Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Comcast says it will begin offering Skype box for TV video calls; will Apple add FaceTime to its Apple TV?

It all makes perfect sense, if you think about it: why not use your television to make video calls? As a Comcast customer I can see who is calling me via my TV screen now, and thanks to a new agreement with Skype Comcast plans to bring TV video calling to its cable customers.
Many televisions are now incorporating Skype TV calling into their sets, assuming the buyer adds a webcam to their set (why aren't they built in?), so this is a totally logical move for Comcast.

"We've seen an explosion, already, in the use of Skype in the living room," the AP reported Neil Stevens, general manager of consumer services at Skype as saying.

The next logical move, it would seem to be me, would be for Apple to add FaceTime services to its Apple TV product. Already iPhone 4 and iPad 2 owners can use their devices to conduct video calls. Further, changes in iOS 5 will allow for wireless video streaming from those same devices to your Apple TV connected television. The next move is to allow FaceTime to stream to the Apple TV.

Currently, iPad 2 owners can mirror their display onto a television if connected to an Apple TV via an HDMI cord. But wireless connectivity is the way people want to go, not long cords dangling throughout one's family room.

It should be repeated here, however, that the lure of video calls is more in the "calls" than in the "video" – many people I know simply are not interested in video chatting, but are definitely interested in having their devices capable of making and receiving phone calls (especially since so many people are opting to eliminate their home phones and going completely wireless).