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LG InstaView ThinQ Alexa fridge adds clever kitchen tricks

As well as accessing Alexa and tracking groceries on the semitranslucent touchscreen, the InstaView ThinQ refrigerator can now act as quarterback for your entire connected kitchen.

Last year's Smart InstaView Refrigerator is this year's InstaView ThinQ Refrigerator.
Chris Monroe/CNET

Last year at CES 2017, LG introduced us to a smart refrigerator with built-in Alexa voice controls and a WebOS touchscreen that turns translucent when you knock on it. This year, LG is giving that fridge an intelligence boost and some fresh branding to boot.

Originally called the Smart InstaView fridge, LG's intelligent icebox is now the InstaView ThinQ Refrigerator, folding it right in with the rest of LG's new, ThinQ-branded kitchen appliances. That's important, because what's new this year is the way the fridge will use its artificial intelligence to interact with those other ThinQ-branded appliances.

Let's say, for example, you have ricotta cheese in the fridge that's good for a few more days, so the fridge recommends a lasagna recipe. Once you're ready to start cooking, the fridge will tell the oven to go ahead and start preheating to the proper temperature as Alexa walks you through each step of the cooking process on the refrigerator's touchscreen. The fridge will share that recipe info with the ThinQ dishwasher, too, telling it to pick a good cycle for cleaning burnt cheese off of your plates and pans.

It's one of the more Jetsonian pitches that we've heard at CES this year, with a kitchen full of intelligent appliances working together to make dinner easier and more convenient. The real question: Is that sort of futuristic convenience enough of a draw to get people to commit to buying an entire kitchen's worth of presumably expensive connected appliances? I have my doubts, but I also want to hear more from LG about what all this lineup has to offer.

Fortunately, LG has a presser coming up later today at CES, so we'll likely know a lot more about the new ThinQ lineup soon.

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

CES 2018: CNET's complete coverage of tech's biggest show.