Compact fluorescents have had their time in the sun; it’s time to herald the era of LEDs, say advocates. Light-emitting diodes are bright, extremely long-lasting, über-efficient, and can color-shift by remote control (fun!). The bulbs shine in many traffic lights, colored the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve, may soon light up the Empire State Building, and are becoming the bulb of choice for commercial lighting. Many bulb manufacturers expect that they’ll soon widely light up households as well; so sure is Philips Lighting, in fact, that it is spending no R&D money on CFLs, focusing solely on LEDs. The downside, however, is price. A 60-watt incandescent bulb costs about $1, a comparable CFL $2; Philips will introduce its equivalent LED bulb in September at the eyebrow-raising price of $107. That will no doubt drop as time goes on, but some experts say the barrier is high enough that LEDs’ reach will remain limited.
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