CES: Skype to Offer 720p Video Calls

Broadband telco Skype Technologies SA is rolling out its latest innovation: an HD video-calling service that will work on computer monitors or TV screens.

For several years, Skype—which says it currently serves more than 500 million users worldwide—has offered video-calling of the SD (and less) variety via a variety of computer cams from Logitech and other sources. The regular Skype IP software is free — as are links between customers using Skype technology on both ends of a call.

This newest version of Skype is downloadable and will also come pre-installed on some DTV sets from LG and Panasonic starting this summer — and both makers are expected to provide details of their venture at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Jan. 7-10, (Booth: Venetian Tower 227-228).

Skype, based in Luxembourg, said initially, Quanta Computer's FaceVision and In Store Solutions SL will offer HD Web cams to use its service with computers.

Skype's video calls will be featured optimally in 720p (depending on real-time IP streaming quality, local broadband service, quality of PC monitors, and myriad other factors).

Skype estimates about one-third of all calls on its platform now engage video cams. According to research firm TeleGeography, Skype is now the largest provider of non-business international phone calls in the world. EBay sold its 70-percent stake in Skype in late 2009 for about $2 billion to a group led by Silver Lake, a private equity firm.