LEDs Set to Eclipse Fluorescents

LEDs set to eclipse fluorescents in lighting industry. Although priced at around 20 times more than the incandescents, LED lighting bulbs last much longer and use far less electricity, a savings that homeowners are beginning to recognize.
 
As retailers like Home Depot and Lowe's sell LED bulbs aggressively and manufacturers improve the technology, prices for them are falling steadily.

In addition, because the light in LED bulbs comes from chips, companies have been able to develop software applications that let users control the bulbs, even change the color of the light, with tablets and smartphones. Apple sells a three-pack of such bulbs, made by Philips, with the hardware to operate them for about $200.

LEDs will outsell incandescents in North America in 2014, according to some research. And LEDs will become the most popular A-type technology by 2016, with North American shipments reaching almost 370 million, a more than tenfold increase from the roughly 33 million shipped last year.

For the manufacturers, LEDs pose a new challenge. They offer higher profit margins, but because they can last for decades, people will be buying fewer bulbs -- of any sort. "The company that can dominate will make a lot of money," said Philip Smallwood, senior lighting market analyst at IMS Research. "So it's a big push to get into it early."

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