This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.


From TCP, a Cheaper Hue in White Only

Connected by TCP offers controllable 2700K, 800-lumen white light bulbs, home network bridge, an app for iOS or Android, and a remote for $56 less than the Philips Hue.

Technical Consumer Products, Inc. (TCP) has picked nearly the worst possible name for its family of connected lighting, at least in terms of locating any information about it online: try Googling "Connected by TCP." The letters TCP were claimed decades ago by the Internet's Transmission Control Protocol, which is all about connecting.

(Source: Technical Consumer Products, Inc. website)

TCP is selling their Hue-like kit -- in white only, no color changing -- for $143 from their own website. So far, I haven't seen any retail channels that carry the products. TCP unbundles the components, so you can order not only individual bulbs (as you can for Hue), but also the network gateway and the remote. You can also get bundle pricing on a pair of bulbs with either gateway or remote. (The pricing looks as if it may have been rather hastily assembled: you can buy the 2-pack of bulbs with remote, throw away the remote, and come out a dollar ahead of buying two single bulbs at $28 each.)'s review praises the TCP app for its simplicity and its thoughtful touches. TCP has apparently been offering a similar app for some time to control CFL bulbs, so they have had more time to polish the app than Philips has for Hue's control app (which reviewers say still has some rough edges at version 1.2).

Warranty and quality
TCP extends a two-year warranty, according to CNET; I assume it covers all the components in a Connected by TCP kit, but was not able to locate the warranty online to verify that. The bulbs have a claimed lifetime of 25,000 hours. Compare to Philips Hue: two-year warranty and 15,000 hours for the bulbs.

This community has registered its firm opinions of the overall quality of TCP LED light bulbs -- see the discussions around Walmart's sub-$10 bulbs. Based on those considered opinions, I would be surprised if the bulbs in the Connected by TCP package lasted 22 years at three hours per day.

One aspect of the TCP bulbs impressed CNET's reviewer, Ry Crist: when dropped from a height of three feet (a meter), the bulbs tend to bounce. Crist reported that when an unnamed someone at CNET accidentally dropped a Philips Hue bulb from one foot, it shattered.

I saw no mention of ZigBee, so I am unsure of the protocol TCP uses to communicate between its bridge and bulbs.

It is good to see even roughly competitive products apply some price pressure on the Philips Hue, which clearly has the lead in mindshare among those shopping for connected lighting for their smart homes. (Soon we will see more competition from iLumi, LIFX, and the Lumen LED Color Smart Bulb.) Connected by TCP can't change color, can't do geofencing, and can't be automated by IFTTT, so the real competition it offers to Hue may be nominal. But the pricing is going in the right direction.

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