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Skype Video Calling is Coming to your Living Room TV

by Stewart Wolpin on February 04, 2010

Panasonic TV with Skype

Panasonic TV running Skype

Straighten up the living room and invest in a nice robe, Skype video chat is coming to TVs this year.

Panasonic and LG have shown compelling demos of Skype high-definition video calling capabilities integrated into their next-gen net-connected TVs, which are due later this spring. The webcam itself is not included. You'll then have to buy a Panasonic- or LG-specific webcam, each of which will have four built-in microphones, probably for around $100.

LG webcam

LG webcam

But these extra add-on webcams are a temporary solution. By the fall, expect to see a growing number of high-end TV models with a webcam and microphone array built into the bezel, just like built-in webcams are now standard equipment in laptops. Toshiba, for instance, has announced that its CELL TV will include a built-in webcam, though the company hasn't said it's using Skype's videophone service. Yet.

When making a call, you can sit up to 15 feet away from the TV and talk in a normal tone of voice. Echo-cancelling eliminates you hearing your own voice coming back through the TV's speakers, and the mics can handle full duplex conversation – meaning you can talk over someone without the sound cutting out.

TV webcams can "see" three or four people sitting on a sofa, depending on how far away from the camera you are. When a call comes in, you have the choice of ignoring the call, answering only with audio in case you're not video presentable, or with 720p video.

The only thing missing: a video answering machine, but then it's still early in this new video calling age.


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Discussion loading


From barry sacks on February 11, 2010 :: 10:07 am

I can’t wait to see this product available!

In fact I just posted your article on my personal facebook.


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