Press Release – Royal Philips Electronics (AEX:PHI; NYSE:PHG) today introduced the Mirror TV, a versatile 17-, 23- or 30-inch LCD display integrated into a mirror.
The Mirror TV uses a unique polarized mirror technology, which transfers close to 100 percent of the light through the reflective surface. It is the first product created at the Philips HomeLab, the company’s research incubator for future electronic products and technologies, to reach the commercial market. The Mirror TV, which was demonstrated for the media in New York and Europe today, is ideal for non-traditional viewing spaces when it is installed flush to the wall.
Philips decided to commercialize the product after testing a more sophisticated prototype with more than 200 consumers in its HomeLab research facility, a fully functioning two-bedroom home that doubles as a scientific laboratory. Philips HomeLab enables researchers to observe (with 34 hidden cameras and an observation area) how people interact with new devices. Consumers who used the Mirror TV prototype appreciated the ability to watch the news and traffic while also shaving or brushing their teeth.
Philips, the world’s largest supplier of television display solutions for the hotel industry, initially plans to market the Mirror TV to hotels, but also sees a market for the product in customized home environments within the next few years.
“The Mirror TV is an important step forward for consumer technologies, and for Philips,” said Dr. Gottfried Dutine, CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics, “From a technology perspective, the Mirror TV craftily combines two important everyday functionalities; it’s also an early example of the Philips vision of Ambient Intelligence in that the ‘technology’ is embedded and easy to use. Having been tested with ‘real’ people in the HomeLab, the Mirror TV also signifies Philips’ ongoing commitment to understanding consumers–and providing products and devices that meet their needs.”
Mirror TV Enhances Aesthetics and Utilizes Space
Philips Mirror TV provides the solution to the ever-shrinking spaces in hotels and retail environments. The design hides the electronics, giving spaces an architecturally refined display and enhancing the upscale ambiance that hotels and retail environments strive to provide guests. At up to 30 inches, the Mirror TV could be placed on the wall as a centerpiece.
The Mirror TV introduced today can provide a range of functions beyond TV programming. In a hotel, for example, it can be used for bill payment or pay-per-view movies. It can also be used as a desktop/workstation application. Individuals can link their laptop or home PC to the Mirror TV with a special connector that enables the mirror to become an LCD monitor, providing a large display for presentations or surfing the web.
For home use, Philips is currently testing more advanced versions that could connect the user wirelessly to the mirror, providing everything from news to traffic reports and health data, such as blood pressure or weight. Or, the mirror could display a cartoon that encourages children to brush their teeth longer and more effectively. Company officials estimate that the home version may be available before 2005.
Philips has not yet announced pricing guidelines for the Mirror TV because at this early stage, each unit will be custom-built to meet the design specifications of the given space. Deliveries are expected to begin in the fourth quarter this year.
About Philips HomeLab
Philips HomeLab, in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, is an integral part of Philips’ R&D process. Created one year ago to test its new technology prototypes in the most realistic possible way, HomeLab looks and feels like a regular home with modern furniture in every room, Van Gogh prints on the walls, and even a fully stocked kitchen. Temporary “residents” can stay at the facility for anywhere from four hours to two weeks, depending on the type of research being conducted. During their residence, individuals or families go about life as usual, while interacting with the new technologies Philips has installed in the facility.
The facility is essential in speeding up the time-to-market for technological innovation. HomeLab puts the consumer at the center of the product development cycle by evaluating how individuals interact with new technologies. Depending on their behavior, the researchers may decide to re-tool the prototype, scrap the concept or move ahead in the product’s development.
Innovations from HomeLab are steps toward an Ambient Intelligence culture, which is how Philips envisions the future. Ambient Intelligence is defined as world in which electronics are sensitive to people’s needs, personalized to their requirements, can anticipate their behavior and respond to their presence – signifying a real improvement in people’s everyday lives.