For years, Skype has been the go-to application on the Internet for free video teleconferencing around the world. Both businesses and individual computer users have come to appreciate its elegance and simplicity. However, people still wanted more. Consumers grew tired of sitting in front of their computers for hours, and wanted to better utilise the comforts of their own home. The people have spoken, and Skype has listened.
Panasonic has partnered with Skype to offer streaming Internet video & voice calling capabilities from their new lineup of flat-screen televisions featuring their Viera Cast system. Panasonic’s Skype-ready HDTV needs no PC to utilise the Skype software. Owners can speak to their friends, family, and co-workers or make new friends using free Skype-to-Skype calls literally without leaving their sofa.
According to Skype, 34% of all Skype calls include video. The incorporation of Skype on HDTVs is a logical development, as more and more Skype video users have expressed a desire to communicate with their network of friends and family from the comforts of their own home on a large TV screen.
Video calling is easy with any Panasonic HDTV with integrated Skype/ Viera Cast functionality. The tools needed are high-speed internet connection and a separately purchasable Panasonic TY-CC10W HD Communication Camera. The camera can deliver 720P HD video (though picture quality may drop on slower internet connections), and includes a unidirectional microphone that captures voice from a farther distance (think a typical family communicating via Skype from the couch). The Panasonic TY-CC10W HD Camera has a retail price tag of £129.99, but for those interested, the added benefit of free video calling on a larger screen easily justifies the extra cost over standard computer web cameras.
The current crop of Panasonic HD TV models which are Skype-enabled include the VT20, V20, G20, D28 and D25 series. Besides delivering generally outstanding image quality (based on the tests we’ve conducted thus far), these Panasonic Skype-enabled flat-panel HDTVs should appeal to the family crowd who want easier access and contact with their network of loved ones.