I’ve just got back from the Panasonic convention in Amsterdam where I was lucky enough to see the latest white goods and technology launches.


Panasonic unveiled the world’s largest HD plasma TV display, which was an impressive 150 inches wide and had a crystal clear image. We were also shown the NR-B30FX1, an incredible new fridge-freezer with an LCD display on the door and loads of storage space inside. Traditional fridges have thick walls of insulating materials, which means reduced space for food inside, but the new NR-B30FX1 model has ultra-thin ‘U-Vacua’ panels. They’re just an inch deep but offer 20-times more insulation than traditional materials, meaning the walls are thinner and the space inside is bigger.


Check out the smart blue LED lighting inside the top, too – very cool! This fridge will start at £699 and you’ll see it in John Lewis and Comet next month. Panasonic‘s new washing machines impressed me, too. They have a tilted drum, which makes it easy to load and unload, and saves water, too. I also liked the new ‘3D Sensor Wash’ technology in these machines, which detects the movement of the clothes in the drum and makes adjustments to enable the laundry to tumble from the optimal position, so it washes perfectly every time.

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These machines will retail from £449 in John Lewis and Comet next month. Panasonic also announced some stylish new Viera flat-panel TVs, but what got me really excited was the announcement of the world’s first portable Blu-ray Disc player.


The DMP-B15 lets users view movies on the go, with stunning images on a high-quality 8.9-inch WSVGA LCD screen. I want one! – Ellie




I’ve just got back from Portugal, where Philips presented their latest collection of gadgets and appliances to the worldwide media…

Every year, Philips take over the Penhalonga golf resort, for 3 months at a time, kitting the rooms out with latest Philips products – TV, daylight alarm clock, music systems – and displaying their products in marquees around the golf resort, so us journalists can get to know their products in depth, see them in action and spread the word…

The hotel, which dates back to the 14th century, is a gorgeous contrast to the latest high-tech offerings from Philips…These include:

NET TV – launching this spring it’s a new feature on Philips‘ latest TV designs (such as the S8000 and S9000 series) that lets you access a range of entertainment and information websites, such as YouTube, TomTom, eBay, MeteoGroup, Funspot, MyAlbum and Netlog, direct from your TV.


Also worth mentioning is the wide range of music streaming products that Philips has launched, such as the MC15ooH (pictured below), which lets you play music wirelessly in every room of the house.  With a ‘station’ in every room you can access your digital files on your PC or listen to internet radio or music services such as Last.fm. You can synchronize the music so the same tunes are played in every room, or for example, each family member can listen to a tune in their own room – so you can have Beyonce blairing out in the kitchen, Fleet Foxes in the study and a bit of relaxing chillout music in the bedroom.


And if you’re looking for birthday ideas for him, then check out the new straightener for men (!)


Yep, you heard it right – it’s smaller than your average straightener so gives ‘precision styling’ and, it seems, a bit of a ‘new romantic’ edge…whatever floats your boat – Emily

Stylish TVs from Sony

January 30, 2009

Last night I went to a launch party to see Sony’s new collection, fresh from CES 09Sony was obviously keen to impress the assembled journalists, PRs and celebs and had hired a cavernous, disused tram shed in trendy Shoreditch for the night. There was a light installation by artist Paul Cocksedge an arty short film directed by BAFTA award winner Tal Rosner shown on TVs suspended from the roof, and colourful cocktails flowed all night long – Sony really knows how to throw a good party. DJ-ing fashion designers Giles Deacon and Henry Holland provided the music, and I got chatting to Connie Huq of Blue Peter fame – oh, the glamour.

Sony party

Suspended TVs and a light installation at Sony's party

Sony launched four new products: the ZX1 – the world’s thinnest LCD TV so far; the Z4500 – a TV with ‘Motionflow’, a feature that means moving pictures are smoother than ever; the XEL-1, Europe’s first ultra-thin OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV; and the EX1, a TV that can also be used as a wireless picture frame for digital photos.

The Sony Bravia ZX1 is as thin as toast!

The Sony Bravia ZX1 is as thin as toast

The super-thin ZX1 LCD TV is impressive and great for hanging on a wall, but it’s the XEL-1 OLED TV that really excited me. Sony launched OLED TVs in Japan and the US last year, and they’re different from all other TVs so far because they don’t have backlights – instead, they contain organic particles that glow on their own when electricity is passed through them. It’s a process called – wait for it – electrophosphorescence, which is how fireflies glow. The fact that scientists can now replicate this glowing means that our TVs can be thinner than ever before – the XEL-1 OLED one I saw last night was literally 3mm deep! I wrote about the imminent European launch of an OLED TV in the January issue of Ideal Home, but I didn’t know who would be first to release one, Samsung or Sony. Sony pipped Samsung to the post, and the image quality is amazing. Sadly, I won’t be rushing out to buy a flashy new OLED TV – they’re £3,489 – and the screen size is a tiny 11 inches! I can’t help thinking Sony is taking the mickey a bit, as the same XEL-1 OLED TV is for sale in the US for $2,499 – that’s just £1,750! Over the next few years, prices will fall and screen sizes will increase, and pretty soon OLED will be the norm. Ellie














Sony's teeny tiny OLED TV

Sony's teeny tiny OLED TV – yours for £3,489!











I’ve just got back from a little trip to BAFTA in Piccadilly where Philips gave a sneak preview of their new 56inch LCDTV, which is the world’s first widescreen TV to display movies in “21.9” format – the way movie makers intended us to see their films.

With a sodapop and some bowl food (apparently what BAFTA calls ‘finger food’) in hand, I sat back and viewed the telly in action – the picture fills the screen perfectly, with no picture distortion or annoying black bars at the sides – it truly does give a stunning cinema-style experience, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own living room – or dedicated entertainment room.

Philips have yet to announce how much it costs and when it will be available in store, but check out our next issue of Ideal Home, where we’ll be exploring ways you can create a cinema-style experience in your home…in the meantime, make sure you stock up on DVDs. Emily