The humble television set seems poised to burst like some feature-laden pinata. Where is our Internet connectivity? Our TV apps? Well, here's one trick the TV will learn soon, and one that makes sense: the ability to make video calls.
The television is a little late to the game here. Video calling has been on the computer for ages — thanks in large part to Skype, of course. Phones have learned to do it with forward-facing cameras. Hell, TVs already kinda have the feature, though you need an Xbox 360 and a Kinect to make it happen.
Later this year, Skype — now owned by Microsoft, thanks to an $8.5 billion deal — will deliver the miracle of video calling to the American living room. Well, American living rooms with televisions that are fed by Comcast (the parent company of NBC, which in turn is the parent of Syfy and DVICE).
Much like the Internet hubs and routers loaned to you by your neighborhood ISP, Comcast subscribers will be able to ask for a video calling kit to get started. When you get a call through your TV, you can choose to answer it full-screen or in a smaller window.
Details are still emerging, but it sounds like the Skype functionality could be free for folks already signed up for Comcast's phone service. The kit probably comes with a charge, though.