Meet the Hue, an overpriced app-controlled lightbulb from Philips

By , Oct 29, 2012

How about a lightbulb that lets you personalize lighting settings and timers while you’re out, just by using an app for your iPhone or iPad? That’s what Philips set out to achieve with the Hue, “the world’s smartest LED bulb”, that it says consumes eighty percent less power than traditional bulbs. What’s more, the Hue uses the open ZigBee Light Link standard, allowing it to be integrated with other ZigBee certified systems.

The free app for iOS and Android devices invites you to change settings, pick any color for any of your bulbs or group them together to create moody presets. You can also program your bulb to turn on and off at different times of day and more.

Conveniently, the Hue is set to hit Apple stores on an exclusive basis starting tomorrow, October 30. That Philips is in a rush to release this product with a little help from one of the world’s most powerful brands actually speaks volume about the popular Lifx project which has already raised $1.3+ million on Kickstarter.

At any rate, the Hue doesn’t come cheap, which is a real downer. Read on for additional details and a nice promo clip…

Other features include timer capability to turn the Hue into your morning wake up call, the ability to set your lights to gradually brighten over time, use a photo on your iPhone to pick a color from, with your wireless bulbs reflecting the choice instantly. Hue bulbs cover all shades of white, from warm white light to cold with light, and a wide variety of color.

Presets for specific needs like relaxing, concentrating, energizing and reading will help getting you into the mood. A media release says the Hue is upgradeable and future-proof, “with the potential for more features to be downloaded and enjoyed in the future”.

A software update is available for your wireless bulbs…

I like the sound of that!


Mom, Can I have lighting like this when I grow up?

I’m personally most excited about a simple feature: being able to turn lights on or off remotely, fooling burglars into thinking I’m still in. The biggest hurdle to the Hue’s rapid uptake has gotta be its exorbitant price point.

For starters, you will need a $199 Hue starter kit comprised of the Hue bridge which provides wireless connectivity between up to fifty Hues and your broadband router. The Kit also contains three 50Watt Hue bulbs. If you need more bulbs, be prepared to shell out a whopping $60 apiece.

Yes, you read that right.

Now, Philips claims each bulb lasts as long as fifteen years, or 15,000 burning hours, though I doubt this will make you feel any happier realizing you will need to spend north of a thousand bucks to equip your home with these.

Here’s a nice promo clip that may ease the pain.

http://vimeo.com/51691017

Philips is really determined to get the project off the ground as quickly as possible. The company is opening up the Hue app to the developer community and has created an open source platform at www.meethue.com to mingle with other fellow developers, share your own light scenes and what not.

Would you ever consider the Hue at these prices?

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  • f5faith

    Tomorrow is October 30th not November 30th

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com/author/dujkan Christian Zibreg

      Thanks, fixed

  • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

    looks nice, but in 2-3 years it will cost less than a half of that price (if it still exists)

    • f5faith

      I’m sure by that time something much cooler would’ve taken its place~ Might even become a standard since almost everything seems to have some sort of network connectivity these days.

  • http://twitter.com/imperiumSG Andy M.

    it seeems cool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1009322435 Ricky Peinado

    if it was 99$ i would buy it but 199.99 ill pass

  • Phil

    I’ve been really interested in this since I saw the lifx video. I’m a musician and this could be crazy useful on stage, and to set good mood for regeassal and recording situations. It’s cheaper than most staging lights too. $200 seems expensive and $60 a globe seems a lot, but considering how long they last and what they can do, I think I’ll probably pay the price. Hopefully the price drops in the future

  • http://twitter.com/HiTekkSteff Stephaughn Alston

    Great idea but for $200… hell no, I’ll use my traditional light bulbs!

    • soccerkrzy

      Traditional bulbs as in incandescent? Or CFL? Incandescent is becoming illegal shortly, so rule that out. CFL bulbs cost $2-3 a bulb and last for 2-3 years, in cold weather they’re slow to get to full brightness, dimmable CFL bulbs cost a lot more, and they contain mercury, so you cannot dispose of them in the trash. LEDs are the future of lighting.

      • http://twitter.com/HiTekkSteff Stephaughn Alston

        Listen to what you said “$2-3 for 2-3yrs”, that’s fine for me but I’m not paying $200 for a light bulb, eventually the price will go down & then I will make the switch!

      • soccerkrzy

        You’re paying the $200 one time, the bulbs are $60. The $200 is for the infrastructure and communications setup with Zigbee. But correct, commercial LED lighting bulbs will come down in price soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/depaola.chris Chris DePaola

    This is a very cool item and priced at around the same level as current LED bulbs

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.higgins.12 Brandon Higgins

    I’ve been looking for such existence, but that’s extremely expensive. And that’s an understatement. There is another led bulb available for 29 each and doesn’t require anything else.

  • soccerkrzy

    The irony of Christian bashing something for being expensive…$60 for a bulb isn’t that bad, it’s an LED bulb, those are running $30+ a bulb for a reputable manufacturer, paying an extra $30 for the Zigbee connection and functionality isn’t overpriced.

  • http://twitter.com/tiptronic Andy Fuchs

    No matter what price – I’d buy it (but it isn’t available over here in Europe yet). This technology points in the right direction. I don’t care if the price drops next year to 1/10th… that’s next year ;-)

  • Mike

    I bought them as a wall colour mix to use with directional halogens that light up seating/work spaces.
    LOVE them.
    LIFX got me interested in this as well, but it meant coughing up $200 now for a product that might be released 6 months from now, if at all. The Philips tech works, everything else is a software functionality upgrade via app.
    Not for everyone, but for me they’re awesome.

  • Justin

    That is not expensive when you consider your other options, I do home automation and to get 3 lights running with control4 you would be out a grand and about 200 each additional light

  • http://twitter.com/BillyYoung008 Billy Young

    Overpriced if you’re a bogan – Some intelligent people dedicate their life to design and engineering and it is they who have created this. good design and engineering is not easy. That’s what you are paying for, the years of hard work and design of these people. If you ask me 200$ isnt much for years of hard work.

  • Mr_Kane

    I just got it in Germany, it seems like it sold way to good. I waited until yesterday to get it, was sold out the whole christmas season! It is a brilliant system and I love it!