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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: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15 2015, @11:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15 2015, @11:43PM (#276886)

    I am thinking of sending them a note explaining that while I was interested in their various (passive) LED offerings in the past, I no longer am.

    I actually spent about $40 on a Phillips LED light bulb (model 9E26A19DCAAAA) in the past year and a half.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:22AM

    by frojack (1554) on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:22AM (#276900) Journal

    Trying to invoke lockins the minute you notice people are eating your market share is virtually never successful.

    I'm not aware of having purchased any Phillips LED bulbs in the past, but I assure you I won't in the future.
    I've replaced just about every incandescent and compact florescent bulb in my house. I'm still waiting
    for certain size bulbs that just don't seem to be available in anything but halogen. underneath your
    hanging microwave, or above your bathroom mirrors).

    I haven't a single use for color tune-able light bulbs, and am not likely to look for one.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:48AM (#276912)

      > Trying to invoke lockins the minute you notice people are eating your market share is virtually never successful.

      I've been holding of buying any smart bulbs, waiting for Philiips to do a 2nd generation of theirs with increased lux and decreased prices. Instead of competing based on value they took this route. I guess that means I should give up on waiting for their stuff to get better and just go with one of the lesser known brands.

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:25AM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:25AM (#276902) Journal

    There are $5 and $10 bulbs on the market (although the 60 W versions are a little pricier than 40 W). I'm guessing you went for that one because it is dimmable?

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @01:06AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @01:06AM (#276917)

      No, I went for if because it fit in a weird ceiling fan fixture, when CFL bulbs did not. I also got 2 incandescent bulbs at the time.

      Power draw went from 120W (3x40W) ->88W.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mmcmonster on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:52AM

    by mmcmonster (401) on Wednesday December 16 2015, @12:52AM (#276913)

    Cree is eating up the market in LED bulbs. They sell out of Home Depot and are good quality and have lots of sizes. They aren't the best, but they're pushing the price point down.

    I built my house 4 years ago and it was almost all CFL bulbs at the time (incandescents for dimmable and a few odd shapes were ). As they are dieing (which is taking a painfully long time) I'm replacing them with Cree LEDs.

    Phillips has a very good name in LED technology. It's a shame they have to pull the DRM card. I would consider getting a few computer controlled bulbs (for the kids bedrooms) but I want to use an open technology so I know that the software won't be outdated while the bulb is still in the socket.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @01:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @01:13AM (#276921)

      I want to use an open technology so I know that the software won't be outdated while the bulb is still in the socket.

      Exactly.

      These things have a rated life of 22.5 years (based on 3 hours of use per day). There (almost) no way that they will be doing firmware updates for that long.

      I will be sure to mention that when I call Philips tomorrow (they don't seem to list an e-mail address [lhttp]. Maybe I can send them a letter instead...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @02:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16 2015, @02:42PM (#277098)

        So I was told I called an industrial support number, and was told to call a consumer number at 1-800-555-0050.

        When I finally reached somebody in the Hue lighting department, they had no idea why I was calling despite not owning a Hue system. This is reflected in their new update [meethue.com]:

        Q. Why have you reversed your strategy?
        We underestimated the impact this would have upon the small number of our customers who currently use uncertified lights from other brands in the Philips Hue system. We have decided to continue to enable our customers who wish to integrate these uncertified products within their Philips Hue system.

        They don't yet appear to understand the damage they are doing to the Philips brand as a whole.