We here at HomeTheaterReview consider lighting control to be an essential element of any good home entertainment system. There's nothing quite like the experience of dimming the lights at the touch of a button before a movie starts or dialing in the perfect level of illumination for a night in front of a good two-channel rig. But we also acknowledge that the lighting control market is in a bit of a fractured state at the moment, and adapting to the use of smart bulbs, instead of smart lighting dimmers or switches, can lead to confusion or frustration for some users.
That's where Lutron's new Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer comes in. Designed to work with Philps Hue smart bulbs, which can be unintentionally disabled if you hit the switch connected to the socket they're screwed into, the Smart Bulb Dimmer installs over a traditional toggle switch, keeping it locked in the on position, but also gives you tactile dimming control over the smart bulb itself.
Full details from Lutron below:
Smart bulb users lose control of their smart lighting when a light switch is accidentally turned off. To help prevent this from happening, Lutron is introducing the Aurora smart bulb dimmer, a wireless, battery-powered dimmer that can be mounted directly over a toggle switch, keeping Signify's Philips Hue smart bulbs and fixtures ready for use.
The intuitive, familiar style of the Lutron Aurora dimmer allows any family member or guest in your home to control your Philips Hue lights easily. Simply touch the Aurora dimmer to turn your Hue lights on or off and turn the knob to brighten or dim the lights.
"Lutron is pleased to join the Philips Hue 'Friends of Hue' program and offer this unique, wall-mounted smart lighting control that enriches the Hue experience," said Matt Swatsky, Vice President, Residential Mid-Market Business at Lutron. "Lutron prides itself on aligning with global, best-in-class companies like Signify to improve and evolve the lighting experience. Together, Lutron and Signify are addressing smart bulb user feedback with an attractive and practical solution that locks toggle switches in place to keep smart bulbs ready, while providing an additional point of control. The Aurora dimmer simplifies the use of Philips Hue smart bulbs and fixtures for everyone in the home."
Easy Installation and "Always Ready"
The completely wire-free Lutron Aurora dimmer can be installed easily over toggle switches in just two minutes. A dimmer mounting base "locks" your existing toggle switch in the on/up position to help prevent it from being accidentally turned off.
The round knob dimmer snaps directly onto the mounting base, and provides wireless, local control of your Philips Hue smart bulbs and fixtures. The Aurora dimmer is perfect for times when it's less convenient to use the Philips Hue app to adjust your lights.
And, there's no need to worry about Wi-Fi outages. Just like the Philips Hue system, the Lutron Aurora smart bulb dimmer operates via Zigbee technology. You can still control your Hue lights with the Aurora dimmer even if the Wi-Fi goes down.
"The Lutron Aurora dimmer is the perfect complement to the Philips Hue system - it offers yet another convenient and familiar way for you to control and enjoy what our smart lighting can do. It also blends in well with any interior design style," said Jasper Vervoort, Business Leader, Home Systems and Luminaires at Signify. "With Lutron as our new 'Friend of Hue', we're continuing to deliver on our promise of making smart lighting even more accessible to anyone in the home."
The Lutron Aurora dimmer, available in white, can now be pre-ordered on MeetHue.com, and is expected to ship in June. The Aurora dimmer will also be available for purchase on Amazon.com and in-store and online at Apple, Best Buy and The Home Depot soon.