updated 08:00 pm EST, Thu January 6, 2011
2011 Panasonic VIERA-Cast Blu-rays get Skype
Panasonic and Skype took the time at CES to announce they have teamed up to add the latter's video calling capabilities to the former's Blu-ray players. No longer relegated just to the company's connected TV sets, the functionality is available on any 2011 VIERA CAST-capable Blu-ray disc player. The biggest advantage of this for consumers is that they no longer need a Panasonic HDTV for this. As before, Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls are free, with landline calling and smartphones being charged at Skype's rates.
The ability to conference with up to 24 others is retained. When users aren't home to receive Skype calls, the caller can leave a message. If a message is waiting ,the Blu-ray player will indicate this with a blinking light. The DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210, and DMP-BDT110 Blu-ray players do require a connected, Skype-compatible camera.
The Skype video calls afforded by the Blu-ray players support up to 720p resolution at 22fps, which is more than PC users get, at VGA (640x480).