An Internet refrigerator (sometimes called a Net fridge) is a version of the familiar kitchen appliance with a built-in computer that can be connected to the Internet. The Internet refrigerator is one item in a growing product category known as Internet appliances that includes not only devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smart phones, but also Web-enabled versions of typical household appliances such as refrigerators and microwave ovens.
LG Electronics' Digital Multimedia Side-By-Side Fridge Freezer with LCD Display was one of the first available products; its features include a touch screen in a 15.1-inch thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) and its own LAN (local area network) port. This refrigerator can keep track of what foods are stored in it and how long they've been there. There's a built-in video camera, so you can leave video memos for other household members, and a built-in digital camera, so you can take a photograph and save it to an album, post it to a Web site, or send it out to an e-mail recipient. You can also watch television, play MP3 files, or listen to the radio.
Although it might seem at first an unusual combination for an appliance, there are reasons why a Web-enabled computer refrigerator is a good idea. As Frank Lee, of LG Electronics Canada (quoted in an EXN article) explains, "We have so many things going on in the kitchen. Let's put access to the Internet there. What's more important is that the refrigerator is really the only thing in the house that's on 24 hours a day, so let's have the Internet easy to access and also play a larger function than just simply e-mail."