One of the trends appearing in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is Internet Embedded TV. So far, HDTV leaders like Sony, Philips, Samsung, Panasonic and LG plan to offer Internet capability on selected TV models. Peer-2-Peer (P2P) Internet TV has been one of the alternative marketing means to provide streams of audio, video, and informational channels via broadband Internet connection through TV. Online streaming businesses like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora have been negotiating with TV manufacturers to set arrangements for the creation of P2P channels. One of these is Skype, famous for offering discount telephone calling via Internet.
Internet Embedded TV helps shift programming from Internet sources in direct competition with current Cable, Satellite, and Broadcast methods. This will open an entire new flow of TV entertainment through broadband Internet access.
Unlike a PC, TV is primarily a receiver. Websites need to embed their software as channels into the TV’s circuitry for initialization through broadband access. Skype plans to integrate software akin to their latest version 4.2 for Windows that is capable of permitting a high-definition (HD) experience when making phone calls via Internet. Skype is also joining the rush to put Internet applications on TVs. LG Electronics and Panasonic will both introduce HDTVs at the show that will ship with Skype’s software embedded, allowing customers to make HD calls on a big screen.
The latest version of Skype for Windows can deliver up to 720p HD-quality video calling at 1280 x 720 resolution, at up to 30 frames per second, giving individuals an even smoother and richer video calling experience. To make an HD video call, you will need a high-speed broadband connection, a new HD webcam, a PC with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users.
With Skype embedded into Internet-connected HDTVs, the company is creating a new experience that will allow people to communicate from the comfort of their living rooms. The new HDTVs will deliver familiar Skype features including: Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls; Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype’s low rates; The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number; Skype voicemail, if it is set up; Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties; Support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and an HD webcam.
With Skype on your TV, you’ll be able to talk live to people you know and miss on a widescreen high definition TV. The first generation of Skype-enabled TVs will be available in 2010. Soon you’ll simply gather the whole family on the couch for video calls with loved ones overseas, and give them a regular window into life at home. With free Skype-to-Skype, you can call as often as you like.
Skype software will be embedded into Panasonic’s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and LG’s 26 new LCD and plasma HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access. Both lines are expected to be available in mid-2010. Both LG and Panasonic will offer specially designed HD webcams that are optimized for Skype video calls as separate accessories that can be plugged into the televisions. These webcams support 720p HD and include special microphones and optics that can pick up sound and video from a couch-distance.
Skype recommends uninterrupted high-speed broadband of at least 1 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth to achieve 720p HD-quality video calls on either a PC or television.
Internet-Embedded TV will be an evolving technology opening new, competitive entertainment opportunities among brands over the next few years. At CES 2010, we’re witnessing the foundation. We may see more marketing websites offering streams of content and ways of helping people buy products through use of their remote control. With embedded Skype, home television will undoubtedly replace the telephone.