Panasonic and Skype today announced that Skype Voice & Video calling will be added to new 2011 Viera CAST-enabled Panasonic Blu-Ray players. Skype already had a partnership deal with Panasonic to bring video & voice calling to Panasonic HDTVs via an external HD camera. This deal extends the Skype ecosystem a little further. Apparently, it does support sending & receiving video, so it must sport a USB port for connecting a webcam - 4 ports in fact. With certainly need a pretty long USB cable since Blu-rays are often sitting in home entertainment cabinets to the left or right so you can't mount the camera there. The camera would likely be obstructed by cabinet doors or have a bad angle to where you sit. So you might need a USB extender so you can mount the camera on top of the HDTV. Assuming of course you've got room up there. With the popularity of the Microsoft Kinect, which also sits atop the TV, it's getting mighty crowded up there! Skype looking to extend their ecosystem reminds me of Netflix, with their massive ecosystem & who even recently announced a Netflix button was going to be on remote controls.This new feature will be available on 2011 Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players. The addition of Skype to Panasonic’s new DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210, and DMP-BDT110 VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players allows consumers to make Skype voice and video calls on any HDTV using a Skype-compatible camera (sold separately)
Skype on VIERA CAST features:
- Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
- Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype’s low rates
- The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number
- Voicemail (set-up required)
- Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
- High definition video at up to 1280x720 resolution at a maximum frame rate of 22 fps (conventional Skype use on a PC has a resolution of 640x480).
- The ability for callers to leave Skype video or voice messages when the recipient is not available which are stored in the Blu-ray Player for playback. An indicator light on the front of the Blu-ray DiscTM Player’s display alerts recipients to the waiting message(s).
- VIERA CAST’s easy-to-use GUI that is operable from the Panasonic Blu-ray Disc Player’s remote.
- Wi-Fi capability– the BDT310 and BDT210 come with built in Wi-Fi, while the BDT110 requires a wireless adaptor (sold separately).