Comcast's Skype TV calling could be a hit

Comcast is introducing a video conferencing option.

Comcast subscribers will soon have the option to place video calls through their television, thanks to a partnership with VoIP provider Skype announced on Tuesday. Customers will need additional equipment to use the new feature.

The cable company will provide interested subscribers with the necessary adapter box, video camera, and special remote needed to connect to the service. It will also integrate Skype functionality into its Xfinity mobile app and will enable switching from one platform to another.

Like the caller ID functionality supported for traditional phone calls, Skype calls will also appear in a similar manner. The service's instant messaging feature will also work when used with the special remote, which will include an integrated QWERTY keyboard.

Skype and Comcast aim to begin trials for the service in the coming months, although they did not specify how the tests will run. Comcast did say that further details on the offering will be announced later this year, however.

While Comcast's offering still suffers from the downfall of other current on-TV video calling services -- the need for additional hardware -- it does have one thing going for it: the cable provider's wide reach. Comcast had nearly 23 million subscribers at the end of last year, nearly double that of its closest competitor.

Other video calling services simply do not have this reach. Take, for example, Cisco's recently announced product dubbed 'Umi.' That is a completely standalone service, and cost $599 for the set top box alone and an additional $24.99 monthly for service when it was introduced in October.

Umi's failure to generate buzz forced Cisco to cut the price of both the equipment and service for Umi in March, and Cisco may now abandon the idea of consumer video conferencing altogether. As you can see, getting your product out in front of many people -- and for a decent price -- is pretty important.

Depending on how Comcast markets it, the Skype integration could become quite popular. Obviously, making it cheap enough -- or heck, even free -- could go a long way toward enticing consumers to give it a try.

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald and on Facebook.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetskypecomcastInternet-based applications and servicesTelephony/conferencingProductivity Apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ed Oswald

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?