Insteon home automation adds unofficial Nest support

After releasing an app update on Monday, Insteon announced this week that its home automation system is now compatible with the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Owners of the Insteon Hub will be able to monitor and control the basic functions of their Nest directly from the Insteon app, along with any motion detectors, LED lights, or other smart-home gadgets they've integrated into their systems.

Insteon isn't the first system to claim compatibility with the Nest. In September, Nest announced plans for a partner-based developer program, naming the high-end automation network Control4 as partner No. 1. Other systems, like … Read more

LED there be light: We pick the best bulb upgrades for your buck

Incandescents have enjoyed a good century as the light bulb of choice, but times are changing. So too are efficiency standards, which jumped to a new, even higher threshold back on January 1, officially rendering 40-and 60-watt bulbs obsolete. Despite Congressional leaders postponing the official phase-out for the time being, manufacturers are continuing to lead the charge into a new era of higher efficiency lighting -- and largely leaving incandescents by the wayside.

Don't be too quick to mourn them though. Recent advancements in LED technology have brought prices down on these highly efficient, long-lasting bulbs even faster than … Read more

TCP's LED kit is a solid and simple smart lighting solution

The smart home options just keep on coming. The latest is the Connected by TCP Wireless LED Lighting Kit, which will set you up with three LED bulbs, the "Gateway" hub that serves as their collective brain, and a handy remote control. Setup is a breeze -- just plug in the Gateway, screw in the bulbs, and download the free TCP app to your Android or iOS device. You'll be controlling your new lights within minutes.

As smart lighting kits go, there isn't a lot to dislike about what TCP's offering here. Each bulb gives … Read more

Just how bright is Insteon's LED smart bulb?

Light bulbs have long been seen as symbolizing good ideas, and that's exactly how Insteon hopes you'll see its LED bulb. For starters, the Insteon LED Bulb will shine as brightly as a 60-watt incandescent bulb while using only 8 watts' worth of energy, putting it squarely in line with other energy-saving LED bulbs. But this is Insteon we're talking about, and sure enough, this bulb is fully automatable on Insteon's network, no separate dimmer module required. Just pick a lamp or light fixture, screw in the Insteon LED Bulb, and you'll be able to … Read more

Insteon's Starter Kit can't keep up with smarter kits

If you're looking for a start in home automation that's free from fuss -- and, more importantly, free from monthly fees -- then you might want to consider the Insteon Starter Kit, available for $119 exclusively at Best Buy. Insteon claims that with its line of automation products and its free smartphone app, "your home is with you wherever you go."

You should temper your expectations here, as the Starter Kit, with its two LampLinc dimmers and the router-esque Insteon Hub, will only allow you to automate a pair of lamps. Automating just two lamps is … Read more

Control this LED bulb with a smartphone

Any modern Casanova looking for a suave way to dim the lights should check out the networked dimmable LED light bulb by Insteon. The 8W LED bulb supposedly glows at the same intensity as a 60W to 100W incandescent shiner, and costs a somewhat reasonable $29.99. … Read more