Sylvania Smart Lighting Line Gains HomeKit-Enabled Flex Strip and Soft White Bulb

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    LEDVANCE today announced an expansion to its line of HomeKit-enabled Sylvania lights, introducing the Indoor Flex Strip Full Color and the Soft White A19 Bulb, both of which are joining the existing HomeKit-compatible A19 Full Color Bulb.

    The Soft White A19 Bulb is less expensive than the Full Color Bulb at $26, and it offers only a soft white shade instead of multiple colors. It is an 800 lumen bulb that is dimmable, and it works with any lamp that is compatible with A19 bulbs.

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    Sylvania's Full Color Flex Strip is a 400 lumen LED light strip that's designed to be used as accent lighting under shelves, along bookcases, under cabinets, and anywhere else light strips might work. It supports millions of colors and has a 1900K-6500K adjustable color temperature range.

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    The Sylvania lights connect to a HomeKit setup over Bluetooth, and thus do not require Wi-Fi or a hub to function. With HomeKit compatibility, both can be controlled via the Home app or through Siri, and they can be combined with other HomeKit accessories in scenes.

    Sylvania's new products can be pre-ordered from Amazon and will ship out later this month. The A19 Soft White Bulb is priced at $26, while the Full Color LED Flex Strip is priced at $60.

    Article Link: Sylvania Smart Lighting Line Gains HomeKit-Enabled Flex Strip and Soft White Bulb
     
  2. hlfway2anywhere macrumors 65816

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    Sweet. My cat just ate through two of my hue lightstrips so I am happy to see a cheaper alternative.
     
  3. Applebot1 macrumors 6502a

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    Hopefully competition to Hue will lower prices and increase innovation.
     
  4. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    Probably explains why Lowe's had Lightify all on clearance recently. :)

    For those talking about price: the color bulb costs a bit less than Hue, but the warm white bulb is comparable in price--in fact, you can get the more versatile Hue White and Color Ambiance for a bit more (or a 2-pack of the Hue White bulbs for a bit more than that, so much less per bulb than this). Their LED strip is also much less than the Hue Lightstrip Plus in price, but it's a mere 1/4 of the brightness and not really suitable for use as primary lighting unless you add extensions, which probably makes them more similar in price. For accent lighting, I'm sure it's fine (as is the regular Lightstrip if you don't care for shades of white--and then you're similar in price again).

    I also wonder how these work. It says they don't require a "hub," so presumably the Lightify Gateway or similar is no longer necessary. Do they connect to the iPhone/iPad/AppleTV via Bluetooth or something? Wi-Fi seems like it would be way more work (and expense) to set up. In any case, I hope they are still compatible with devices like the SmartThings hub so people can use them with other automation systems.
     
  5. springsup, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    springsup macrumors 65816

    springsup

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    The thing I'm really looking for is a good HomeKit-enabled light switch. Smart bulbs are always going to be niche because the bulb has its own switch independent of the manual one built in to the wall. Digital functionality should be additional to the existing, manual functionality to allow for automation; not replace or duplicate it.

    Also, since I'm going to build that switch in to the wall, I'd really like some kind of Powerline setup so all the switches can connect to a single bridge, using an open protocol so I can easily get a new bridge later on.
     
  6. az431 macrumors 65816

    az431

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    #6
    It supports HomeKit natively, so no hub is required. Hue uses ZigBee, and a hub is required to talk to HomeKit.
     
  7. justperry macrumors G3

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    I bet the light strip isn't that good, my estimate is those leds are 5-10 cm apart, too far IMO.
     
  8. RMo, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    I should have clarified that I know it supports HomeKit natively and does not require a hub-type device, but I was wondering how the bulbs themselves communicate with HomeKit. Someuse BLE, some use Wi-Fi, and I'm curious how these work.

    I'm not sure how far apart they are, especially on the new LED strips that I've never seen, but they do look similar to the "old" ones, which were not very bright. Distance between LEDs might have had something to do with that. This one is a bit brighter (400 vs 360 lm), but both pale in comparison to the Lightstrip Plus (1600 lm). The LEDs aren't super close on that strip either, but definitely not 5-10 cm apart. (In related news, I'm assuming all these measurements are around 4000 K where RGBW strips tend to be brightest. Most people will use them at lower color temperatures for household lighting or in "RGB" mode, where I'm not sure how they compare, though I imagine in all cases some colors are brighter than others.)
     
  9. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

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    #9
    That was an estimate, I now measured how wide it is on my screen, 20 mm and 70 mm in-between leds, most of the time the actual width of led strips is 9-10 mm so the actual distance in-between the leds is around 4 cm or 1 ½ inch which wasn't too far of of my lower estimate.
    Still too much and 400 Lm is also not sufficient.
    Mine is 2.5 Meters long under the Kitchen cabinet and has about 3000 Lm
     
  10. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #10
    They use Bluetooth.
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    What's the advantage of buying a "smart bulb" over using a conventional lightbulb plugged into a HomeKit compatible switching module? Seems the latter is going to be the less expensive solution, especially over time.
     
  12. WBRacing macrumors 65816

    WBRacing

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    Hopefully not too soon though, have just spent a fortune getting different bulbs for my new home!
     
  13. wesley96 macrumors 6502

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    I do wonder what 400-lumen rating refers to, exactly. The Sylvania kit comes with three 60cm strips. Considering that Philips Hue’s kit has one 2m strip rated for 1600 lumens, perhaps it’s not a stretch to assume that each 60cm strip is worth 400 lumens, making it just slightly dimmer than Hue’s, not 1/4.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2017 ---
    There are already multiple HomeKit enabled light switches from various vendors, many of which don’t even rely on a hub. Of the hub less ones, Leviton and Koogeek ones use Wi-Fi and Elgato ones use BTLE. I have three Koogeek 2-gang switches installed to control traditional lightings in the house via HomeKit and manual controls.
     
  14. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #14
    I love this question, perhaps too much. :)

    It really depends on your situation. If all you want to do is turn lights on or off, then, yes, a smart switch could do just as well. Whether it's cheaper or not depends on how many bulbs you're controlling with the switch--and, of course, whether you really want to control them all at once. If you want to dim them, a "smart dimmer" switch may also work and again, could be cheaper if you have multiple bulbs you want to control all together and all your lighting is already compatible.

    However, RGB(W) and "tuneable white" bulbs add more versatility than a simple switch. The "soft white" bulb mentioned here isn't one of these, though it is an easy way to add dimming if your wall switch doesn't have it. But a wall switch can't change your lights from warm white to cool white (as Hue White Ambiance can) or different colors (as Hue White and Color and things like the Sylvania RGBW bulb can).

    Finally, everyone can change a light bulb, but not everyone can change out a light switch. There's two reasons for this--first, the practical reason that if you rent, landlords often frown on changing out switches. But there's the second, technical reason: many houses don't have what it takes to use most smart switches, which require a neutral wire in the switch box.* Even if they do, some people lack the technical skills to switch them out (though regular light switches are quite easy and smart ones aren't usually too much harder, though overfilling your box might be a concern). An electrician would probably add considerable expense. Light bulbs are an easy, renter-, novice-, and sometimes cost-friendly way to create "smart" lighting.

    *There is actually the Ecolink TLS-ZWAVE5 automated switch on the market now, which sits on top of the light switch (replacing the existing cover plate) and physically moves the existing switch up and down. It works via Z-Wave (and a compatible hub/controller like SmartThings) and so is not natively compatible with HomeKit, though it can unofficially work with something like HomeBridge. It's similar to Switchmate, which has been on the market for a couple years or so now, except Switchmate uses Bluetooth and isn't compatible with other HA systems "yet" (they've been working on this for a while). Both are renter-friendly and relatively easy to install (though Switchmate wins by far on both easiness and appearance) and are, of course, alternatives to smart bulbs.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    What I was really thinking about was plugin modules for table and floor lamps. The advantage I see to using them is the ability to change out a dead lightbulb or one with a different wattage without having to replace an expensive smart bulb. I am only beginning to swap out our CFL and incandescent lights with LEDs as they burn out.
     
  16. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    Ah. In that case, the comparison is probably easier. I don't think there's a significant cost difference between HomeKit-compatible plug-in modules and a basic smart white light bulb like you see here (in fact, this $26 bulb is cheaper than any outlet I can find on the first page of Amazon search results). And everything else still applies--you can get dimming (also can get it with some lamp modules, eliminating the need in any case to change the bulb if you just want a dimmer one) and tuneable white or color, which a switch can't give you. Personally I'd also trust the bulb to last longer than most "smart" switches that sound like they use a mechanical relay, but I've had both for years and never had a problem with either. LEDs are projected to last a very long time.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #18
    Mood lighting and operating our overhead lights remotely isn't a priority for me. My main objective is to provide a lived-in look for our home when we are away. For this purpose I am still limping along on what's left of a circa 1980 X-10 system. Ideally, I find a HomeKit compatible lamp module I like and buy maybe four of them, one to use on a lamp in every main room of the house. So difficult to choose now, with new products coming on line seemingly every day. As for the lightbulbs themselves, I'm getting to the point where my lightbulbs might outlive me!
     

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17 October 16, 2017