Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Videophone on your HDTV?

Skype has partnered with LG and Panasonic to bring videophones to your TV. The technology will be embedded in upcoming TV's with internet capabilities. Now you'll be able to get the whole family on the couch for your video chats with Grandma or stay in your lay-z-boy and have a conversation without holding a phone.

Skype users will also be able to use the technology without a brand new HDTV. LG and Panasonic will sell webcams that support the 720p high-definition technology intended to be used with televisions, unfortunately you can't just use the same webcam you use on your PC. The webcams will be available in the spring and will sell for about $100.

If you wait until the middle of the year to buy your new HDTV, LG and Panasonic will have the webcam and mic built-in, similar to those that already exist in laptop computers. Nearly 40% of LG's 2010 models will have the NetCast technology and Skype software included.

When you're watching TV and a call comes in, you can choose to accept or decline the call. If you accept the call, you can put the caller on full screen and keep yourself in PIP or use the split screen option. With echo cancellation there's full duplex audio, so you are able to talk over the person you're talking to and still hear each other.

You can also use your current Skype account, or if you don't have one, set one up directly on your TV with your remote control. You'll be able to have your TV automatically log into Skype each time you turn it on or you can log in manually if you choose.

With many new televisions coming out this year, I don't know that the Skype technology would be a #1 feature most buyers are looking for, but if it's included with the TV and more people may use it simply because it's there.

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