If Cisco's ill-fated Umi video conferencing system had been more like this, would it have survived? Logitech is about to find out, one way or the other, once its TV Cam HD -- recently spotted at the FCC -- arrives in the US this month. The $199.99 device hooks up to your TV and contains all the processing power needed to run Skype and transmit wide-angle, 720p footage of your couch over WiFi or Ethernet. Unlike the previous TV Cam, there's no need for a Viera Connect HDTV -- anything with HDMI-in will do. The company is banking on the notion that families will forgo the use of their existing mobile devices and laptops in favour of an always-on dedicated system with incoming call alerts, four noise-cancelling mics and a Carl Zeiss lens that "gets the whole family in the video call, so everyone from grandparents to grandchildren can move around naturally." If you're tempted, the publicity video after the break gives a decent overview of the product in action.
Logitech to Deliver True-to-Life Skype Video Calling in the Living Room
Logitech TV Cam HD Brings Skype Video Calling to Your HDTV
NEWARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Logitech (SIX: LOGN)(NASDAQ: LOGI) and Skype announced the new Logitech® TV Cam HD, a high-definition TV camera with built in Skype™ capability that operates on any HDTV with HDMI® input, making it easier than ever to share everyday moments through HD Skype video calls from the comfort of your own living room.
With Skype built in and using Wi-Fi® or Ethernet connectivity with your HDTV, there is no additional software or computer required, making installation and use quick and easy. Using a simple, bundled remote controller, the Logitech TV Cam HD lets you call anyone using Skype on any platform, whether they are on their smartphone, tablet, HDTV or computer. Simply sign into Skype with your existing Skype Name, or create a new account on your HDTV, and you are a few clicks away from making a Skype video call from the comfort of your couch. You can also use Skype on the Logitech TV Cam HD to call landline or mobile numbers using your account's Skype Credit or calling subscription. Plus, the Logitech TV Cam HD is Skype Certified™, ensuring you will have the best-possible Skype calling experience.
"Amazing connections happen when the video calling experience moves to the TV in the living room: the most popular and comfortable place in the house," said Joerg Tewes, vice president of Logitech's digital home business group. "Because of the size of the TV screen and the quality of the video, the new Logitech TV Cam HD with Skype brings a whole new social element to the living room, helping you feel like your family and friends are right there with you. It's a transformative experience."
"Our mission is to make Skype calling part of consumers' everyday routine by ensuring it is accessible to everyone at any time and from anywhere," said Bob Rosin, head of business development for Skype. "The affordable and simple-to-use Logitech TV Cam HD is a great way for the whole family to share everyday moments through Skype with others near and far – right from their living room."
The Logitech TV Cam HD is easy to set up and works with any HDTV with an available HDMI input. The camera also offers a wide-angle lens developed in conjunction with the German optics specialist Carl Zeiss that gets the whole family in the video call, so everyone from grandparents to grandchildren can move around naturally, compared to a regular computer webcam experience. Thanks to Logitech Fluid CrystalTM Technology and Carl Zeiss® optics, you'll experience crystal clear sound and sharp, rich video images – even in low light.
The Logitech TV Cam HD features a built-in ringer, so you'll know when someone is calling – whether your TV is on or off – and the dedicated power supply helps ensure the camera is ready for a call. The Logitech TV Cam HD provides four microphones to help reduce noise and echoes for enhanced audio quality.
Pricing and Availability
The Logitech TV Cam HD is expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in August and September 2012, respectively, for a suggested retail price of $199.99. For more information please visit www.logitech.com or visit Logitech's blog.
Skype is communications software whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they're apart.
Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg, Skype is a division of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at www.skype.com.
You can get news and updates from Skype on its Blog: http://blogs.skype.com, Twitter: twitter.com/skype or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skype.