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Skype now with HD video calls and on Internet-connected TVs

Posted on 5-Jan-2010 23:31 | Filed under: News

Skype now with HD video calls and on Internet-connected TVs
Skype announced support for Skype video calls on PCs in 720p high definition (HD), as well as Skype software embedded into Internet-connected widescreen televisions from its consumer electronics manufacturer partners.

The latest version of Skype for Windows can deliver up to 720p HD-quality video calling at 1280 x 720 resolution, at up to 30 frames per second, giving individuals an even smoother and richer video calling experience. To make an HD video call, users will need a high-speed broadband connection, a new HD webcam, a PC with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows.

�With HD-quality Skype video calls, we can bring our users even closer to the ones they love through an even richer, more meaningful video calling experience,� said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype. �Imagine being able to see the sparkle of your grandchild�s eyes or the setting of your best friend�s engagement ring. Through the innovation of Skype�s engineers and our hardware partners, these scenarios are now possible without having to buy expensive equipment or software.�

New HD webcams are due to arrive in early 2010 - some like faceVsion and In Store Solutions will offer new HD webcams that are optimized to work with Skype.

In order to make HD video calling available to as many people as possible, the new Skype Certified HD webcams handle the video encoding and processing onboard, removing the need for a high-performance computer to encode the HD video.

faceVsion developed the FV TouchCam N1, an HD encoding webcam optimized for Skype video calling. Two versions of the faceVsion webcam will ship, beginning in February 2010: one with a microphone (US$99) and one without (US$69). In Store Solutions introduced two new HD encoding webcams, the FREETALK HD PRO (US$120) and FREETALK HD PRO PLUS (US$140), which will be available in March 2010. Both the faceVsion and FREETALK webcams will be available for purchase online via the Skype Shop.

Also being announced is the Skype service embedded into Internet-connected HDTVs. The new HDTVs will deliver familiar Skype features including free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls, calls to landline or mobile phones, the option to receive inbound calls via a user�s online Skype number, access to Skype voicemail and more.

Skype announced partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype�enabled HDTVs. Skype software will be embedded into Panasonic�s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and LG�s 26 new LCD and plasma HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access.

Both lines are expected to be available in mid-2010. Both LG and Panasonic will offer specially-designed HD webcams that are optimized for Skype video calls as separate accessories that can be plugged into the televisions. These webcams support 720p HD and include special microphones and optics that can pick up sound and video from a couch-distance.

Skype says high-speed broadband of at least 1 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth is needed to achieve 720p HD-quality video calls on either a PC or television.

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