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GE selling 'omnidirectional' LED bulb online

General Electric says its the first to get Energy Star certification for an incandescent-shape LED bulb.

General Electric has released an Energy Star-compliant LED light designed as a long-lasting and efficient replacement for a 40-watt incandescent bulb.

The General Electric 9 Watt Energy Smart became available online for $50 earlier this week and will be available through GE's existing retail channel in January, according to the company.

The A19-shape bulb uses 9 watts and is rated to last 25,000 hours, or 22 years at three hours of daily use. It gives off 471 lumens, has a white light at 3,000 Kelvin, and does not contain mercury or lead.

GE said it is the first incandescent-shape LED bulb to meet the new Energy Star tests for this category.

GE's Energy Smart LED A19 Lamp is a 40-watt incandescent equivalent which uses 9 watts.
GE's Energy Smart LED A19 Lamp is a 40-watt incandescent equivalent which uses 9 watts. Martin LaMonica/CNET

Both incumbent lighting companies and newcomers are introducing incandescent-shape LED bulbs, which are available online and now in big box retail stories.

In terms of price, other LED bulb manufacturers are offering products that give off more light and are cheaper at retail. Lighting Science Group, for example, has a 40-watt equivalent available through Home Depot which now costs under $18. A GE representative said that retailers, which GE will name in coming weeks, will set the price of GE's Energy Smart bulb.

GE is trying to distinguish its product with good light dispersal, saying the bulb works for lighting applications typically not well suited for LED lights, such as desk lamps and overhead lamps. LEDs give off light in one direction and some of early incandescent-shaped LED bulbs give off most light on one side, rather than evenly.

GE's bulb has eight fins that run down the side of what looks like a thin bulb. That design allows it to disperse light more evenly and take away heat, which is important for the promised long life of LEDs.