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I have family spread across the country
and as far away as Senegal, and have used Skype’s free video chat to stay in touch for years. The process was always
the same — my husband and I would pull two chairs in front of a computer and a child would clamber onto each lap.
When my third child was born in 2008, there
just wasn’t room for all of us in front of the webcam anymore. We’d outgrown it, but there were no alternatives.
Finally, in 2010, we were back in business,
but with a different routine.
of the newest TVs that connect to the Internet could now support the Skype video chat app, and the five of us would find
a comfortable spot on the sofa in front of the gorgeous 54-inch Panasonic Viera VT25 I was testing. Its wide-angle webcam
easily captured the five of us in all of our HD glory.
Apps come preloaded on the TV and are provided by the manufacturer through their Internet app service. For instance,
Panasonic has Viera Cast, Sony has Bravia Internet Widgets. Companies will add and update apps from time to time.
Here’s how it works. I launch the Skype
app on my TV and input my user name and password using the remote. My Skype address book is stored online, so I simply select
my parents’ names and their laptop running Skype starts ringing.
Skype video chat
works between any two devices that are using the Skype video chat app. Today that means TVs with Internet connections, the
iPhone, iPod Touch, PCs and Macs.
The quality of the video is dependent on the speed of both of our Internet connections. I have a Verizon service,
FiOS, which sends and receives data at high speed. My parents have DSL, which is fast going into their home, but slow going
out. So we see them in standard definition and they see us in HD. Even my calls from my iPod Touch look great because I’m
using our home’s Wi-Fi network, which hooks up to FiOS.
I can receive calls whenever the TV is on, but I try to schedule my calls
so I can make sure my family and our living room are ready for visitors. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Get Skype on
you can get Skype on your TV – and you can find out more in the below..................
We’re bringing Skype into the living
room, so that you can share family moments – celebrating a birthday, organising a holiday or just having a chat with
friends on a Sunday evening – all on the big screen.
How will it work?
Thanks to our TV manufacturing partner Panasonic, we’ve been
able to embed Skype in the latest generation of internet-connected widescreen HDTVs.
They’ve been tested in our labs in Tallinn, Estonia by our
team of engineers to make sure that everything works well together, and once you’ve bought yours, all you’ll need
to do is get hold of a TV-ready webcam – developed specially to work with your TV and with Skype.
These webcams include specially-designed
microphones which let you make calls from the comfort of your sofa, without having to move closer to the TV or shout*. And
the TVs from Panasonic will even allow you to make HD video calls.
We also recommend that you have a 1Mbs symmetric broadband connection
for the best possible video experience.
Why Skype-enabled TVs?
We’ve had numerous in-depth conversations with people all around the
world about their communication needs – our team of user experience researchers, lead by David Dinka (who features in
the video above), identified a desire among people to communicate away from their computers.
Many people we spoke to emphasised to us
they want to speak to their friends and family from somewhere comfortable, and preferably make video calls on a big screen.
Logically then, we needed to make Skype available on their TV.
When can I get one?
Skype-enabled TVs will be available in spring this year. For now,
follow @skypeonyourtv on Twitter for updates, and as they say
on TV – stay tuned
(* You’ll need a webcam even if you just want to make voice calls (e.g. to landlines and mobiles) because they contain the extra-special microphones.....)