In the pipeline

What's new and maybe useful

A timer takes control of the tube

Parents who limit their children's television viewing often find that enforcement can be difficult. A new device in some RCA TVs gives parents more control. The KidPass menu option lets parents decide how much time, in 30-minute increments, the TV can be viewed each day. Programming covers a full week, and can be adjusted anytime.

Viewing time is cumulative, and the remaining time is displayed in a banner at the top of the screen. Once the time limit is reached, the TV shuts off and can be turned back on only with a password. The function is now available in four RCA models. Suggested price: $240 for 20-inch model.

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Mist opportunity

For kids, beating the summer heat often involves running through water from a sprinkler, fountain, or hydrant. For less adventurous adults, there's the WindChill Misting Fan. This 16-inch oscillating fan hooks up to a standard water hose. The water travels through the hose, up the fan's base, and is sprayed as a fine mist through four heads on the front of the fan. Suggested price: $85.

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Convergence cooking

Microwave ovens can create full meals, fast. But many cooks believe nothing beats a traditional oven for great-tasting food.

Whirlpool aims to improve the microwave with a little convergence. The company's g2microven combines microwave energy with the heat generated by a conventional oven. The device works as fast as a microwave while producing the results of an oven, the company says, cooking the food inside and outside at the same rate. Suggested price: $700.

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