Mirror TV on the wall who's the fairest of them all?

Watch TV while brushing your teeth

Electronics giant Philips has introduced a new television that enables you to brush your teeth and watch TV at the same time.

The Mirror TV is a LCD display integrated into a mirror. Designed to be initially used in hotels, the Mirror TV uses a unique polarised mirror technology, which transfers close to 100 percent of the light through the reflective surface. This means that when the LCD is activated, you can see the display, when it is turned off, you see your reflection.

The device can also double as a monitor. Users can link their lap-tops or home PC to the Mirror TV with a special connector.

Philips, which is already one of the largest suppliers of television display units to the hotel industry, believes that its latest product will appeal to this sector because of its space saving capabilities. It plans to make the Mirror TV available to the public within the next few years, possibly before 2005.

It is also currently testing more advanced versions of the product that could connect users wirelessly to the mirror. Possible uses for this, said Philips, could include displaying individual's health data or showing a cartoon that encourages children to brush their teeth more effectively.

Philips has not yet announced pricing guidelines for the Mirror TV, but given that at this stage each unit has to custom-built to meet the design spec of the given space, they are unlikely to be cheap. The Mirror TV comes with a 17, 23, or 30 inch LCD display. Deliveries are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Mirror TV is the first commercialised product to emerge from Philips' research-enabled "house", HomeLab.

The HomeLab is a research facility in Holland which looks and feels like a regular home. Residents stay at the house for a few hours or a couple of days, depending on the research, and are exposed to and can interact with new technologies from the electronics firm. Researchers observe how the guests use the technology via 34 hidden cameras and an observation area.

Philips decided to commercialize Mirror TV after testing a more sophisticated prototype with more than 200 consumers in HomeLab. According to Philips, people appreciated being able to watch television while also doing things like shaving or brushing their teeth.



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