While phones are quickly becoming the main point of connection for everything from Web surfing to shopping, TV (the other primary medium with which we spend most of our time) is also getting a facelift…a really slow, painful one. Google TV has been struggling to bring TV out of the dark ages and onto the Web, but like a stubborn red-headed stepchild, TV has been obstinate, whiny, and difficult. So how about starting with something a little easier? Like video calls?
On Tuesday, Comcast and Skype will be announcing a new partnership to bring video calling to your living room TV set. Now users will be able to make and receive calls directly from their TV sets, which will also alert them when they’re getting a call, using an adapter box and webcam mounted on the TV, which Comcast will provide at no additional cost. Additionally, the kit comes with a keyboard so that users can type messages via instant messaging if they so desire.
And for the hard-core TV-watchers who don’t tolerate distractions while they’re catching up on the latest goings-on of the Bachelorette (Bentley left the house and Ashley is devastated), there’s also the option of holding a video call in a smaller window while you watch TV…which sounds ridiculous. There’s nothing more irritating than trying to talk to someone whose watching TV and only pretending to listen, especially when that person is your husband/boyfriend and what he’s watching on TV is a Girls Gone Wild commercial.
With 17.4 million subscribers, Comcast plans to start testing out the new service in the next few months.
Interestingly, there’s been no word on how the deal will be affected by Skype’s acquisition by Microsoft, which is still in progress. Microsoft announced last month that it had agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.