Skype Group Video Arrives!

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Skype Group Video Arrives!

Today, Skype released a beta of their new software which enables group video for up to 5 video participants. This was a key feature missing by Skype that for years Skype fans (including myself) have complained about. Of course, Sightspeed, now part of Logitech has had multi-party video for a long time.

Here's the kicker though from Skype's blog:
Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features you'll see us roll out during 2010. We haven't set prices for these premium features yet, but rest assured that we're still absolutely committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling.
I bolded the relevant portions. So, group video is a "premium" feature and they plan to "set prices for these premium features"? So you'll have to pay for group video? Note how Skype adds they are "committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling." Thus, it seems to me two-way video calls will be free, but indeed multi-party video will not be free.

That could be a mistake. Skype should allow for free multiparty video -- for awhile at least. Let people try it and get used to it. Then maybe charge for it. Or maybe allow for low-quality multi-party group video and a premium charge for HD video. I just don't see consumers paying for group video. Enterprises - sure - but not consumers. If they want traction, they need to keep group video free for awhile.

Download it here.

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1 Comment

I will be curious as to how much bandwidth is used when viewing multiple HD streams. I wonder if the codec will be able to scale up and down during the call to compensate for bandwidth fluctuations.

I agree that it should be free for a while, allow people to get hooked.

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