Samsung joins the Skype-TV crowd
Two-way telly becomes a reality
Samsung has joined LG and Panasonic in embedding Skype into its high-end TVs, putting video calling firmly into living rooms.
LG and Panasonic announced plans for Skype-enabled TVs in January, but Samsung is a bigger brand; and while the company has only announced two models to feature Skype functionality, it's clearly part of a bigger plan to bring internet connectivity to everything Samsung sells.
The models in question are the LED* 7000 and 8000 to which punters will be able to connect a "Freetalk" Samsung webcam in order to make Skype audio and video calls. Connections to other Skype customers are free, in the usual way, and the software also allows for the use of SkypeOut credits and other Skype services.
Available now in Korea Samsung plans to roll out the sets worldwide in "the first half of 2010", getting the jump on LG and Panasonic's plans for the middle of the year.
We're said before that the TV is a perfectly sensible place for a Skype client - our only concern now is that increasing dominance of Skype in the video-calling business. Given the free calls to other Skype users that might be a good thing for now, but lack of competition is rarely beneficial in the long term. ®
* LED backlight that is, in common with most of the TV industry.
Skype doesn't route other people's calls through your computer (exactly what would be the point?) it can use networked computers as directory discovery servers (supernodes) but unless you are the only computer connected to a major internet feed in your country it ain't going to be you.
In major countries skype uses a set of dedicated login servers to handle the load - it isn't going to be using your TV as they UK's supernode.
ps what else where you using the CPU in your TV for anyway?
Will Samsung really do this?
It would be good to have this, I think, in general if it worked. But Samsung have recently closed off a feature in their firmware which enabled open source apps to be written for and run on their TVs. Not sure therefore how useful or interesting a standalone app with no community support would be. Maybe ok for someone who just wants another appliance I guess.
based on the recent laptop story
and without trying to sound too paranoid. I'm sure an internet connected camera, in the living room, can in no way be used to observe you without your knowledge. Endless fun for the net once someone figures out how to hack the firmwares of these things.