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This $200 Camera Turns Your TV Into a Skype Center

Illustration for article titled This $200 Camera Turns Your TV Into a Skype Center

Using Skype on your TV is kinda neat: it opens the conversation right up and makes group chats more fun. Now Skype and Logitech have announced a new TV-mounted camera that lets you do that conveniently—for a price.

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The TV Cam HD is compatible with any HDMI-equipped TV, and can use either Wi-Fi or ethernet to hook up to the internet. The device is pre-loaded with Skype—running on what we're not quite sure—so you can just use it to log in to your existing account and make video calls, or proper phone calls using credit.

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The thing rings when your TV is on or off—which is either a curse or a blessing, depending on your view—and has a zoom feature which may be useful if you're sat on the sofa by yourself. It also claims to work well in low-light conditions, but some real-life experience is probably needed before that claim is believed.

If you feel like you've seen something like this before, then that's because you probably have. The TelyHD offers a very similar concept, but retails at $250.

By comparison, the Logitech TV Cam HD is set to cost $200. But while that is $50 cheaper, it's still astronomical for what amounts to a webcam with some processing power and pre-installed software. What you're paying for, of course, is convenience—it's just up to you to decide whether it's worth it. [Logitech]

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DISCUSSION

beyondthetech
BeyondtheTech

First thing I thought was "uh oh" for Tely HD. It's pretty much the same, but even further out of the price range at $249 MSRP. Logitech has the brand name and a better price, but I agree these need to be closer to $149 MSRP before it's a go for most people.

Also, these things need to have an HDMI passthrough. If it's ringing, you have to turn the TV on (if it's off), then change to the correct video input. If I'm watching a movie, I'd like a pop-up overlay that can be brought full-screen or swapped to the current HDMI input I'm watching.

Of course, I'm just hoping Apple will release an iSight attachment for the Apple TV.

UPDATE: Ooh, I just saw Tely Labs has an eSuite feature that ups one from this new competitor. It can send pictures from iOS via AirPlay, as well as control the unit via iOS or Android, and even browse the web... Still both are pricey, but I do like this feature. http://www.tely.com/esuite