Comcast, Skype Hope We'll Buy HD Video Phone on TVComcast (CMCSA) has announced that it will soon offer Skype video calls on the TVs of its cable customers. In their joint announcement, the companies said they "have entered into a strategic partnership that will enable Comcast customers to communicate with family and friends through HD video calling on their television. They will soon be able to make and receive Skype video calls from their television, whether their friends and family use Skype on their home TVs, PCs, compatible smartphones or tablets." The firms did not reveal prices for the service.

The product will allow people to import contacts from other sources, among them Facebook and Gmail. To use the service, Comcast customers will need a video camera, an adapter box, and special remote control.

The hurdles to the service are many. The first is that there's no proof that people have any interest in using Skype on their televisions when they can already use it on mobile devices and PCs. The partnership has the same potential problem that producers of video content and apps have: How many places are customers willing to use a given service? On two devices, three, or four?

Another barrier to entry will be the price. Cable companies already collect fees for TV, broadband, and VoIP, and there is no assurance the consumers will be willing to add another service to an already service-rich cable connection. Comcast has elected to avoid the price issue for now, but bundled cable packages can cost well over $100 a month when they include cable, broadband, VoIP, and premium content channels. Will someone who pays $150 for their cable bill be interested in adding another $20 or $30 for a video phone on their TV?

Finally, Comcast customers may not want to add yet another new set of hardware to a home electronics system that may include a plasma TV, five speakers, a PC, a phone (which already may be video-enabled), and a collection of remote controls. THis new offering faces a decades-old question: How many services can customers afford -- or use?

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Bob Krock

What will this do for csco systems

June 15 2011 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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June 14 2011 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 14 2011 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I already have a computer hooked to my 42" TV where I watch FREETELEVISION. All you have to do is add Mic an Camera to use Skype. Why would you ever pay for this service. I don't even have cable or Satellite. If you have HSI and a computer, for heavens sake hook it to your TV and quit paying all these people for stuff you get FREE. I have an Aggregator File I developed to watch all the FREETELEVISION you need. Send me an E-mail, I will send it to you FREE. FREETELEVISION@AOL.COM.

June 14 2011 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GARRY's comment

so how easy is this to do?

June 14 2011 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You are right in how much more can people afford? We already have skype for nothing, so why would I pay another $30-$40/mo. We talk all the time to our daughter and her family in Taiwan and to friends in Egypt. The reception coming from Egypt is not so good, as the screen is fuzzy and we get cut off all the time. All these add ons add up!!

June 14 2011 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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June 14 2011 at 10:36 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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June 14 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply