Sunday dinner lives! Skype adds free group video chat to 2014 Samsung smart TVs

skype samsung smart tv group video chat free 1
Today, Skype released an update to its Samsung Smart TV app to offer 2014 models free group video chat capabilities for the first time ever.

The blog post announcing the Skype 4.0 update explicitly states the new feature will be available for 2014 Samsung Smart TV’s with built-in cameras, with no mention of older model support. The update supports video calling in 1080p resolution as long as every member of the party has a 2014 Samsung TV, compatible HD displays, webcams, and a steady internet connection with 1Mbps bandwidth.

Until April of 2014, group video chats were only available to Skype Premium customers paying the $9 monthly subscription fee. In April, Skype announced free video calling support for Mac and Windows desktops, as well as the Microsoft Xbox One, leading up to today’s update. There is currently no group video chat capability for the mobile app, however Skype promises it will be available soon.

Samsung Smart TV Skypers will be limited to three people per video chat, as opposed to the 10-person limit for desktops and game consoles.

Skype’s deeper integration into the smart TV market comes at a time when many companies are developing their own competing video chatting platforms. Days before the release of Skype 4.0, Mozilla released Firefox 35 and included a more practical version of its Hello web-based video calling platform. Firefox Hello should not currently be a big concern for Skype, however, as the platform only offers video calling through its browser via desktops.

Skype’s Samsung-exclusive update is understandable given Samsung’s dominance in the Smart TV market, but some formidable competition could mean Samsung could lose this exclusivity. In 2013, Vizio held a 24.6 percent market share of Smart TV shipments in the United States, only 5.2 percent lower than Samsung’s leading 29.6 percent market share, according to Strategy Analytics. While Samsung’s share essentially held solid over last year’s 29.5 percent share, Vizio’s share jumped up almost 2 points from 22.8 percent. Vizio currently does not have built-in webcams offering Skype video calling, but did release the VIZIO Internet Apps TV Video Camera in March 2012 with Skype support, which works even while watching TV.

Smart Home

Here’s everything Amazon and its partners announced for Alexa at CES

Amazon Alexa is rocking CES 2019. After selling millions of Echo and Dot smart speakers during the 2018 holiday season, extending its reach everywhere, Amazon has announced a ton of new partnerships with device manufacturers.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

Panasonic shows off first 4K OLED with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ at CES 2019

Panasonic has been mostly absent from the American TV market for some time now, but it hasn't been ignoring TVs altogether. Its latest 4K OLED TV is world's first to support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+.
Home Theater

Samsung debuts its monster 98-inch QLED 8K TV at CES 2019

There's 8K and then there's 8K. The difference? Size. At least, that's what Samsung appears out to prove with its latest announcement from CES 2019: A massive, 98-inch 8K QLED TV. With AirPlay 2, and iTunes movies, it's a real beast.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Music

Tidal faces legal jeopardy over fake stream numbers accusation

In another challenging chapter for music subscription service Tidal, Norwegian authorities have begun a formal investigation into charges that the company faked millions of streams for artists such as Kanye West and Beyoncé.
Home Theater

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the epic sound revolution you didn’t know you needed

After Sony’s utterly bizarre press conference, I almost missed what was perhaps the most impactful sonic experience at the show. Luckily, I went back to Sony’s booth on the last day of the show, only to have my mind blown.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Computing

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 
Home Theater

Not chill: Netflix is hiking prices across all its tiers

Netflix has to get the billions of dollars it's spending on new content from somewhere. The streaming giant announced price hikes across the board, raising its monthly rates between $1 and $2 per tier in the next few months.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.
Home Theater

Sling TV offers free shows, a la carte subscription channels to Roku users

If you are among a select group of Roku users, Sling TV has added free TV shows and the option to subscribe to individual channels without having to subscribe to the company's base level of channels.