Skype gets its software into Panasonic, LG HDTVs

FYI  Jonathan Christensen, GM, Audio and Video, Skype will be speaking tomorrow (January 6) at the HD Voice Summit at 2010 CES.

Skype today announced all sorts of goodies today, but getting its software embedded into Panasonc and LG HDTVs so people can make wideband voice and HD video calls from the couch.  Isn’t that interesting?

More specifically, the new HDTVs will support free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls and all the other functionality you get with Skype (i.e. SkypeOut cheap calls, SkypeIn numbers, voice conferencing with up to 24 other people).   Support for up to 720p HD video calls will depend upon the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam; in the fine print Skype “”recommends” symmetrical bandwidth of 1 Mbps or better.

Panasonic’s 2010 line of VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and LG’s new line of LCD and plasma HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access will have it. Both lines are expected to be in stores in mid-2010 and both Panasonic and LG will offer specially designed HD 720P webcams optimized for Skype video calls in the couch-potato, er living room environment, with special microphones and optics.

Last year at CES, Skype talked about embedding its software into high-end TVs with a “Skype” button on the TV remote.  Given the compute processing being embedded into HDTVs today, perhaps it was inevietible that Skype (and ultimately other apps) would end up in the living room as a software embed — not to mention the comfort level doing a video call in the family room rather than huddled around Ye Olde PC or Laptop.

FYI, Skype says an average of 35 percent of Skype-to-Skype calls now include video.

More info on the Skype-TVs is available at skype.com/go/TV.

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