Skype is taking HD IP video to the living room, cutting deals to embed its service into high-definition televisions with Internet capabilities.
Skype will come native on Panasonic’s 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HD TVs and LG Electronics’ new LCD and plasma HD TVs with NetCast Entertainment Access, scheduled to launch mid-year. The two vendors will also release compatible Web cams for two-way video, supporting the 720p high-definition format. The service will allow multiple parties in the window, as well, effectively taking videoconferencing to the consumer masses.
Meanwhile, Web cams from faceVision and In Store Solutions, coming in February, will support Skype-based high-def video calls via PC. High-speed Internet, a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows will be requirements for the service to work.
Skype has steadily been making inroads in video calling; it estimates that about one-third of Skype calls made today already include video.