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Samsung joins the Skype-TV crowd

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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.

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