VoIP operator Skype and South Korean electronics giant Samsung have announced that Skype software is being embedded in Samsung’s LED 7000 and 8000-series HDTVs, enabling users to place video and voice calls through their televisions, with the addition of a low-profile Freetalk TV Camera for Samsung camera being sold as a separate accessory. The Samsung TVs are already set up to hook into users’ home broadband Internet connections, and can tap into online content Samsung’s free InternetTV service; the Skype-equipped televisions go on sale today in South Korea, and will be available worldwide during the first half of 2010.
“Our consumers want their televisions to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for entertainment and communication delivered with the highest quality,” said Samsung Electronics’ VP of Visual Display Kevin Kyungshik Lee, in a statement. “Including Skype on our TVs meets that expectation perfectly. We’re thrilled that Samsung’s consumers can now use our TVs to experience the rich video and voice communication that hundreds of millions of Skype users worldwide enjoy.”
Once they’re set up on the Internet and have a camera connected, users will be able to create free Skype accounts (or log into existing accounts) using their television remote controls; Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls will be free, while calls from Skype to landline customers will be available at Skype’s usual rates.
Samsung isn’t the only HDTV manufacturer rolling Skype into its devices: Panasonic and LG have also announced plans to bring Skype-enabled TVs to market.