Some new smart TVs come with a built-in webcam hidden in the bezel surrounding their HD screens. These cameras have several uses – including gesture controls – but one of coolest is Skype video chats. Using Skype on your TV makes it easier for the whole family to get involved – ideal for parading kids in front of their grandparents in Oz, among other things. If you have an older TV though, you will have to use your laptop or smartphone to join in the chat.
Logitech has created a universal camera add-on that can add Skype functionality to any TV with an HDMI port. The LogitechTV Cam HD comes with the Skype app and has built-in wifi (or Ethernet port if you don’t have wifi at home). You just plug it in, connect it to your home network and you are ready to go. You also get a small remote control to use the Skype user interface and place calls, etc.
The camera shoots at 720p resolution with a Carl Zeiss lens and has four noise-cancelling microphones to pick up speech. One advantage of it being an add-on to your TV set is that it will stay on and ready to receive calls even if the TV is off or set to another channel or image source. When a Skype call comes in, it will ‘ring’ so you can switch the screen on and get talking.
The LogitechTV Cam HD is out this month in the US for around $199. A European version will be released in September, with the retail price here yet to be confirmed.