Skype Partners With Comcast For Integrated Big-Screen Chatting

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 15 2011 10:30 AM
Skype on the television isn't a brand new concept; chatting on your HDTV has been possible for some time now, but the partnerships to make it more mainstream than ever seem to be popping up far more rapidly now. Comcast has just announced a new deal that will enable their customers to communicate with family and friends through HD video calling on their television. They will soon be able to make and receive Skype video calls from their television, whether their friends and family use Skype on their home TVs, PCs, compatible smartphones or tablets.

Neil Smit, President, Comcast Cable, talks big game, but he's pretty much dead-on: "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. 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."

Of course, this basically means that Microsoft and Comcast now share a bond, so long as that $8.5b deal goes through. Thanks to this particular deal, users will be able to 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. They'll also be able to make and receive video and audio calls, or send instant messages via Skype on a compatible mobile phone or tablet. Finally, they can 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.

Customer trials for this offering will begin in the coming months, and further product details will be made available later this year. In other words, hang tight for now!
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fefzero replied on Wed, Jun 15 2011 11:13 AM

Notice that these people in the picture are actually looking at each other. How often is someone actually looking at you in a Skype conversation? Eye contact would make Skype so much nicer, but it's tough given that you can't really have a camera inside the screen very easily. I only see that getting worse if you use Skype with your TV.

Skype on the TV is a nice-to-have, but I'd need a lot of other stuff to make it work well (the camera needs to be able to zoom and pan, since I'm about 8-10 feet away, the eye contact thing, and the fact that I really don't want to be interrupted while I'm watching a movie, and I don't care to be changing my Skype status on the TV all the time, the list goes on).

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realneil replied on Wed, Jun 15 2011 11:43 AM

I only turn on Skype for pre-planned conversations with family members. Otherwise it's disabled.

Skype on my TV? Oh Hell No!

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"I actually would sign up my Mom and Dad for this, They don't own computers and the only time we have video conference call or chat is when me or one of my brother or sister is at the house with our laptop. Like I said before, If the interface is easy, than its all worthwhile.


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PFeenstra replied on Wed, Jun 15 2011 3:02 PM

That's a shame, first MS buys Skype then they're pushing it towards TV? Why not fix the PC version first? I mean, it's good but there's been a plethora of issues lately.

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AKwyn replied on Wed, Jun 15 2011 6:20 PM

I don't understand why they had to partner up with Comcast for this. I mean it would make more sense just to release it as a TV application since you need a webcam and not every TV has a built in webcam in it''s frame. I don't know how you're going to hook up the webcam to your Comcast cable box.

Again, while this may be cool, I don't think Comcast is the ideal partner for them or why they couldn't release the web app on their own.


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@Taylor I agree why they would partner with Comcast for this beats the heck out of me. I am sure Comcast will figure out a way to utilize the USB port on most cable boxes to hook the webcam into of course you will have to buy a specially branded webcam I am sure...

@Realneil I know what you mean there I also only turn on my Skype for pre-planned conversations and that is not very often especially since my job switched to using Microsoft Lync for all of our internal video conferencing.

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pwrntspd replied on Wed, Jun 15 2011 11:56 PM

Sneaky MS....branching out huh? Too bad its comcast, you'll be in the middle of a conversation with grandma and comcast will throttle your conversation.

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