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Summary:

Skype will soon be available on your TV set, thanks to TVs from LG and Panasonic with an integrated Skype client that will be coming out later this year. The plan to move video conferencing to the big screen makes sense.

Skype on TV screen shot

Skype will soon be available on your TV set, thanks to TVs from LG and Panasonic with an integrated Skype client that will be coming out later this year. While users will still have to purchase a separate video camera designed to work with the service (priced at around $100-$200), doing so will open up a whole new way for users to connect with friends and family from the comfort of their living room.

The plan to move video conferencing to the big screen makes sense, as anyone who’s ever used Skype for teleconferencing knows. While the ability to make free video calls is nice and convenient, speaking into a laptop or desktop web cam isn’t the greatest user experience, a fact that has been borne out in Skype’s own experience research.

As David Dinka, head of Skype’s experience research division, said in a video that accompanies the announcement, “For many people, if they want to make a video call, they want to speak to their friends and family from somewhere comfortable, and preferably on the big screen. Now, as we know, the TV is the center of many people’s homes, so Skype on the TV is the natural next step for us and our users.”

The move isn’t totally unexpected. Skype CEO Josh Silverman told Om last November that he saw “a future where Skype would be embedded in connected game consoles, televisions and video phones.” But the pace with which Skype, and services like it, are making their way onto broadband-connected TVs is pretty impressive.

It also points to the fact that TVs are no longer one-way content distribution devices, but two-way communication portals. We’ve long been saying that video wants to be social, but very few applications have harnessed a full feature set that will enable viewers to interact with each other while also viewing video content. This point was underlined in a NY Times article yesterday about cross-country friends that used Skype to talk about TV episodes while watching them.

Unfortunately, from that standpoint the upcoming Skype TV integration will have some limitations. Apparently the TVs don’t have enough processing power for users to video chat while also watching TV, according to the NY Times. So while Skype could make TV set a little more social, it won’t do anything to improve the actual experience of viewing television programming.

While not enabling “true social TV” (yet), the move by Skype could have severe consequences for the telecom industry, which has already seen voice revenues decline over the last several years. By cutting out the middle man and giving users a richer experience with which to interact with their friends and family, some could do away with landline voice services altogether.

  1. Skype is a grat concept and I think this move will only make it better and bring more money in. I wonder what their next move will be.

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  2. hehe,I don’t know you guys, I only use skype for phone use

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  3. [...] Skype Wants to Make Your TV More Social (newteevee.com) [...]

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  4. [...] the potential instead of only seeing the dangers, these limitations will soon be removed. As Ryan Lawler says on NewTeeVee, TVs are no longer one-way content distribution devices, but two-way communication [...]

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  5. [...] Verizon's blessing is a big deal for Skype, which hundreds of millions of users have on computers, phones, and, soon, televisions. [...]

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  6. [...] Skype Video Conferencing to LED TVs Skype announced earlier this year that it was looking to bring video conferencing into the living room, with deals to embed its software onto HDTVs from LG and Panasonic. Now it’s expanding the [...]

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  7. [...] Skype is now even being integrated into TV sets. On peak hours there are 20 million of us Skyping away. In Q3 2009, Skype users made 27.7 billion minutes of calls (over a third were video calls) and a growing number of those minutes were spent conducting job interviews. [...]

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  8. How about current TVs? I would love to use Skype through my TV, but I do not plan on buying a new one anytime soon…

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  9. [...] For the first 6 months of 2010 Skype reported revenue of $406 million and net income of $13.2 million. During 2009, Skype had sales of $719 million and lost $99 million. Skype’s revenues are only going to accelerate as the company’s deals with folks like Verizon Wireless and television makers such as Samsung and LG start paying off. [...]

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  10. [...] Skype is trying to embed itself in every conceivable connected device. Whether it’s an LG television or an iPhone, the new team wants Skype’s IM, voice and SMS services to be embedded as an API, a [...]

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