UPDATED WITH VIDEO Logitech and Skype announced a partnership that they claim will bring "High Quality Video" over Skype calls, which they define as VGA resolution (640x480) at 30 fps. Back in February, we reported on a way to achieve this resolution with some tweaks to your settings. However, Skype claims that in order to enjoy the smoother video in full-screen mode, you'll need to have one of the Logitech QuickCams that are certified for High Quality Video, plus a dual-core processor.

Logitech released three webcams that are certified for High Quality Video, including the QuickCam Pro 9000, QuickCam Pro for Notebooks and the QuickCam Orbit AF. The trio of webcams pack in a Carl Zeiss lens and "premium" autofocus capabilities, which according to Logitech provides smoother and crisper videos.

Skype and Logitech claim that this quality of video wasn't available to consumers before and could only be seen in the board rooms of big businesses, but Logitech will be offering the QuickCam Pro 9000 and the QuickCam Pro for Notebooks for a relatively reasonable C-note. The QuickCam Orbit AF will set you back $130. [Logitech]

–Video by Nick McGlynn

Press release:

Sharper, Smoother, Better: Skype and Logitech Join Forces, Fulfill Promise of High Quality Video-Calling Experience

High Quality Video Provides VGA Resolution and 30 Frames Per Second for People with Certified Logitech Webcam and Dual Core PC

LUXEMBOURG and FREMONT, Calif. — Oct. 30, 2007 — Skype and Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI), the world's leading manufacturer of webcams, today announced a collaboration to deliver a new standard of video calls over the Internet: High Quality Video. With High Quality Video on Skype™, people worldwide can enjoy free video calls that are sharper and smoother than ever before. The experience is so good, it might be better than being there.

"This is a major leap in the clarity and smoothness of free video calls over the Internet," said Gareth O'Loughlin, Skype's general manager, mobile and hardware devices. "High Quality Video is a tremendous opportunity to delight our more than 246 million users and take their Skype experience to a whole new level. One in four Skype calls already involve video, so we know our users love to show and not just tell. High Quality Video will take Skype conversations to a whole new level of realism. In the past, only big businesses could afford this kind of video quality. It's now time to take it to everyone else."

"High Quality Video takes all the promises of video calling - staying connected with family and friends, traveling the world without a suitcase and increasing collaboration among colleagues spread across a global network - and dramatically enhances the quality of the experience," said Gina Clark, general manager and vice president of Logitech's Internet Communications business unit. "Once people start enjoying High Quality Video at VGA resolution and 30 frames per second - a level of quality that is sharper and smoother than we've ever seen on Skype before - it will quickly become an indispensable way to stay connected."

About High Quality Video

Whether it's a father reading a book to his kids back home while he travels for work, grandchildren giving their grandparents a close-up view of their first lost tooth, or colleagues connecting across continents to discuss a business proposal, High Quality Video offers image-perfect detail and clarity to help people connect better with their friends and families, co-workers and clients - without having to buy and install expensive video-conferencing equipment.

High Quality Video (Skype 3.6 for Windows and Logitech QuickCam® software, version 11.5) brings VGA-quality video calls (640-by-480-pixels) at up to 30 frames per second (fps) to people using a broadband connection (384 kbps connection or higher), a High Quality Video-certified Logitech webcam and a PC with a dual-core processor. Both parties require minimum system requirements to experience High Quality Video. As a result, people can enjoy significantly sharper, smoother video calls in full-screen mode.

A collaborative effort between Logitech and Skype, the High Quality Video experience is created through Skype software, Logitech webcams, and a fully redesigned set of drivers in the QuickCam software, all optimized to work together in a way never achieved before. Logitech's new webcam drivers are specially tuned to recognize callers who have the new Skype software.

Logitech Webcams Certified for High Quality Video

High Quality Video on Skype is available with the following premium Logitech webcams: the Logitech® QuickCam® Pro 9000, the Logitech® QuickCam® Pro for Notebooks and the Logitech® QuickCam® Orbit AF (Logitech® QuickCam® Sphere AF in Europe).

All three High Quality Video-certified webcams offer a Carl Zeiss lens and a premium autofocus system for fast, fluid focusing that helps eliminate the inconvenience of manual focusing. Logitech's autofocus system refocuses images in less than three seconds and helps ensure that images remain crisp even in extreme close-ups (up to 4 inches/10 cm from the camera lens).

For the office and the home, the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 comes with a flexible universal base, which allows it to rest comfortably on nearly any monitor. For the on-the-go professional, the Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks is sold with a protective travel case and an adjustable, spring-tension clip that accommodates even large laptops with panels up to 20 mm thick. The QuickCam Orbit AF webcam can cover 190 horizontal degrees and 100 vertical degrees of a room and offers a unique pan-and-tilt tracking technology.

Pricing and Availability

Skype 3.6 for Windows is expected to be available as a free download at skype.com in November and will support 28 languages. The Logitech QuickCam Software version 11.5 is available now for free download at www.logitech.com/downloads.

The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 and Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks webcams are available now worldwide for a suggested retail price of $99.99 (U.S.). The Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF (QuickCam Sphere AF) is available now worldwide for a suggested retail price of $129.99 (U.S). The webcamsare also available for purchase at www.skype.com/shop.