Unwrapped: Philips Hue light system and app controller

Ever wish the lighting in your house was more Vogue cover shoot than prison mug shot? This light bulb can match the colours in any photo.

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Ever wish the lighting in your house was more Vogue cover shoot than prison mug shot? The new Philips Hue light bulb can match the colours in any photo, up to 16 million colours in all, with the tap of a smartphone app. The starter kit of three bulbs and a ZigBee bridge that attaches to a Wi-Fi router costs $199, exclusively at the Apple Store (sorry, Androiders). Additional bulbs cost $59 each. Hey, no one said it would be cheap to light your bathroom that perfect shade of lavender.

The bulb
An 8.5-watt LED bulb produces 600 lumens of light, about the same as a 50-watt incandescent bulb, but uses up to 80% less power.

The app
With the free iPhone, iPod or iPad app, you can control the bulb’s advanced colour features, set lighting for specific times and even post your lighting shade and colour combos to social media. The app can operate as many as 50 bulbs in one house.

ZigBee bridge
This gadget makes all the wonderful app control possible, linking the Hue light bulbs to your Wi-Fi router and each other. It’s based on the open-source ZigBee light link standard, also being adopted by General Electric, Sylvania and Greenwave to offer a standard wireless control code for consumer lighting.

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