Things are looking brighter for smart home owners. After months of delays and uncertainty, the Philips Hue Bridge is finally being updated to support the new smart home standard Matter. A software update will roll out in September, letting users connect their Hue systems with other Matter devices and apps. This means that every existing Philips Hue product will now work with Matter, all the way back to their original bulbs launched in 2012.
The news was announced by Signify, which makes Philips Hue, during the IFA tech show in Berlin, along with a bevy of other updates, including the rollout of the Hue line’s first smart security cameras and a handful of new lights.
Every smart home owner’s nightmare is being stuck with a bunch of gadgets that don’t work with each other, which is why interoperability is the name of the game these days. Matter was meant to be the fix to solve everyone’s smart home interoperability problems. First launched in the fall of 2022, the Matter standard works with every major smart home platform — including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Home, and Samsung SmartThings. In the year since, smart home devices have started to add support, with the list of Matter-compatible smart home devices slowly growing longer.
Although Philips Hue was supposed to get a Matter update in the first quarter of 2023, it never arrived. Hueblog.com reported in March that the company needed more time to roll out Matter support and no longer had a concrete date set for its arrival. Desperate Hue users even went as far as signing up for a developer account and downloading a beta update for Matter support, which for some led to its own set of headaches.
The Philips Hue Bridge jumping on the Matter train will change a few things for users. Hue devices communicating through Matter will work locally, meaning they may be faster and more responsive in some setups. It could also allow Hue users to connect more than one bridge to Amazon Alexa or Google Home, allowing them to add more lights beyond Hue’s 50-light limit per bridge.
The Matter update seems pretty timely, given it’s nearing the holiday season and smart home owners may want to deck the halls with connected lighting systems. To that end, Signify is releasing some new lights this fall, too, including one particularly festive set.
The second generation of Festavia string lights adds the ability to work outdoors — not just indoors — and come in three different lengths: 100 LEDs on an 8-meter cord, 250 LEDs on a 20-meter cord, and 500 LEDs on a 40-meter cord. The lights are priced at $119.99, $219.99 and $359.99. Signify also announced the arrival of the Hue Perifo track lighting system in the US. Currently available in Europe, the Perifo system allows for wall and ceiling mounting and offers a range of customization options. The track lighting, which is available in white and black, ranges from $19.99 to $299.99. All will hit US stores in September.