LG, SEOUL: The speakers go where??

You tend to discover a lot when you tour the product showrooms of major consumer electronics companies, and LG's, housed in its impressive Twin Towers HQ building here in Seoul, was no exception.

Here we saw the 2008 Emmy awarded to company president Dr Woo Hyun Paik, for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development, and products as diverse as air-conditioners disguised as picture-frames (below), and special refrigerators designed for making and storing kimchi, the usually spicy fermented vegetable dish that's a Korean meal staple.

In the old days, the Koreans, faced with long winters and only one harvest a year, used to make kimchi by burying the vegetables in the ground in large pots.

These days, specialist refrigerators (above) are widely used in Korean households, with different sections running at precisely controlled temperatures to regulate the fermentation process.

We also discovered that in washing machines, unlike hi-fi turntables, direct drive is good, and the traditional belt-drive from the motor to the drum is bad.

Direct drive is quieter, gives a lot less vibration, and can thus make possible even faster spin speeds for better draining.

But not all the information you get is quite on message. Our guide to the showroom, despite struggling with a heavy cold, was enthusing about the company's products in the face of a rather jetlagged group of journalists.

And it was all going well until she reached this 5.1-channel home cinema in a box system, with its choice of wired or wireless speakers.

"It's designed for great flexibility," she bubbled, to be met with silence from the assembled hacks. "In fact my friend bought this system for its flexibility - she has two speakers in the living room, two in the bedroom and one in the kitchen".

And, moving on...

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.