Skype has reached an agreement with U.S. cable TV provider, Comcast to enable users to make phone calls via their TV sets.
In effect, users will now be able to use Skype software to make video calls using a set-top box and a special remote control. The remote control will also have a keyboard, allowing users to chat. It will not matter whether the other party is using a phone, a computer or a TV to make the call.
Skype-enabled TV sets have already been available in the market since about a year. However, this is the first time a cable network operator will offer such a facility.
The trial of this new scheme is expected to start in a few months’ time. Details regarding the cost of the software involved are not yet available. However, it is reasonable to assume, that it would cost less than a Skype-enabled TV.
Once the service is functional, when users receives a call, they will be able to view the caller ID and decide whether they want to talk with the caller, have a video conference or just chat. The service will allow users to make low cost Internet video calls while watching programmes on television.
This deal has come following the recent purchase of Skype by Microsoft for a record $8.5 billion. It will also renew user interest in cable TV connections, possibly reversing the trend among users to switch away from traditional cable to other options such as Netflix, Hulu and other Web-based services.