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Toshiba Enters Digital Frame Category

New York – Toshiba used a Rockefeller Center showcase for House Beautiful magazine, here, Monday to formally announce its entry into the digital media frame category.

Highlighting the new frames in a House Beautiful’s “Kitchen of the Year” design showcase presided over by Ina Garten (a.k.a. “The Barefoot Contessa” from the Food Network show of the same name), Toshiba marketing executives said the event was the perfect platform for its new high-styling 8-inch and 10-inch LCD digital frames. The three initial models, which will ship in mid-August, offer a high-gloss floating-glass look in the 8-inch screen sizes, while the 10-inch model is patterned after the company’s Deep Lagoon 2009 LCD TV design style.

The 8-inch models will be offered with either black or white frame bezels, making them suitable for most room

decors. The 10-inch model will be offered in a translucent black.

The white 8-inch DMF82XWU and the black 8-inch DMF82XKU will each carry $180 suggested retails. The 10-inch DMF102XKU will carry a $230 suggested retail.

Jodi Sally, Toshiba digital A/V (DAV) group marketing VP, said the company is targeting the step-up segment of the digital media frame marketing, offering models with full Wi-Fi connectivity.

In addition to connecting to a networked PC in the home to share photos, the digital frames will connect with the online Frame Channel. Once an account has been established users can upload images or link favorite photos, music and videos from popular sites like Flickr, Photobucket and Facebook, and share them with family and friends that also have digital media frames.

The Frame Channel will also make it possible for users to access more than 1,000 free content channels in 19 categories, with selections like, men’s tennis, three-day forecast, stock quotes and Facebook.

Users can also subscribe to favorite channels and the frame will automatically update with real-time information.

Each frame ships with 1GB of built-in flash memory to store photos, videos and music files. The frames also include a USB port to connect to external thumb and portable hard drives, as well as a multi-format media card slot for files stored on external flash-memory cards.

“You can get digital photo frames today for $20 to $30, but this is more than that. We call them digital media frames because we are positioning them as devices to do much more than just show photos. These are more lifestyle devices that give you the news and weather and a range of other personalized content options,” said Louis Masses, Toshiba DAV group product planning director.

Sally said that in addition to distributing the products through Toshiba’s traditional digital A/V retail accounts, the company will be targeting specialty photo and camera stores for the devices.

The frames are among the dozens of products showcased in House Beautiful Magazine’s 2009 Kitchen of the Year, which was inspired by Garten and designed by Robert Stilin. Visitors to Rockefeller Center showcase can explore Garten’s signature style: a kitchen where guests want to gather, linger and talk, and where functionality and solutions for cooking enthusiasts abound.

Viking appliances were also featured in the showcase.