Comcast to sell Skype box for video calls

Jun 14, 2011 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Comcast subscribers: In the future, believing that the TV is talking to you might not be a sign of insanity. You may be getting a Skype video call.

Comcast Corp., the country's largest , is set to announce Tuesday that it plans to bring calls to TV sets later this year.

Subscribers will then be able to rent a kit from Comcast that includes a webcam and an adapter that plugs into the TV. A new cable box remote will include a keyboard on the back, for typing chat messages.

Philadelphia-based Comcast hasn't yet figured out what to charge for the kit, according to Catherine Avgiris, general manager of communications and data services.

Financial terms of the partnership between Comcast and Skype were not disclosed. Comcast wouldn't say whether Skype would get some of what Comcast charges for the kit.

Subscribers will get notifications of on their TVs and will be able to answer calls with full-screen video or in a window while watching TV.

Comcast plans to start trials of the system in the next few months. It has 17.4 million .

Many high-end TVs already come with the ability to conduct Skype calls. Buyers usually have to add a Webcam for $150, but neither the TV maker nor Skype charge a monthly fee.

"We've seen an explosion, already, in the use of Skype in the living room," said Neil Stevens, general manager of consumer services at Skype.

Inc. launched a home device and service last year, but quickly had to cut the $599 price and $24.95 monthly fee, apparently because of weak demand. It later scaled back its marketing plans too, as part of a companywide shift away from consumer devices.

Comcast's Skype adapter won't work with Skype services that let users call phone numbers, or receive calls to a phone number. Instead, Comcast plans to bundle a limited version of Skype's offerings with its own phone service, for which it charges $20 per month and up, to the adapter, so subscribers can place and receive phone calls through the TV set. That's a feature it plans to add later, according to Comcast spokesman Peter Dobrow.

Skype, which is based in Luxembourg, has agreed to be bought by Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software maker, for $8.5 billion in a deal expected to close by the end of the year.

Explore further: Gift Guide: Strong photo, video gear options

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Skype to unveil group video chat function

May 05, 2010

(AP) -- Internet calling service Skype plans a public "beta" test of a group video chat function that lets up to five people participate in a video call simultaneously.

Motorola and Skype announce certified Bluetooth headset

Nov 22, 2005

Motorola, Inc. and Skype today announced the first Skype-certified Bluetooth headset solution in America, the Motorola Wireless Internet Calling Kit. The Motorola Wireless Internet Calling Kit enables Skype ...

Skype comes to iPhones on Tuesday

Mar 30, 2009

Skype has confirmed that a free software application enabling iPhone owners to use its Internet telephone service will be available in Apple's online App Store beginning Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Ear-check via phone can ease path to diagnosis

Dec 18, 2014

Ear infections are common in babies and young children. That it is a frequent reason for young children's visit to doctors comes as no consolation for the parents of babies tugging at their ears and crying ...

Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

Dec 18, 2014

Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what?

BlackBerry launches Classic in last-ditch effort

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones—and most smartphone customers—have embraced touch screens.

Tag Heuer changes tune, now looking at smartwatches

Dec 16, 2014

Barely a few months after dismissing Apple's smartwatch, the new chief executive of luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer conceded Tuesday that such a hi-tech gadget might after all have a place in his firm's ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.