Skype on the Comcast XFINITY service is finally a reality for at least people in a couple of cities.
Comcast has been discussing for some time now how it was going to be bringing Skype to its customers, and those of you in Boston and Seattle can start experiencing it as of today. (Atlanta, Augusta, Ga., Chicago, Detroit, Harrisburg, Pa., Indianapolis, Miami and Pittsburgh are expected to be activated by the end of the week.) The new service will run you $9.95 a month, and you’ll need a special kit provided by Comcast that includes a camera, a text-enabled remote control for IMing and an adapter.
While the idea of being able to Skype from the television in your family room is a nifty one, we’re not sure why it takes specialized equipment and an additional fee when certain Samsung television sets are now coming with the service built-in. If this is a must have feature for you, however, $9.95 a month sure beats running out and buying a new TV.
Comcast Brings Family And Friends Closer Together with The Launch of Skype on Xfinity
National Rollout Begins Today in Boston and Seattle – A Total of 10 Markets Launching This Week
New Video Calling Experience Enables Customers to Use Their Big-Screen HD Televisions and Internet Connections to Make and Receive Skype Calls
PHILADELPHIA, PA – May 16, 2012
Comcast today announced that Skype™ on Xfinity®, a new widescreen HD video calling experience, is now available in Boston and Seattle as the company begins its nationwide rollout of the service. Before the end of the week, the service will also be available in the following metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Augusta, Ga., Chicago, Detroit, Harrisburg, Pa., Indianapolis, Miami and Pittsburgh. With Skype on Xfinity, customers are able to make and receive video calls from their TV in HD picture quality, as well as send and receive instant messages via Skype while watching TV at the same time.
“We’re continuing to build innovative communication services like Skype on Xfinity that will allow our customers to interact in new ways with the people they care about the most,” said Tony Werner, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Comcast Cable. “Through our close collaboration with Skype, we focused on delivering a new product that brings family and friends together through a high-quality video calling experience like never before.”
Skype on Xfinity is the latest example in a line of innovations through which Comcast is bringing personalized services to its customers. Through Skype on Xfinity, customers will be able to:
Make and receive Skype-to-Skype video and audio calls or send instant messages via Skype on a TV while watching their favorite TV show at the same time, and accept incoming Skype calls during a TV show with the help of Caller ID.
Import Skype friends into a global address book which can also contain Facebook, Outlook, Gmail and smartphone contacts so you can find which of your friends already use Skype and see when contacts are online and available to talk.
Have the ability to communicate with the hundreds of millions of connected Skype users around the globe.
“Through our collaboration with Comcast, we are delivering a truly compelling HD calling experience to consumers, and demonstrating Skype’s continued leadership in video communications,” said Bob Rosin, Head of Business Development for Skype. “Our partnership brings video calling into the heart of the home – the living room – where it enables people to share life’s experiences in a whole new way.”
Cathy Avgiris, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Communications and Data Services for Comcast Cable, said “TV is rapidly evolving as a social experience, and Skype on Xfinity is bringing friends and family together to share life’s moments through the use of the largest screen in their homes. Skype on Xfinity is simple to set up and easy to use so that you can always feel like you’re there with friends and loved ones, even if physically you’re miles apart.”
To use Skype on Xfinity, customers will need Xfinity Internet service, an HDMI-capable Comcast cable set-top box and a Skype account. To start a Skype session through their TV, customers simply choose an available contact from their address book and select enter. Skype on Xfinity will be delivered to the Comcast customer’s HDTV through an all-in-one kit which includes an adaptor box, a high-quality video camera, and a specially designed remote control that enables customers to instant message with one or more friends on Skype as well as control the volume of their television. For Skype-to-Skype calls or instant messages, the other calling party does not need any special equipment beyond what is needed to use Skype; they simply need to be logged into their Skype account.
Skype on Xfinity is available for $9.95 per month for qualifying Xfinity Triple Play customers. Additional markets will launch through the summer. For more information, visit www.comcast.com/skype.