We have all at least seen Skype. Oprah uses it to talk with guests from around the world! In case you aren’t familiar with Skype, it’s a free service which allows you to video chat with other Skype users or lets you pay a small fee to call land line and mobile phones worldwide. As of last count, the service had more 527 million users, that’s more than Facebook’s impressive 350 million users.
This week at the Consumer Electronic’s Show, which starts Wednesday in Las Vegas, Skype is expected to show off Skype for your HDTV. Right now the service only works on computers, and several smart phones. So moving it to you television would be a new experience. Skype’s blog says:
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.
Best of all, the service will remain free. Skype’s television partners, which include LG and Panasonic, will begin to offer built in camera in their televisions later on this year. However, if you just got a new television for Christmas you won’t need to go exchanging your HDTV anytime soon, because Skype will sell web cameras which connect to televisions.
“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,” Skype’s blog explains. “And the TVs from Panasonic and LG will even allow you to make HD video calls.”
This will be a great new addition for business conference calls, calling a family member during the holidays, or even just to catch up over the weekend.