It seems that there’s a new wave of devices emerging that aim to provide high-quality video calling by way of the family TV.
This is not unfamiliar territory as both Cisco and Google have been in the space for some time. Cisco had their UMI device and associated service. Google had with the video calling capabilities built into Google TV, as exemplified by Logitech’s Revue.
It very clear that none of these prior efforts have made the kind of inroads that had been expected. Umi is no more. Logitech admitted that they took a bath on the Google TV and killed off Revue. Google seems to be continuing the Google TV effort, but it’s unclear where it’s heading.
It happens that I have a Passport in my home office at the moment. It was acquired earlier this year in the process of my failed attempt to entice LifeSize to join a VUC call using their video conference bridge. In my office the Passport is connected to a Sony 26” Bravia HDTV via HDMI. The camera connects to the Passport device via a Firewire cable.
The Passport is a small device. It’s small enough to be portable. I’m told that some people carry it around as they travel, using it over hotel broadband. The camera includes a built-in microphone array. The video quality presented is quite good, especially in light of the rather modest cost of the device.
It appears that SkypeKit is now truly available in the wild. It’s been released for Linux, OSX and Windows. These last two being released just this week. Given a little time we should start seeing Skype-enabled devices and software starting to turn up.
One….in this case me…wonders a lot about where we will see the impact of SkypeKit? Will it be seen as an opportunity by the likes of Gigaset?
As I’ve mentioned previously, more than once, the recent release of SkypeKit seems like an opportunity for a company like Tivo to up their game. Adding video calling capability to Tivo seems like a natural extension of the devices functionality.
If you have a Tivo unit it’s already connected to your TV. It’s most likely already on your network and making use of your broadband to fetch guide info and download movies. I know that we use our TivoHD units to watch Netflix streams and download from Amazon’s Unboxed service. You might already be using it to stream music and view the family photos on your TV.
Yep, video calling on the big screen would certainly be a logical next step.