Philips Hue's first smart Christmas lights let you deck the halls with LEDs - and they're Matter-ready

Signify Festavia lights around Christmas tree
(Image credit: Signify/Philips Hue)

Releasing under the Philips Hue brand, Signify’s new Festavia string lights will let people add an extra pop to their homes this upcoming holiday season.

Made up of 250 smart LEDs along a 66-foot (20-meter) cord, these color-changing lights offer a lot of flexibility and we don’t mean just decorating your house. You can control the Festavia lights through the Philips Hue app, saving you the trouble of having to crawl under a Christmas tree just to turn them off. The app also allows users to dim or brighten the lights, change their color, and even set a lighting schedule. And Linear Style can be activated to add a smooth gradient effect to the LEDs, according to Signify

New modes and support

Upon launch, Festavia will arrive with two new lighting modes: Sparkle and Scattered. The former, as you can probably guess, allows each LED to sparkle for “an extra festive look”. Scattered mode spreads five random colors along the string of lights. Candle and Fireplace, which are modes found on older products, come back to create a radiant, glowing effect reminiscent of analog light sources they're trying to replicate. 

A company representative told us that Festavia is compatible with Bluetooth and the Zigbee wireless networking standard so it can “work in harmony with other Hue lights in the space”. Although for a Zigbee connection, you will need to purchase the Philip Hue Bridge, a smart lighting hub that controls other brand devices in your home. You can turn off the lights in the living room while keeping the Festavia string turned on, for example.

Speaking of standards, the same representative also told us that Festavia works with various smart home platforms like Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and, most importantly, Matter. That last one is particularly noteworthy because it’s the product of many tech companies coming together to create a smart home standard. Matter offers more interoperability between smart home devices and better security. 

Music fans can sync the lights up to their favorite songs either through SmartThings or Spotify. Upon connecting, the LEDs will flash and brighten alongside the music track.

These high-tech lights are significantly more expensive than your typical Christmas lights. Festavia launches on November 15 in the US for $160 and across many European countries (including the UK, Spain, and Germany) for 160 Euros.

Smart lighting

While these lights are pretty cool, we can’t help but feel that they’re a little lackluster compared to something like Razer’s RGB Christmas lights. 

Razer teamed up with smart lighting brand Twinkly to integrate Chroma RGB tech into the latter's products. The result is a string light that can showcase a “huge variety of customizable sequences and designs.” The lights can mimic an American flag billowing in the wind, exploding fireworks, and snowfall. They’re cheaper, too, at $125 for 250 LEDs.

There are many different types of smart lights besides one long string. You have bulbs, hexagonal panels, and bars. If you’re interested in sprucing up your home, be sure to check out our latest smart lights guide.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.