Hue Bridge - Zigbee 3rd Party Light Integrations

hue
osram
zigbee

#1

Hello,

I have been using Zigbee lights in my existing setup for some time now. I have multiple of Zigbee Commercial Electric Recessed Lights and Zigbee Osram Lightify Bulbs . I recently was able to get a Philips Hue Color Starter Kit for a pretty good price. I configured the bulbs with the hub and then integrated the hub into SmartThings with no issues. After doing a bit of research, I’ve learned that as of February, the Hue Bridge is now Zigbee compatible. I’m considering removing my existing (non-Hue) Zigbee bulbs from SmartThings, and readding them via the Hue Bridge. I do enjoy the GUI of the Hue app and I should be able to recreate the current functionality with these 3rd party bulbs either within the Hue app or by syncing them back to SmartThings. I have read lots of threads about getting bulbs integrated into Hue, but most of these threads predate the hub firmware update.

Before I rip my current bulbs from my ST hub, I thought I’d ask some questions to those of you that might have already done it:

  • Is getting these 3rd Party bulbs integrated now a more straightforward/reliable process? I’ve read older threads where you had to get lucky and hold the bulbs directly against the hub.
  • Which platform (Hue or SmartThings) would be best for providing firmware updates to these non-hue bulbs going forward?
  • Are there any reliability issues with the 3rd Party bulbs on the Hue hub? Color match issues?
  • If you have all your 3rd party Zigbee bulbs on the Hue system, why do you prefer it over SmartThings? If you keep Hue bulbs on your Hue hub and 3rd party bulbs on SmartThings, why do you prefer it over Hue?

Thanks!


#2

First things first: The hue bridge has always used zigbee to communicate with its bulbs.

However, Zigbee allows for multiple “profiles” and these are not all interoperable. The hue bridge used to use just the “zigbee light link” profile (ZLL) and “zigbee green energy” for Its Tap Switch, but it did not use the “zigbee home automation” profile (ZHA). So bulbs which only used ZHA and did not use ZLL could not be connected to the hue bridge.

See the following FAQ (this is a clickable link)

What changed in February was that Phillips added the newest zigbee application profile, “zigbee 3.0” to the hue bridge. That in turn allowed more devices to be able to be added. But still not all zigbee devices.

To make matters even more complicated, the Osram/Sylvania bulbs use different Zigbee profiles in different regions. The bulbs sold in Europe use the ZLL profile, and can be added to the Hue bridge. The bulbs sold in the US use the ZHA profile and cannot be added to the hue bridge, even after the zigbee 3.0 update for the Bridge.

So unfortunately, you still will not be able to use your Osram bulbs with your hue bridge if you are in the US.

If you do have devices which can work with your Hue bridge, I personally would always recommend using them through the hue bridge because you can have problems with messages getting lost if you connect them directly to smartthings. See the following FAQ: