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Is 'smart lighting' right for you and your home? (connected by TCP Review)

Al Sacco | Feb. 11, 2014
Controlling the lights in your home using a smartphone or tablet sounds like a novel idea, but is it really worth the investment to get "connected?"'s Al Sacco answers that question and more in this hands-on review of the Connected by TCP home smart lighting system.

On the flip side, if I turn off our office light using the TCP Lighting app, and then someone wants to turn that light back on using the light switch on the wall, she's out of luck; if the bulb is turned off by the app, the light switch won't work.

So it's kind of all or nothing with Connected by TCP. Everyone in the home either uses a smartphone, tablet or the remote control to turn lights on and off, or everyone sticks to light switches. (Or the occasional confusion ensues.) This could be an obvious issue if you have lots of people in your home or have children who don't have access to a smartphone or may not be old enough to use the remote.

All the smart bulbs in your home also need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. If there are any rooms in your house that your router doesn't reach, you won't be able to use the Connected by TCP bulbs in them.

The system and the individual bulbs are somewhat expensive, especially if you want to outfit your entire home with Connected by TCP bulbs. The three-bulb kit I reviewed includes all the components you need to get started. TCP charges $142.99 for it, though you can find the same kit for less at Home Depot ($109.99). Individual 11-w bulbs from TCP cost $27.99 though, again, you can find them for significantly cheaper online.

That said, LED bulbs last much longer than traditional light bulbs and use less energy — and even "dumb" LED bulbs costs almost as much as the smart TCP bulbs. For example, a comparable 11-w GE LED costs $24 on

After reading a number of user reviews on TCP's website, and, I noticed that a number of people mentioned that the TCP bulbs get quite hot after being used for a while. Personally, I didn't notice the problem, and the traditional light bulbs I used in the past also got hot during use. But enough people mentioned the heat that it seems worth noting.

Connected by TCP Review: Conclusion
The Connected by TCP home smart lighting system is pleasantly simple to set up. It works just as advertised. It's impressively customizable, and you can add up to 250 different smart bulbs to one system. You can dim lights in your home without dimmer switches. It's controllable via mobile app, remote control or Web interface. The Smart Control feature lets you automatically turn lights on and off at predetermined times and on certain days. Finally, the remote access feature lets you monitor and control you home lighting from anywhere you have an Internet connection.


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