Last week, Comcast and Skype announced a partnership that will make Skype’s video calling available to Comcast customers. Subscribers will be able to make and receive video calls through their television with other Skype users. This means that you’ll be able to connect for free with other televisions, computers, tablets, or even smartphones. The plan includes the ability to place or receive Skype calls while watching programs on your HDTV.
According to a Skype press release, the service will be made available through a separate adapter box. It will also include a “high-quality” video camera; the release does not make it clear whether or not the images will be in high definition. The system will also come with its own wireless remote that can be used to enter text and to control the television. There was no mention of the cost, but the customer trials are slated to begin in the coming months.
Using Skype on an HDTV is a match made in heaven, in my opinion, and I thought it was a brilliant move when LG, Panasonic, and Samsung all announced support for Skype on certain models of their televisions last year. I think that these companies missed a trick by not marketing this feature heavily to seniors; I think that they would welcome an easy way to visit with distant children and grandchildren without having to deal with a computer and other techn0-geeky components. I hope that Comcast makes a better effort to market to this segment, because it could be a good differentiator for its services. I’ll be watching for more details about this later this year.