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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The HD fridge arrives

I suppose it was inevitable, but the first refrigerator with High Definition TV has finally arrived.
Announced in November but launched yesterday in the US by LG of Korea, the $4,000 fridge integrates LG's fifth-generation ATSC-QAM-NTSC digital television tuner to pick up terrestrial or cable HD. The only problem is, it displays it on a 15-inch LCD screen.
Whether people will pay the premium for HD on a small screen fridge is debatable, although there are always the 'bleeding edge' consumers.I guess the absence of any other competing fridges, even with a seven month lag between announcing and shipping, says something about the expected demand.
The unit has a DVD connection on top of the unit as well as a four-inch Weather & Info Centre LCD display that delivers personalized weather forecasts based on a consumer's geographic area, along with the forecast for four surrounding cities, via a wireless pager network. I can see this being a reason for a display, but
a) it is separate (HD might make a difference here) and
b) you can get a cheaper fridge with this on anyway
And harking back to the first 'killer app' for the home computer, storing recipes, the LG Recipe Bank has 100 pre-loaded recipes from the Culinary Institute of America.
There's also a digital photo album, so you can see your kids in HD, uploaded via a USB port (the pictures,not the kids)and date/time clock, calendar with anniversary alarm and more. (I'm expecting a wireless sync with Outlook - that would be more useful!)
"As an appliance industry leader in digital convergence, LG Electronics is constantly seeking out ways in which we can create innovative, stylish and functional products," said John Herrington, president of LG Electronics USA, Digital Appliances. "LG is taking this innovation one step further with the introduction of our HDTV Refrigerator by incorporating additional features that further enhance the user experience, from LG's industry-leading digital TV tuner to the Weather & Info Center for weather forecasts, uploadable photo album and recipe bank."
And of course it has an ice generator!

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