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Matsushita, Toshiba to wire TVs, fridges, toasters

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co and Toshiba Corp said Monday that they plan to establish a joint venture by the end of this week that will offer internet access services to next-generation home appliances.

The two electronics giants will respectively own 51 per cent and 29 per cent of Home Integrate Inc, with two smaller partners, ep Corp and Internet Research Institute Inc, each holding 10 per cent. The chief target of the new company's services will be digital TVs, which are expected to sweep into Japanese homes over the next several years, along with a raft of less likely communication devices, including the internet-enabled refrigerator and even the internet toaster.

The joint venture partners said the new company will be sensitive to the fact that internet-enabled domestic appliances will be used by a wider demographic cross section than conventional internet terminals, and will need to be designed with simplicity and safety in mind.

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