updates.

I jumped ahead cause, it takes around four or five minutes to install the updates. So once that’s done, let’s click, done. Yeah, that’s fine, accept that. Great, so that’s now updated, although the actual hub or the bridge is updated. So what we can do is add our lights and as we’ll see, I don’t need to worry about entering any Wi-Fi passwords, so I’ll click search at the bottom and then the Hue bridge will actually use Zigbee to find any bulbs that are there. Okay, that’s a bit of information overload quite a few different things are popping up there so I got three of the four bulbs and now four of the four bulbs there. I can rename them but right now I don’t know which is which so for now I’m just gonna keep the names as they are. So I’ll click on next.

Okay, it’s not great user experience but basically right now I can’t see any of the bulbs but what I’m gonna do is attach them all to the same room. House, temporary and that’s because I don’t actually know right now which bulb is which, so I’ll sort that out offline. So I’ve said house, temporary and now I need to find an icon. It doesn’t matter too much but home, there we are, right, great. Hey, so once I’m done let’s just click okay at the top right and it says this now, the room setup is been added. So let’s finally click on the top right and bang, it says, congratulations your Hue app is up and running.

And you can see now this slider here where I can turn the lights on and off and I can change the brightness as well with the bottom slider. So at the moment all the bulbs on were on full brightness this is the bottom slider but you can decrease it and as we’ll see now, I could decrease it to 70% and you can see the brightness goes down. Or I can go back up to a 100% and you can see it going back up. You can also click the toggle and turn all the lights off or you can turn the toggle to turn things back on. So we don’t have to play in a while we’ve set things up like this So I’ve got different rooms and obviously one bulb per room. In my landing, I’ve got the brightness turned all the way down, to function as a nightlight, to 10% which works really well. So I’ve got rid of my nightlight and in my master bedroom right now, cause I’m still in it, I’ve got the light on and I’ve got that at 100% brightness. But, I still want to be able to control all the lights in my whole house so I’ve added a zone for that, which you can do up here on the right. So you can see the whole house has all the bulbs attached so it’s really easy, just for me to click a button and turn everything on and off.

Okay, so it’s the following morning all my bulbs are off. And what I actually wanna do now is pair my Hue set-up with Alexa so that I can go to my Echo devices and actually control my lights through that. So on the top right up here, I’ve gone to devices, I click on add and I wanna click on add device down at the bottom. So what type of device? Phillips Hue, it says right there, that’s easy. Are they Bluetooth-enabled? No, and I don’t want that, because obviously I’ve got the bridge. So I’ll click, no. So I’ve got the V2 bridge, which is the square shape. Even though it’s got rounded corners, it’s obviously the square shape. It’s not a circle. Right, so I’ve done these three things, so let’s click continue which is number four. And the reviews aren’t great for this skill but let’s give this a shot. Let’s click enable to use and I need to link my Bridge. So let’s push the big button on my Bridge which is in the middle which is, again, up the attic so, unfortunately I’ve had to run up to my attic again but I’ve done that and there we are, it’s now linked. It say click continue. Grant permission? Yeah, that’s fine. Obviously, I need to click, yes. And instantly, so I get an e-mail that’s just saying you’ve linked it, which is great.

Brilliant, it successfully linked. So now Amazon’s Alexa service should link with my Hue service. And you can see it’s imported all of these: the living room, the hallway and all the different bulbs that I’ve set up previously. So I can just get rid of that now on the X. Okay, it’s even given me push notifications to say it’s found in those rooms it’s still looking for devices which may take up to 45 seconds and it usually is a bit slow, in my experience. Okay, should almost be done now. Okay, and… Yeah you can see it’s given me some of the commands I can say to actually control my devices. Okay, brilliant, so it said 10 devices discovered. Obviously, I’ve only actually set up four bulbs so 10 is obviously a bit unexpected. Obviously, I’ll play around in a second to work out why it’s saying 10. Okay, so these are the lights, you can see there’s some duplicates so everything’s duplicated. It says living room twice, its says landing twice it says hallway twice and this is because of how I’ve set things up as we’ll see in a second.

Put on my bedroom light. – [Alexa] A few things share the name my bedroom light, which one did you want? – [Tristan] Bedroom. – [Alexa] Okay. – [Tristan] Okay, so obviously that’s not ideal. So obviously I don’t want that to happen, let’s look at why that’s happening. So on the Alexa device you can, on the app sorry, you can see that there’s duplicates everywhere. Sometimes it’s called bedroom as opposed to master bedroom and the reason for that is if you go into the Hue app, what I’ve done is set up my bulb but I’ve set my room up as master bedroom and then I set my bulb as bedroom and for my living room I’ve set them both up as the same name and as a result that’s gonna cause duplicates here so it’s imported the room and the bulb as lights in the Amazon Alexa app even though obviously, one of them is a room and one of them is a light and this is a bit of a flaw really with the configuration so I really need to do is sort this all out.

I need to go along and actually delete what I’ve set up previously. All the rooms, and just completely clear it because obviously, I don’t want these duplicates. I don’t wanna have what we’ve seen before. Where, when I speak to my Echo device, I don’t want it to keep asking me what device I want to control. So let’s go get rid of this completely, even my whole house because the Alexa app actually, allows me to control all the lights anyway. Okay, so I’ve also in the next Alexa app, even though I didn’t show it, I’ve deleted all my lights there. So now I’m starting afresh, so my Hue app. I’m gonna go back in. Now, the first thing I want to do is make sure that my lights have a stupid name. and then I’m gonna give my rooms the sensible names. So they’ll actually be controlling things. When I’m speaking to my Echo, I’m gonna be using the sensible room name.

Okay, so for this one, which was my hallway, I’m gonna be calling it the near door, E14. My bedroom, I’ll just get rid of that name. Basically, I’m gonna be choosing names for the bulbs that I never gonna see so that they don’t clash with the room name when I speak to my Echo. So I call this the master sleep area, E14 because, hopefully, I won’t speak to my Echo and say that. So get rid of my living room as well, lets get rid of that. what should I call the living room? It’s got TV, it’s got a couch. I’m not very good at naming things. Hang on, couch, and TV. E14, will that work? I mean, it doesn’t matter. But why move? I know isn’t it couch, is how you spell it, coach? No, that’s not right coach, coach. No, that’s completely wrong. Right, let’s start again. The name doesn’t really matter. So what I’m just gonna do is say, by TV, E14, that’s easier cause it doesn’t really matter anyway. Probably big TV, just so I know Cause I got TV upstairs as well. Landing, something about upstairs, really. That’s all I really need to say. Upstairs main area, this is not bedroom, is it? Okay, so yeah, really and the names don’t matter. that’s the key thing here. So just name them something you don’t really care about that if you’re gonna be using rooms, which I am. And the reason I want to do that is because otherwise, my home screen won’t show anything.

So I want my rooms to show my home screen so that if I go into my Hue app, I can very easily, control things. I can turn the brightness on and off, or up and down and the bulbs on and off, like we’ve seen before. Okay, so now I’m just going into each room, I’m adding the relevant bulb into each room. So as I mentioned before, my room will have a sensible name and the bulb will not. And hopefully then, things won’t clash when it comes to actually speak into my Echo device, So now go into my landing, choose upstairs main area. E14, let’s choose the icon for that as well. Where is it? levels, just upstairs. So there is an icon for that, but I couldn’t see it, so it doesn’t really matter. Now, let’s do the final room then which can be the hallway. And that one is the near door, E14. So there’s an icon for hallway there. Right, let’s choose that, you’re actually seeing that this time.

Okay, brilliant, so now I’ve got those rooms with silly bulb names. so that should all work well, I think shouldn’t clash anymore on Alexa What I won’t do this time. is set up a zone called home a whole house. And that’s because in the Alexa app it already import something called all Hue bulbs, or whatever the name is so as a result, I don’t really need to zone for that. Okay, so now we’ve got a silly name, bulb and a sensible name, room. Right, so I’ll do, I’m gonna go back into the app. I’m gonna go back to add. I’m gonna go to add device. Now, I’m going to Phillips Hue And hopefully, this time, although I’m still gonna go to add device hopefully, now, they should have one sensible name and one stupid name and then it can configure everything on the sensible name.

This whole thing isn’t the most intuitive, it’s a bit of a frustrating thing, But as long as you know it, then when you are actually setting up the Hue app or setting things up in the Hue app, then you don’t have to worry. Also as a tip, when you want to delete everything, if you’ve got loads of bulbs, you can just go to alexa.amazon.com and you can forget all the devices there really easily, But only do that if you don’t have loads of other smart home devices set up, otherwise, you’ll clear all those as well. But in my case only had one other smart device. so I just used the forget all option. And then it’s really easy to clear everything from Alexa.

Brilliant, so nine devices that set up, which is a four bulbs, four rooms, and then the all Hue lights option as well. So that’s nine. Brilliant, so let’s just carry on continue. And your gives, it says what I can say. I can say turn off all your lights, and it gives that as the example and that works quite well. It also suggests a routine that I can use, now, which we’ll look at in a second because that’s part of the automation that I’m gonna be doing, brilliant. So you can see there, I’ve got the stupid name bulb, which are not gonna be referring to.

And then it got the sensible name room, which I’m gonna be speaking to the Echo device on. I can also control things by saying all Hue lights as well. Alexa, turn the lights on in the bedroom. – [Alexa] Okay. – Turn the lights off in the bedroom. – [Alexa] Okay. – Brilliant there’s no issue there.

That’s great, so that works. I’ve set things up correctly for the initial integration, but now I want to automate things, okay? Now one of the things I wanted to do, initially, was set up routines so that all my lights came on automatically at a set time each day. you can do this in the Hue app by going to routines and you can say other routines and in custom routines, you can say that you can base it on the time of day or sunrise, or sunset. So I could turn all my lights on through that at a specific time or at sunset. and one of the things yeah, I don’t care about that, for now, so go back to settings. And one of the things to note, if you’re gonna do this, it’s go to your settings, go to advanced, go to sunset and sunrise and in there you can configure how long before sunset or sunrise do you actually want this routine to kick in, you can also figure this via the Alexa app. So in the top left, you click on the settings, you go to routines. At the top right now you click on create routine. That’s a pretty rubbish arrow, but there we are. Right, so the routine name does matter. cause I’m just quickly showing this, click on next.

So when this happens, what you can do is the schedule up here then you can see, again, same as the Hue app, at a particular time, or sunrise or sunset. If I was to click sunset in my case, and this is nicer than the Hue app, where you can see, is the time offset very easily. So you can have different time offsets for different routines, unlike the Hue app, you can also have this on different days as well. So what I could do is through this I could very easily say for all my Hue lights to come on at a particular schedule or based on sunset, essentially. However, what I find if it’s a quite gloomy day, I might turn on my lights on at 5:00 PM, but on other days, I might turn them on at 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM. So I didn’t really want to set time each day, even if it’s based on sunset because that doesn’t always work for me. And what I framed is obviously under lights. You’ve got your all of your lights option so it’s very easy just to say to your Echo device, turn on all my lights and they’ll all come on. Okay, so as a result, I didn’t actually think that I needed, or in my experience, I didn’t actually need to set up a routine to automatically have the lights come on. But what I did want is a routine to go to bed.

So the last thing I do at night is turn off all the lights and then on the landing, I want to have a nightlight, essentially. So I’m gonna create a routine for this. So, when I say, “Alexa, good night.” I want something to happen. And what I want to happen is in my smart home, what I want to do is say my bedroom light and also my hallway light. Yeah, though you can’t choose both, can you? Okay, we’ll do one at a time. So when I say good night, I want my bedroom lights to power off. Okay, quite simple. And then, because you can apparently only do one at a time in this case, I’ll add another one, so I clicked on one wrong thing. the bedroom will go off. Right, so I’ll add another bulb In this case, now, I’ll say hallway and again, power will go off. And again, I’ll do an add action, I’ll go to smart home, lights. This time I’ll choose my landing, no, my living room, sorry. And this is also gonna just be powered off. It’s actually nice to even choose each light individually. cause you can create some really fine-grained customizations. So it is actually a nice thing.

Okay, now we could also have configured this through the Hue app because I’m turning all of these three bulbs off every night. I could have given them a zone. the included hallway, living room and bedroom and then that would have been imported into my Alexa app as a light. And then I could have just refer to that. But to be honest, I don’t have enough bulbs to worry about doing that. I’ll just create them separately. Okay, last thing I’m gonna do is my landing or my upstairs main area, E14, I’m gonna refer to his landing cause I know what that means. So on this, I’m gonna use my smart bulb as a nightlight. So I’m gonna go into brightness. I’m gonna turn that all the way down to 10%. Oh, come on. 11, oh bloody 11, 10, I want 10, nine, eight, 10 brilliant. Why have a slider for that if you cannot… Anyway, there we are, brightness 10%. And also in addition to that, I wanted Alexa to see something nice to me, why not? So you can go into phrases, and good night, and it can see different things. I’ll just say have a random phrase said to me. Yep, that’s fine. A random phrase from goodnight.

Okay, so that’s now my routine. It does exactly what I want to do. So at nighttime, it’s just gonna do all this. It’ll configure my lights, exactly how I want it. And ultimately, that’s gonna save me time, which is the whole point of smart lighting. Okay, so my landing will become a nightlight, I’ll also have random phrase said. And obviously, all my other bulbs are just gonna go off. I also want to say where I want this random phrase to be spoken from and I’ll want that in my master bedroom. because that’s where I’m gonna be saying good night, ultimately to my Echo device. Okay, so click on, save at the top. It says it’ll take around a minute to be ready. so lets actually go and try that out.

I could try it out by just clicking this play button to test out, which is quite good, but I’ll just try it out by speaking to my Echo device, let’s see how this goes. So right now the lights are on in the bedroom and the landing Alexa, good night. – [Alexa] Enjoy your sleep Thank you Alexa.

So you can see the lights have gone off in the master bedroom and also the nightlight is now on. Okay, thank you for watching this video. I hope you found it useful. I wanted to take you through the entire process of why I wanted smart lighting, what products I bought, how I set it up and how I sort of configure things in the app, because I think that’s quite useful for people. I personally am very happy with my smart lighting solution and now I have everything set up. I can imagine myself buying more smart lighting products in the future. There were some issues, however, you’ve seen some bits of confusion that I had about naming my light bulbs and how that caused issues when speaking to my Echo device.

And I plan on explaining these, in a future video, but for now, I hope you enjoyed this video. If you like it please click the thumbs up button and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you!

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