<%-- Page Title--%> Sci-tech <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 151 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

April 23, 2004

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The Digital Kitchen

The microwave oven doesn't have to be the most modern gadget in the kitchen. Thanks to smart appliances, wireless technology and low-profile designs, budding chefs can bring unobtrusive audio, video and computer technology into everybody's favourite room of the house.

LCD TVs are plasmas' baby brothers and their thin form factors allow you to place them under cabinets or on the wall. A model with an integrated TV tuner and speakers means that you don't have to hook up additional gear. We like Sharp's 20-inch LC-20B2U in the kitchen; its relatively large, bright screen means you can easily follow along with your favourite cooking shows.

In the future, even your socks will be connected to the Web, but today, you'll have to settle for a Web-enabled refrigerator and microwave from LG. The Korean manufacturer is the first company to bring the Web into the kitchen via appliances, and its flagship product is the LRSPC2661T Internet Refrigerator. This icebox has a 15-inch touch-screen LCD and an Ethernet connection, giving you all you need to control the home network, surf for recipes, and even leave video messages for family members from one chilly spot.

Sure, you could always sing to yourself while cooking, but why bother, when a quality table radio can cover harsh kitchen noises with soothing melodies? With its rich tones and built-in CD player, the Cambridge SoundWorks 740 is a great candidate. It's even available in an ivory finish.

Although it's pretty neat to have a dedicated computer in your refrigerator or under the counter, the versatility of a notebook computer is always welcome--as long as you keep food out of the keys while you're Google-ing for chicken cacciatore. We're going with the Sony VAIO TR series because of its svelte design, wireless-friendly Centrino processing, and long battery life.

Talking on the phone and stirring the pancake batter go together like, well, pancakes and syrup. Besides, the kitchen has traditionally been a great central spot for a family phone, especially to serve fridge-raiding kids. Our top pick, AT&T's 5.8GHz, Wi-Fi friendly 5840, won't interfere with your wireless home network and includes an integrated digital answering machine as well.




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