Skype goes HD, arrives on TV

5 Jan 2010

High-definition video calling at up to 720p HD quality and up to 30 frames per second will now be possible with the latest version of Skype as announced today from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ahead of the four-day high-tech exhibition.

This latest version of Skype (4.2 Beta) provides HD quality for Windows as long as the user has a HD webcam and high-speed internet access.

“With HD-quality Skype video calls, we can bring our users even closer to the ones they love through an even richer, more meaningful video-calling experience,” said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype.

High definition

You’d better clean the house properly then if you’ve arranged a Skype call with your mother-in-law as it will probably pick up dust motes and dog hair.

But the most exciting news is the new partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype–enabled HDTVs for internet-connected TV sets.

“The popularity of Skype video calling has increased substantially in recent years with an average of 34pc of Skype-to-Skype calls now, including video,” said Silverman.

“For many people who are video calling on Skype, they 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,” he added.

Embedded software

On demonstration at CES the new Skype software will be embedded into Panasonic’s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and LG’s 26 new LCD and plasma HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access, both of which will be on the market mid-2010.

Both manufacturers will sell specially designed HD webcams optimised for Skype TV video calls that will have microphones and optics powerful enough to send and receive calls comfortably from the couch.

By Marie Boran