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Philips integrates TV into mirror

20 Jun 2003

A wall-mounted mirror that also functions as TV is unveiled by Philips.

Mirrors that convert into a television or computer monitor at the touch of a button may soon be found in hotel rooms, thanks to some innovative thinking from Philips. The Dutch maker of consumer electronics has invented a “mirror TV” which integrates a 17-, 23-, or 30-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) with a wall-mounted mirror.

The device’s ability to switch functions is due to a special polarized coating that adjusts a portion of the mirror’s surface between total light transmission (TV mode) and total reflection (mirror mode).

Philips says that it decided to commercialize the product after testing a more sophisticated prototype with more than 200 consumers in its HomeLab research facility in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

“Consumers who used the Mirror TV prototype appreciated the ability to watch the news and traffic while also shaving or brushing their teeth,” commented Philips. “It provides the solution to the ever-shrinking spaces in hotels and retail environments.”

The firm initially plans to market the product to the hotel industry with homes following in next few years. The idea is that hotel guests could use the mirror-TV for paying bills, or connecting to their laptop computers for surfing the web or giving presentations, for example.

Prices have not yet been released but Philips says that the first products are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year.

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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