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Smart Home: This smart dimmer isn't dull

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Smart Home: This smart dimmer isn't dull

2:28 /

Lutron's Smart Bridge turns regular ol' dimmers into home automation heroes.

[MUSIC] Hey, I'm Megan Wollerton for CNET appliances, here with the Lutron Smart Bridge. This $150 gizmo gives Lutron brand dimmers and other products smart functionality. So, where in the past you could buy a Lutron dimmer at the store for 55 bucks, get the Pico remote that goes with it and control everything manually. Now the smart bridge lets you do that with an app. I really loved this app. It's really intuitive, it looks nice, and it makes it so, so simple to use. This works with the plugin module, or the in-wall unit that you have to install. You can set schedules that you can initiate manually, or you can do auto schedules. Say, these lights will turn off at 9 AM, when I leave for work, and come back on at 6 PM, when I come home. Something like that. The one big problem I have with this is price. You can get a Belkin WeMo Smart Plug for $50 that has built-in WiFi capabilities and be able to turn your lights on are off from an app remotely. Since these blue tron dimmers are actually dumb, they don't have built in wi-fi capabilities, you have to spend the extra 150 bucks for this smart bridge to get that capability. So, that's a bit of a bummer. The benefit you're getting is dimming capability. It really allows for a whole new range of lighting options that you couldn't have before. If you want some of those extra features, this is great. It works great. It's just gonna cost you. One thing that would make this a better value is if you incorporate some of the other third party products that are available with the Smart Bridge. For example, there are three in a battery power shades that can be installed on your Windows. And you can use the app, the regular Lutron app that you use for these plugs to lift your shades up and down on a schedule. That's all it works with currently, but Lutron also has plans to incorporate Honeywell WI-FI smart thermostats, not the new Honeywell [UNKNOWN] thermostat but the older smart thermostats into this mix. Also GE is working on a dimmable LED bulb with built in Lutron capabilities so you don't need the switch. You could just buy this bulb, **** it into your lighting fixture and use the app to control that. So the Lutron Smart Bridge isn't coming out until September 1st. So you have a little time to think about if it makes sense for your home. You could always just spend, you know, the 55 bucks, get one of these and see how you like it, and then add on the smart bridge later on, but overall I love this product. I love the app, I think it's great, even though it's really pricey. Thanks for watching. I'm Megan Wollerton for Cnet.com. [MUSIC]

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