A new era in personal communication has dawned - Skype is bringing free HD video calling to TVs, including models from Panasonic and LG.
Skype is an internet-based system which offers free audio calling to subscribers, and also supports 720p HD video calls. Now it's been announced at the CES show that manufacturers including Panasonic and LG will be embedding Skype functionality in some 2010 model HD TVs.
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. To make an HD video call, users will need a high-speed broadband connection, an HD webcam (available from early this year), a PC with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows.Panasonic as well as LG is to feature Skype in HDTVs
The Skype-enabled 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, optional Skype voicemail, voice conference calling with up to 24 other parties, and support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam. Skype offers video chat and audio conferencing
At CES, Skype announced partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype-enabled HDTVs. 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 'couch distance'. Skype recommends uninterrupted high-speed broadband of at least 800 Kbps symmetrical bandwidth to achieve 720p HD-quality video calls on either a PC or television.Skype's Josh Silverman - 'Logical development'
'The popularity of Skype video calling has increased substantially in recent years with an average of 34% of Skype-to-Skype calls now including video,” said Skype CEO Josh Silverman. “Many people who are video calling on Skype 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.”

There's more information about Skype-enabled televisions at Skype on your TV.

Skype brings free HD video calling and audio conferencing to Panasonic and LG TVs | Home Cinema Choice