I remember the olden days when the only thing a Blu-Ray player could do was play a movie. Okay, I lie. There was no such time like that. Blu-ray players have been bundled with extras since day one; except the extras are not always extremely useful. Today, Panasonic announced that they are adding a feature to their upcoming Blu-ray players, which could be a game-changer: Skype Voice and Video Calling.
Panasonic and Skype have paired up to deliver voice and video calling on any 2011 Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Player. Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls are completely free. Calls to landline or mobile rates use Skype’s low rates. Other options include receiving inbound calls, voicemail, and conference calls with up to 24 other parties.
Traditionally, video calling is mainly used on laptops and computers. Due to screen size and seating, the number of participants on each end is limited. Bringing Skype to the living room, and on a nice big screen, can make full-family video calls easy, fun, and memorable. With everybody sitting back on the couch, there’s no need to cram people into the shot or take turns video chatting one-by-one.
In addition the the VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Player all you need is any HDTV and a skype-compatible web camera (which is most any web cam). There’s no computer required. All you need is an Internet connection. Some of these Panasonic Blu-Ray players will come with built-in WiFi, the others will require a wired connection or wireless adapter. Although Skype-compatible cameras cost under $10, we are pretty sure a good HD web cam will be necessary to clearly define the entire family all the way back there on that couch.
VIERA CAST also offers other great features like Netflix and Amazon VOD. We are excited to see Skype Video Calling from a Panasonic Blu-Ray player in action. There is no word on release dates aside from the fact they will be hitting all 2011 VIERA CASE-enabled Blu-ray players.
From Panasonic’s Press-Release:
In addition to providing a larger screen for video calling, Skype™ on VIERA CAST™ gives the user a range of benefits including:
- High definition video at up to 1280×720 resolution at a maximum frame rate of 22 fps (conventional Skype use on a PC has a resolution of 640×480).
- The ability for callers to leave Skype video or voice messages when the recipient is not available which are stored in the Blu-ray Player for playback. An indicator light on the front of the Blu-ray Disc™ Player’s display alerts recipients to the waiting message(s).
- VIERA CAST’s easy-to-use GUI that is operable from the Panasonic Blu-ray Disc Player’s remote.
- Wi-Fi capability– the BDT310 and BDT210 come with built in Wi-Fi, while the BDT110 requires a wireless adaptor (sold separately).