Panasonic Adds Skype Capabilities To VIERA Blu-ray Players

Skype is just blowing up. It's easily the most popular VoIP service on the market today, and it's trickling out to products that Skype founders probably never assumed it would from the get-go. Just a year after Skype came to HDTVs everywhere, Panasonic is now expanding their service by revealing that Skype will also come to Blu-ray players. The expanded VIERA Cast Blu-ray Disc player lineup includes the ability to make Skype video and voice calls supported by the FREETALK Conference Camera.

Here's how it works: To access Skype through the Blu-ray Disc player, you simply click the devoted Skype button on your remote control. You can also take advantage of other Skype features including: Standby Mode, which allows users to personalize ring tones; Answering Message, which allows users to create a personalized message when away; and SD Voice Mail, which automatically records messages left onto an SD card.

The line's compatibility with Skype allows users to personalize their entertainment experience to fit their lifestyle and enjoy the benefits of Skype from any HDTV. The FREETALK camera - with wide-angle lens and beam-forming microphones - will be available in March at major retailers and online for $99. Hard to say if it's worth $99 to Skype from your TV, particularly when you can already do it on most phones and tablets, but then again -- big screen Skyping does sound fun...