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Samsung Latest to add Skype to HD Sets

Samsung has become the last brand name HD set maker to add IP-centric audio/video telco to its internal software for a couple of its upcoming models—the LED Series 7000 and 8000.

Typically, Skype software always has been free. Users can call other Skype subscribers for free— or call any other phone numbers for amounts that vary from country to country (i.e., Americans calling within the U.S., or to most Western European nations, usually pay about two cents per minute).

Samsung said it plans to first roll out its first Skype-enabled HD panels in its home market, South Korea, within a few months. It then hopes to expand into other parts of Asia and globally, in the latter half of 201o.

Panasonic and LGE have already announced similar plans to provide Skype services.

Samsung said in a statement that for its customers to take advantage of the free software, they will have to have online connectivity to their HD sets and install webcams (brand named "Freetalk"), which come with integrated mics (and are sold separately). The set maker said the video quality on some calls can achieve "high resolution," although they make no promises about HD quality, per se.

Typically, webcam quality on computer monitors can vary greatly, depending on the computer, IP connectivity, and monitor quality. However, the audio/video IP quality technically possible in South Korea is often superior to Western quality because of less bandwidth restrictions (the country has the highest broadband penetration rate broadband in the world at 95 percent). Samsung said for Skype audio, its HD units will be able to deploy a codec that routinely requires super-wideband bandwidth (a luxury that's not technically feasible yet in all parts of the world).