Skype Brings 720p to HDTVs and PCs

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Tom Keating
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Skype Brings 720p to HDTVs and PCs

Skype today introduced a high-definition (HD) video calling service that will work on computers and televisions. The newest version Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows, supports 720p video calling in a 1280x720 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second. The latest version of Skype will come pre-installed on some LG Electronics Inc. and Panasonic Corp. television sets by June, according to Skype. Panasonic will support the technology via its VIERA Cast televisions and LG will support it with its NetCast Entertainment Access and both will offer HD webcams as accessories.

The new HDTVs will deliver familiar Skype features including:
  • 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
  • Skype voicemail, if it is set up
  • Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
  • Support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam
I have a relatively new (late 2009) Panasonic 54" TV with VIERA Cast, so it'll be interesting to see if my TV will be on the list to support it. Personally, I find VIERA Cast to be a bit slow in processing horsepower. Or at least it seems that way to me. For example, the Youtube streaming is fast enough, with the video quality you'd expect, but navigation of the VIERA Cast menus seems a bit slow. I'm a bit skeptical my TV can run full-fledged Skype very well, since I don't think the processor they put in TVs is very fast and Skype is notoriously processor-heavy. Maybe audio VoIP might be OK, but videoconferencing on these Skype-embedded TVs? I'm sure Panasonic and LG have done some lab testing already and have it working, but perhaps they are putting beefier processors into their next model series? The press release does say it will work on Panasonic's 2010 series.

Great, so now I'll have to upgrade my 2009 flat-screen TV again just so it says "Skype Ready"?

More here and here

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