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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Consumer tech heavies move into smart home

LG's Thinq smart appliances can be controlled from a networked device, including a PC, tablet or smartphone. (Credit: Martin LaMonica/CNET)

For some consumer electronics companies, the living room is just the start. Coming next is a home filled with connected appliances and gadgets that can be remotely controlled and programmed to shave down energy bills.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, LG touted its line of Thinq "smart" appliances, which use a Wi-Fi connection and a smart meter to bring features such as programming appliances to work at off-peak times or diagnosing appliance problems through customer service online.

LG's booth at CES featured its array of smart appliances, including a connected washer, dryer, refrigerator and a robot vacuum cleaner. All devices can be networked and controlled with a PC or touchscreen device, such as a smartphone or tablet.

LG also showed off some features of its household appliances that make them more energy efficient, such as an alternative washer drum design. In electronics, LG is making improvements to its mobile phones to reduce power consumption and improve recycling.

A few steps away in the Panasonic booth, the Japanese industrial giant has a display showing all the equipment it is developing for a connected, energy-smart home.

Panasonic this year is showing off a home energy management system that uses a small gateway device to connect to appliances and an electric vehicle charging station. From a TV, people can also see their energy and water consumption.

It also has a fuel cell that produces electricity and heat for hot water from natural gas. Meanwhile, Panasonic has developed batteries for home storage and recently closed its acquisition of Sanyo, giving it a line of solar panels to sell.


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