Tech Tuesday – Wi-fi light bulbs


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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) – Tech Tuesday’s David Powell sits down with Stephen Hauck to discuss the coolest new technology in lighting your home!

David has the following information to share about the new Philips Hue:

One of the newest buzz-phrases in the tech industry is the “Internet of Things”.  Basically, now, the internet consists of people and all these devices that are now connected to the internet.  Tech Tuesday has looked at the Nest, the wi-fi enabled thermostat for your home.  Now, there are wi-fi light bulbs from Phillips called Hue.  Let’s explore:


*   Before we talk about these light bulbs, isn’t the government outlawing traditional incandescent bulbs?  Yes.  Back in 2007, Congress passed a law to phase out incandescent bulbs and replace them with more efficient bulbs.  100 watt bulbs were phased out last year.  75 watt bulbs were restricted in January and 60 watt bulbs will be restricted next year.  They are being replaced with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, 75 percent more efficient, and LED lights, up to 90 percent more efficient.

*   So, what is the Hue?  Phillips has come out with the Hue.  This is a system that interfaces with the wi-fi network in your home and ties these LED bulbs back into the network.  You can then control them from the web or from a smartphone.  You can control the intensity, the color…basically anything.  There are some apps that will even allow you to have the lights adjust with the music you are playing on your smartphone, essentially turning your home into your own little nightclub setting!

*   You control the COLOR of the lights?  Yes.  The apps come preloaded with 17 pre-loaded “scenes,” each a colorful image with a trio of pins that sample the underlying color and adjust each bulb’s output and brightness accordingly. You are also free to create custom scenes of your own with an image you actively capture or ones from your photo gallery. Philips also offers additional scenes through the app as well. You are also free to adjust the color of each light individually using a color wheel if none of the pre-loaded scenes suits your taste.

*   This has to be expensive?  The initial cost is $299 for the wireless controller and 3 bulbs.  Each additional bulb is $60.  To do a few rooms in your house could be $400-500.  You can buy this system in a few different retailers, but it, much like the Nest thermostat, is also available in the Apple Store.  Keep in mind, these lights have a 15,000 hour lifespan, compared to the 1000 hour life span of a traditional incandescent bulb.  So, you shouldn’t have to change this bulb but roughly every 15 years, so it likely will pay for itself even if the up-front is tough to swallow.

*   Is it cool enough to be worth it?  Most reviewers say that if you are patient with it, it is very, very cool.  That is adds an entirely new dimension to the visual design of your home.  One thing is for sure, you can wow your friends with it!

Thermostats, light bulbs…who knows what will be next in the “Internet of Things”!


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