Today Skype announced a remarkable step up in the world of video calling. The latest version of Skype is going to suport HD video calling which can be received at up to 720p, Skype has also announced plans to embed the software into televisions that are ‘internet-ready’. Surprisingly this significant upgrade doesn’t come with much of a cost to the end-user, the new FV TouchCam N1 HD webcamera being available in early Feburary 2010 at just $69 without a microphone and $99 with. Skype estimates that the software will run fine on a computer with atleast a 1.8GHz processor & Skype 4.2 BETA. All webcams will be available to purchase in the Skype Shop shortly after release.
With Skype embedding the software into HDTVs it will make the video calling experience much more comfortable and ‘at home’. Skype announced that users can expect the following from their new Skype HDTV.
- 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 for the new televisions. Skype will be installed on Panasonic’s 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs & LG’s 26 new LCD and Plasma TVs with NetCast Entertainment Access. Both series are expected to be available in mid 2010, LG and Panasonic will be selling specialised webcams which can be plugged into the televisions and optimize the Skype experience. The webcams will record video in 720P HD and have microphones that can pickup audio in your living room or where ever your HDTV might be located. Skype recommends an internet connection of 1MBPS symmetrical bandwidth to achieve the best possible results.