Skype, Comcast to Bring Unified Communications to the Home
Comcast customers will be able to make and receive widescreen HD video calls via a partnership with VoIP provider Skype. The companies said customer trials for the offering would begin in the coming months, and further product details will be made available later this year.
In addition to being able to make and receive Skype video and audio calls, the service will enable Comcast customers to send instant messages via Skype on a television while watching a TV show at the same time. Likewise, they'll be able to accept incoming calls during a TV show with the help of Caller ID, as well as make and receive video and audio calls, or send instant messages via Skype on a compatible mobile phone or tablet.
Users will also be able to 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. The service will be delivered on the Comcast customer's HDTV through an adaptor box, a high-quality video camera, and a specially designed remote control that enables customers to text on Skype as well as control their television. The other calling party does not need any special equipment beyond what is needed to use Skype, according to the companies.
In addition, customers will be able to access mobile features through Comcast's Xfinity Mobile app, and have conversations by switching from one compatible device (such as a smartphone, tablet or television) to another.
In May 2011, Microsoft and Skype announced that they have entered into an agreement in which Microsoft will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake. Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and an array of Windows devices, while Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities.
For more, read the eWeek article Skype, Comcast Partner to Bring HD Video Calling to TV.