Skype's voice and video calling technology will be embedded in upcoming high-definition televisions with Internet capabilities.
Skype said Tuesday that its Internet phone service will be included in Panasonic's 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HD TVs and LG's new LCD and plasma HD TVs with NetCast Entertainment Access. The televisions are expected to be available in the middle of the year.
LG and Panasonic will sell webcams that support the 720p high-definition format and are meant for making video calls with the televisions.
Skype, which eBay Inc. sold to an investor group in November, offers free voice and video calls to other Skype users, and charges for calls to cell or landline phones.
Skype also said that consumers who use Skype on their personal computers will soon be able to make 720p high-definition video calls.
Those users must have a high-speed Internet connection, one of several soon-to-be-released webcams, a computer with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows, the company said. Skype did not indicate if and when Mac support would be available.
Skype said upcoming webcams from faceVision and In Store Solutions, which are slated to be released in February and March, respectively, will support the video calls.