Comcast and Skype team up on high-definition video calling service
The Sunday phone call with Grandma just got more high tech.
Comcast and Skype have formed a partnership for a high-definition video phone service. Comcast subscribers will be able to make and receive telephone calls through their televisions via Skype. On top of that, the technology enables two people to video chat while watching the same TV program.
The two companies said the partnership will allow Comcast customers to "experience widescreen HD video calling that is immersive and natural."
“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,” Comcast Cable President Neil Smit said in a statement.
Comcast customers will be able to call any Skype user, not just those with Comcast. It will also provide a video kit for consumers or people can use their own video equipment.
Test trials of the service will start this year in anticpation of a 2012 offical launch.
The service does not have to be TV-to-TV: Comcast subscribers will be able to make and receive video calls from computers, smartphones and tablets. Users also will be able to send instant messages to each other and accept incoming calls during a TV show with -- most importantly -- caller ID.
-- Joe Flint