CES 2010 - Panasonic's Skype-Enabled TVs Make Teleconferencing More Attractive (Video)


Photos via Jaymi Heimbuch

Skype and Panasonic have joined up to put Skype on Panasonic's 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs. The combination of the two technologies makes teleconferencing and video calls even more attractive, which could go a long way in cutting down on travel for both personal and business needs. Check out a demonstration video and see how crisp the video calls can be.

Users can make TV-to-TV or PC-to-TV calls.

The down side is you have to have one of the new TVs to be able to use the technology. The new televisions with Skype capabilities have a built-in USB hub so a webcam can be plugged in. That also means your video call is still only as good as your webcam, and users will have to invest in a quality webcam to have sharper images. And of course Panasonic wants you to buy theirs:

"To conduct a Skype video call on a VIERA CAST HDTV, a specially-designed high-performance Panasonic camera, which is sold as a separate accessory, is simply plugged into the television. The camera includes a special microphone system that can easily pick up sound from couch-distance. Plus, it will deliver up to 720p high definition video quality depending on the consumer's internet bandwidth."

We don't yet know the energy consumption of this television, and the fact that you have to have this TV with its USB hub is a big pain. Still, the ability to have Skype on the television is exciting and brings us just that much closer to better options for teleconferencing rather than traveling to meet with people.

Also, since it's Skype, it's a really cheap way to call people. The pricing plan for Skype doesn't change - it's still free to calls skype-to-skype and ridiculously cheap to call skype-to-phone line. The TV...not so cheap, though we don't have specific pricing yet.

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Tags: Electronics | Gadgets