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Dignan17

What am I missing?

I'm sorry, but I have to be missing something about the Hue. Is GDGT now grading products based on potential? Because to me this sounds like a buggy, over-priced product. They even quote a review that calls this a version-one product.

Personally, I'll take a nice Z-Wave system over this. I won't get the fancy color control, but that part doesn't appeal to me in the least. At least Z-Wave is a standard that gets licensed out. What is the plan with the Hue system? Are you locked into only using Philips products? Will the Hue system incorporate other home automation products like thermostats, door locks, motion detectors, etc? How much are these bulbs going to cost on their own? How do you tell your guests to never turn off your wall switches?

Now, I can't protest about cost too much, since Z-Wave is also pretty expensive, but it's far more modular and other than changing the colors, you can do all the same things and FAR more. I purchased a $160 central control unit, but after that all my light switches are around $17 a piece.

On another personal note: am I the only one who thinks the colors you make with these things are garish? Why do I want my room to be bathed in purple light? Some of the more subtle schemes were somewhat appealing, but most of the ones I see in their demo video are pretty repellent to my eyes, but I understand this is where subjectivity comes in.

Lastly: where do you even buy these? Philips's own site doesn't even make it easy to find out where to purchase the product, and even though it's on Amazon, it's selling for $300 (I don't see where to get it for $200). What's the hold-up? Has it been released yet?

Anyway, this thing is not for me, clearly...

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frankspin

I think the appeal of the Hue is that you don't need switches, it's just the bulbs. I understand your point about it being a gen-1 device but it is appealing to me. I find most lighting harsh so to have something that I can adjust quickly with different tones is really interesting. Philips uses Zigbee (www.zigbee.org­/Standards­/ZigBeeLightLink­/Overview....) for the controlling protocol so I wouldn't be surprised if there was a way to make it work with more of their products. The Ars Technica review also pointed out that there is already a small community growing with this so I think it can grow to be a fun device.

I think with all devices like this that are very niche with a smaller competition segment there will tend to be a this vs that type thinking. Not being critical of you but I see this with even simple stuff like universal remotes.
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Dignan17

Okay, IF the Hue can be controlled by a larger Zigbee installation, then I would have no issues with it. What I dislike is the sprouting of proprietary systems that don't interoperate. Take the Nest, for instance. It requires its own app, and nothing else works alongside it. Now throw in the Hue system, and you're switching from app to app (all with their own design language) to control the different automated devices in your home.

I think with all devices like this that are very niche with a smaller competition segment there will tend to be a this vs that type thinking.

That's fair, and it really depends on what suits the user. The problem with the entire home automation scene, however, has been price. That's where I'm not arguing for any product, including ZWave. All of these systems are firmly in a price range that makes it unappealing to the average consumer, and that's what's keeping this a niche market. That said, Philips is going to have to improve their distribution of the Hue system if this thing is going to take off. Is the product officially launched yet? If so, they're doing a terrible job of it. I can't even tell on their website who sells it, and Amazon has it for $300.

I think the appeal of the Hue is that you don't need switches, it's just the bulbs.

That's an understanding appeal initially, but like I said, you're going to have to put signs on your wall switches asking people not to turn the lights on and off. Trust me, you don't want to be limited to only turning your lights on and off from a mobile device. That's how it is with lamps on a ZWave system, and it's my least favorite thing about it. You end up wondering why the light isn't turning on, and eventually you realize it's because a guest didn't know it was remote controlled and they were fiddling with the switch.

I find most lighting harsh so to have something that I can adjust quickly with different tones is really interesting.

I, too, find it interesting, but I was very put-off by the colors they're showing on the Philips site. Perhaps it's because softer tones aren't as flashy so they don't sell well. I liked their schemes that touted "better concentration," as that was the most compelling aspect to the product in terms of setting it apart from the competition. Other than that, the idea of having purple, blue, and red lights in the same room sounded awful to me.
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frankspin

From what I gather the system is only being sold at Apple stores which is a real PITA. I know they're all over but that makes the market reach really limited.

I agree with all your concerns and I think this is an area that will take some time to get figured out.
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Dignan17

Ah, I see now. I guess they did some market research and found Apple Store shoppers to be a target demo. I'm not saying that disparagingly, just observing.

I'm a home automation fanatic. I've been using products in this segment for 14 years, ever since I hooked the string lights in my freshman dorm to a couple X10 modules. It's amazing - considering the advancements we've had in technology in the past decade - how slow this area has advanced. X10 has been around for decades, then the new kids (ZWave and Zigbee) entered the picture, and now we're getting a lot of proprietary products and that's what concerns me (assuming Philips doesn't open the Hue up, which they could).

I'm hoping that someone will come along and make an inexpensive standard. I was hoping that Google would do it with those announcements they made a couple years ago, but they've basically done nothing. Very disappointing.
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