Skype to Add Video Calling to HDTV’s

Posted by at 11:58 am on January 5, 2010

Skype today announced that Skype software will be embedded into Internet-connected widescreen televisions from its consumer electronics manufacturer partners. Skype has been a major force in popularizing video calling and producing products that bring people closer together through rich, real-time communication. With Skype embedded into Internet-connected HDTVs, the company is trying to create a new experience that will allow people to communicate from the comfort of their living rooms.

New HDTVs will Deliver Familiar Skype Features

  • Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
  • Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype’s low rates
  • The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number
  • Skype voicemail, if it is set up
  • Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
  • Support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam

At CES, Skype announced partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype-“enabled HDTVs. Skype software will be embedded into Panasonic’s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and LG’s 26 new LCD and plasma HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access. Both lines are expected to be available in mid-2010. Both LG and Panasonic will offer specially-designed HD webcams that are optimized for Skype video calls as separate accessories that can be plugged into the televisions. These webcams support 720p HD and include special microphones and optics that can pick up sound and video from a couch-distance.

“The popularity of Skype video calling has increased substantially in recent years with an average of 34% of Skype-to-Skype calls now including video,” added Silverman. “For many people who are video calling on Skype, they have expressed a desire to communicate with their friends and family from somewhere comfortable, and preferably on a big screen. Logically, this led to the development of Skype embedded on HDTVs.”

Skype recommends uninterrupted high-speed broadband of at least 1 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth to achieve 720p HD-quality video calls on either a PC or television.

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