Skype has teamed up with consumer electronics giants LG and Panasonic to embed its technology into new internet-enabled televisions.
Skype, which announced the move at CES in Las Vegas, said both companies will begin selling high-definition TVs which support its web-based calling service mid-year.
The software will be embedded into 26 new LG TVs and certain Panasonic models, and both companies will offer specially-designed HD webcams optimised for Skype video calls, which can be plugged into the televisions. These webcams support include special microphones and optics that pick up sound and video from a couch-distance.
“The popularity of Skype video calling has increased substantially in recent years with an average of 34 per cent of Skype-to-Skype calls now including video,” said Skype CEO Josh Silverman. “For many people who are video calling on Skype, they have expressed a desire to communicate with their friends and family from somewhere comfortable, and preferably on a big screen. Logically, this led to the development of Skype embedded on HDTVs.”
LG and Panasonic are expected to demonstrate their Skype-compatible TVs at CES this week.