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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday December 15 2015, @11:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the like-deja-vu-all-over-again dept.

Purchasers of the Philips Hue "smart" ambient lighting system are finding out that the new firmware pushed out by the manufacturer has cut off access to previously-supported lightbulbs.

Philips uses ZigBee, which should mean any bulbs compatible with this standard will work with its Hue products. Not anymore. The firmware update removes this support, limiting this "open, global" standard to Philips' own bulbs and those it has designated as "Friends of Hue."

When owners complained that they had been given the old bait-and-switch on products they already paid for, Philips issued this statement:

While the Philips Hue system is based on open technologies we are not able to ensure all products from other brands are tested and fully interoperable with all of our software updates. For guaranteed compatibility you need to use Philips Hue or certified Friends of Hue products.

The Philips Hue is a premium-priced LED lighting system, but the rapid pace of LED efficiency gains has started to leave them behind. Cheaper competitors have started to significantly undercut Hue's pricing. Maybe this lockout is more about pricing protection than it is about quality protection


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Archon V2.0 on Tuesday December 15 2015, @11:36PM

    by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Tuesday December 15 2015, @11:36PM (#276884)

    > Hue will be relegated to niche product status.

    It isn't already?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:07AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:07AM (#276891)

    Niche enough that it doesn't even have an entry on wikipedia it seems...?

    The Philips Hue is a premium-priced LED lighting system

    I fitted every light in mouse house with an LED bulb or some form or other when I moved. How on earth do you may lightbulbs proprietary? And according to wikipedia zigbee is some sort of WLAN system, was is this, photons over IP or something...?

    Can anyone tell me what the deal is here as I think I'm completely unable to understand how someone would introduce a non-proprietary lightbulb and then somehow make it proprietary.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:13AM (#276896)

      Apparently the Philips controller no longer talks to third-party bulbs using the ZigBee standard.

      They claim the move is designed to ensure that all “Friends of Hue” bulbs support the same features [meethue.com].

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Francis on Wednesday December 16 2015, @07:24AM

        by Francis (5544) on Wednesday December 16 2015, @07:24AM (#277009)

        Probably time to complain to the AG, about the false advertising. It wasn't a selling point for me, but it was printed on the box. And people did buy it for the support.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @05:28AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @05:28AM (#276981)

      Yeah they probably introduced the incompatibility at a higher level. Getting ZigBee radios to speak something else would be needlessly difficult (like getting a Bluetooth device to work with Wi-Fi). Also the Philips web site says they still use ZigBee.