Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Skype Teams With Comcast For HD Video Calling On Your TV

Comcast and Skype today announced that the two companies have entered into a partnership that will allow Comcast customers to utilize Sype's HD video calling on their televisions. The new service would allow any Comcast customer to dial up their friends' Skype accounts and chat with them live while watching a TV show whether their friends and family use Skype on their home TVs, PCs, compatible smartphones or tablets.

In a joint press release the two companies outlined their plans for the new program. Announcing that beginning this month they would be rolling out customer trials. Details are pretty sparse at the moment with further product details expected to be made available later this year.

Here are a few features customers can expect:
  • Make and receive Skype video and audio calls, or send instant messages via Skype on a television while watching their favorite TV show at the same time, and accept incoming calls during a TV show with the help of Caller ID.
  • Make and receive video and audio calls, or send instant messages via Skype on a compatible mobile phone or tablet.
  • Import friends to their address book from their Facebook, Outlook, Gmail and smartphone contact lists, find them on Skype and see when contacts are online and available to talk.

"Our unique relationship with Skype not only will change how our customers interact with their TV, but also will create new and meaningful ways to bring our customers closer to the people they care about," said Neil Smit, President, Comcast Cable. "TV has evolved into a social experience, and Comcast and Skype will be delivering a product that personalizes the TV experience even more, and brings friends and family together through the biggest screen in their homes."

Tony Bates, CEO, Skype, said, "We are pleased to announce this partnership with Comcast. By combining Comcast's broad living room reach with Skype's innovative communications platform and worldwide community of users, we can bring video calling into the heart of the home allowing people to share life's experiences both big and small."

This service will be delivered on the Comcast customer's HDTV through an adaptor box, a high-quality video camera, and a specially designed remote control that enables customers to text on Skype as well as control their television. The other calling party does not need any special equipment beyond what is needed to use Skype.

Comcast customers will also be able to access mobile features through Comcast's Xfinity Mobile app, and continue to enjoy conversations by switching from one compatible device (e.g., smartphone, tablet or television) to another.

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