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Sylvania takes on 60-watt bulb with LED light

LED makers are introducing replacements for the popular 60-watt incandescent bulb that use about 80 percent less electricity and that could last for years and years.

The popular 60-watt incandescent light bulb is officially under attack from LED lighting technology.

Osram Sylvania on Thursday introduced a general-purpose LED light designed to replace screw-in incandescent, halogen, or compact fluorescent bulbs. It also said that it is working on a 75-watt replacement which is an LED.

Coming to a light socket near you? Sylvania

The LED lamp targeted at replacing 60-watt bulbs will consume 12 watts and give off 810 lumens, more than a typical 60-watt incandescent. The light, which will be available this fall, is dimmable and will last 25,000 hours, or 12 times more than traditional light sources, according to Osram Sylvania.

The company has not said how much it will cost except to say that it will be priced to be affordable with consumer lighting retrofits in mind. Osram Sylvania said the color rendering, at 2700K, makes it a good option for everyday lighting, including desk lamps, wall-mounted fixtures, and ceiling fixtures.

Osram Sylvania's bulb follows a similar introduction on Wednesday by Royal Philips Electronics of its own 60-watt replacement, which it plans to make in the fourth quarter this year.

Also on Thursday, Lighting Sciences Group introduced a 60-watt replacement called the Definity A19 bulb, which gives off 770 lumens and consumes nine watts.

With improvements in technology, LED light sources are becoming bright enough to replace 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent bulbs or their compact fluorescent equivalents. The bulbs don't contain mercury and some LED retrofit suppliers say the products are recyclable.

The technology is also flexible, allowing fixture designers to do alternative fixtures, such as flat-plate overhead lights for offices. Osram Sylvania on Thursday introduced MusicLites, a combination of a lighting fixture and Bluetooth wireless speaker.

The price for replacement LEDs, however, is still far higher than a typical hardware store bulb.

On Wednesday, for example, Lemnis Lighting introduced its Pharox 500 LED retrofit which puts out 500 lumens--a bit more than a typical 40-watt incandescent--priced at under $40. The president of the company, Warner Philips, predicts that prices for these lights will fall to $30 by the end of the year and to $10 in five years.

Lighting Science Group said that its 60-watt replacement, which will be available through distributors in the third quarter this year, will be priced in the "low $30 range."

One advantage LEDs have over technologies is that they operate under a cost curve where prices will go down with technology and manufacturing processing improvements. Industry executives point to Haitz's Law--the LED industry's rough equivalent of Moore's Law--which says that the cost per lumen falls by a factor of 10 every decade while the amount of light generated by an LED increases by a factor of 20.

Manufacturers themselves are seeking to create efficient products for energy-conscious consumers and meet a 2007 mandate to phase out incandescent bulbs.

Updated at 12:00 p.m. PT with corrected name and lumen rating for Lighting Science Group bulb.