Both LG Electronics Inc. and Panasonic Corp. have just announced plans to release new models of television monitors that come with Skype pre-installed. The Panasonic VIERA cast TVs and the LG Netcast Entertainment Access product line both come with HD webcam accessories and are both scheduled to launch in June. These monitors will work in conjunction with the newest release of Skype, (version 4.2 beta) for Windows, which offers a HD video calling service.
The combination of a web, camera and video enabled TV and the new Skype is compelling. The new HDTVs' offer all of Skype's old features, including free Skype-to-Skype calls, calls to landlines and mobile phones, conference calls for up to 24 people, as well as support for up to 720p HD video calls.
But some bloggers, such as Tom Keating at the VoIP and Gadgets Blog, have expressed concerns that TV processors will be too slow to handle such a full range of Skype functions. The new HD version requires a minimum 1.8GHz dual core processer to operate.
Others, however, hail the new Skype televisions as the next step in communications evolution, and predict a future where every television set will come equipped with web service, VoIP, and video conferencing. Regardless of what the new version means for the future of communications, it’s great to see Skype-related innovation coming now that the company has been reinvigorated by divesting from eBay.
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