Skype TV: now reality, heading to living rooms
Skype has left the desktop. The popular video calling service, once the domain of computer-to-computer chatters and smart-phone users, has its sights set on a more ubiquitous platform: the living room TV.
Several new models of Web-connected televisions are now shipped with the Skype software preloaded. Add a TV webcam, and you’re ready to make highdefinition video calls from your sofa.
The Skype service works only on certain TVs that have Internet connectivity and can run third-party apps. For now, that includes Panasonic sets with Viera Cast and the Samsung 7000 and 8000 series with Samsung Apps. Skype says LG will soon include the Skype app on its Netcast sets. But TV-compatible webcams, such as Panasonic’s Communication Camera TY-CC10W, are not included with the sets.
Both models have four built-in microphones that provide enhanced directional sound and can pick up voices up to 12 feet away. kits will charge a phone once before needing their own wall outlet.
The power pack comes with a USB adapter kit that can be rejiggered for several power adapters. Tumi says the pack will charge most MP3 players, PDAs and cell phones. But expect to pay more for these added features; the Mobile Power Pack costs $135.
I wanted to see how much speed I could pick up with a USB 3.0 drive in real-world usage. Iomega sent me two 2.5-inch external drives: a $130 eGo USB 3.0 drive and a $120 eGo Radical Skin USB 2.0 drive. Both have a storage capacity of 500 gigabytes.
To get the maximum speed from the USB 3.0 drive, I installed a $40 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 adapter card (which has two USB 3.0 slots) in my basic Dell Inspiron 570 desktop. Next, I created a 10gigabyte folder stuffed with video and JPEG photo files.
Using the USB 3.0 drive, the 10-gigabyte folder transferred in 6 minutes, 31 seconds (write speed). The USB 2.0 drive took 22 minutes, 14 seconds to copy the same 10-gig folder. In other words, the USB 3.0 drive copied the data about 3.5 times faster than the USB 2.0 drive did. That’s far short of the touted 10X performance gains, but it’s definitely a noticeable improvement.
The USB 3.0 technology will cost you more: about $50 for the drive and PCI adapter card in this example. Is it worth it? Sure, if you often use your drive to copy data.
On the other hand, if you’re seeking snazziness (and you like the Skin Industries look), the Radical Skin style might be worth more than speed.
Panasonic Communication Camera TY-CC10W
Iomega Radical Skin