The 7000 and 8000 series of LED-backlit Samsung LCD HDTVs are getting a new feature. In addition to their network connectivity, these sets will also offer Skype video call functionality. As I wrote in my CES coverage, I believe that this is likely to sell a lot more TVs in the next two years than 3D support will. Samsung joins LG and Panasonic in making this feature available in their NetTVs. (NetTV is a term coined by friend and colleague Peter Putman, and I think it does a great job of naming TVs that connect to your network.)
Like the LG and Panasonic models, the Samsung televisions will require an optional camera attachment, but you’ll be able to do everything else with the TVs remote. You can set up Skype accounts, log onto existing accounts, and make and receive calls. And as always, calls between Skype users on computers (or televisions) are free.
Skype video calls are catching on. On a monthly basis, the number of minutes used for Skype conversations is measured in the tens of billions. And of all the calls made on Skype, more than one third involve video. That’s a lot of video phoning going on. And once American families discover how easy and fun it is, they’re going to demand it for their living rooms. And LG and Panasonic and Samsung are going to sell a lot of NetTVs.