This is truly a step forward in telecommunications. Panasonic has teamed up with internet communication sensation Skype to enable consumers to make voice and video calls on Panasonics new line-up of 2010 VIERA CAST HDTVs. Skype on your home HDTV will deliver many familiar features like low rates on calls to landlines or mobile phones, voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties, and option to receive inbound calls via your Skype number.
“Skype has made video calling easy, free and accessible. Today, 34% of all Skype-to-Skype calls include video. In addition, the number one reason why Skype users enjoy video calling is because it makes them feel more connected to friends and family,” said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype. “This is very exciting for us. TVs are a logical and natural platform for video communications. TVs will no longer be just the center of people’s entertainment experience, but have the potential to be the center of people’s communications experience.”
The company says that to conduct a Skype video call on a VIERA CAST HDTV, you will need a specially-designed high-performance Panasonic camera, which is sold as a separate accessory. The camera is embedded with a special microphone system that can easily pick up sound from couch-distance, so you don’t have to loiter around by the TV. Panasonic says the camera will deliver up to 720p high definition video quality, but that’s depending on your internet bandwidth.
Skype is also putting its Internet applications on LG HDTVs. LG Electronics and Panasonic will both introduce HDTVs at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Both of the companies TVs are expected to ship this Spring with Skype’s software embedded.