An Alternative To A Kitchen TV

A LCD or plasma television in the kitchen is the ‘in thing’ nowadays. It is fast becoming common place to find a television set that has been permanently installed into the kitchen as a feature. The reason why is simple. They look great with their slim features and they can be mounted anywhere where there is a little space, whether it is on the wall, in a cabinet or on the ceiling. The tv in the kitchen is no longer located there for entertainment, but with a combined DVD player it is possible to run cooking demonstrations while the cook follows the instructions. Rewinding is optional. Why does it always look easier when someone else does it – go Jamie.

For all its worth, that’s about it with a kitchen tv. It plays whatever channels it can receive or what ever DVD you put into the player. But what if the kitchen tv was more than just that. What if the kitchen tv was more interactive. Wouldn’t it be a grate idea to install a LCD touch screen connected through a computer into your kitchen? I did and it works brilliantly.

My first attempt was about 10 years ago when the early LCD screens hit the general market. I installed one into a friend’s house who was remodelling their kitchen at the time and wanted to be able to access their email and check stuff on the internet. Touch screens were not readily available then, so we installed a standard LCD screen so that it was visible all the time and put the keyboard and mouse into a draw below. Because we had a good quality 5 metre monitor lead we were able to put the computer into an adjacent cupboard. We included a tv tuner module in the computer for local tv reception. The system worked very well and I also included MP3 player software which became a great source of continuous music.

Just recently we have replaced the old dated computer and monitor with newer equipment. The monitor is a new 19 inch LCD TFT touch screen and is connected to a new Pentium 4, dual processing computer. The monitor is the same type that they use for point of sales in retail stores. We still used the draw to put the keyboard and mouse into but we hardly use it and if we were installing this from scratch I would have done away with it. The great thing is that most of the programs we use are windows based and menu driven.

So what are the advantages of using a computer and touch screen monitor to a standard kitchen tv? Where do I begin?

It obviously has Internet access to the world wide web. Your emails or MSN alerts are received and displayed in real time while you are cooking. You can stream countless radio stations from anywhere in the world. The tv tuner can be connected to satellite and I understand that some ISP providers can stream cable tv via the internet. Endless amounts of music stored on the computer in MP3 format. It has all the functionality of a computer (because it is one) with all the MS Office programs accessible through the touch of the screen. The computer sound outputs connect to a high quality 5.1 sound surround system.

I had fun installing a computer as a tv in the kitchen. Its time to think differently and have a go yourself.