Skype TV: now re­al­ity, head­ing to liv­ing rooms

Austin American-Statesman - - TECH MONDAY - – The New York Times

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

hard drive

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