Watching 'Sharknado' with Syfy Sync and Philips Hue

When I open my mailbox, I often find Amazon packages that I don't remember ordering. But today's surprise was a DVD of Sharknado, a movie I absolutely did not purchase. My first instinct was to contact Amazon and change my password, but then I found a note inside: "For you to test out the new Syfy Sync app with your Philips Hue lights." Wait, what? A quick web search cleared things up pretty quickly -- the latest Syfy Sync app enables full control of a Hue bridge (and connected lights) on the same network. The movie, app and lights work together, in theory, to bring you a more immersive entertainment experience.

So I began a desperate search for a laptop with a DVD drive. I found a decade-old Dell in my closet, but once it finally booted up, I discovered that it couldn't read the movie. Fortunately, the app works with any version of the film, so I started streaming it from Netflix on my MacBook. After a few iPad reboots and some more fidgeting with the app, it started to change the color of my lights every few seconds. 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.