Skype has signed deals with LG and Samsung to embed its VoIP software in the vendors' internet TV models, and has added HD video chat functionality in anticipation.
LG will install Skype on its 26-model range of 2010 NetCast Entertainment Access HDTVs while Panasonic will embed the technology on its upcoming Viera CAST-enabled HDTV range.
Both companies will offer specially-designed HD webcams optimized for video chat, supporting 720p HD and including special microphones able to pick up sound from couch-distance.
Skype added that it has collaborated with tech companies faceVsion and In Store Solutions to develop Skype-optimized HD webcams.
“The popularity of Skype video calling has increased substantially in recent years with an average of 34% of Skype-to-Skype calls now including video,” added Silverman.
“Many have expressed a desire to communicate with their friends and family from somewhere comfortable, and preferably on a big screen. Logically, this led to the development of Skype embedded on HDTVs.”
An uninterrupted broadband connection with at least 1 Mbps of symmetrical bandwidth, and a 1.8-GHz processor, is required to conduct 720p video calling. Such requirements may serve to limit takeup in less technologically developed areas.
This year's LG NetCast range includes plasma, LED and LCD TVs. Both LG's and Samsung's lines are expected to be available in mid-2010.