Skype and Logitech announce High Quality Video
Free video calls have been a feature on Skype since late 2005 and have helped millions of people keep in touch. It’s become so popular that one in four Skype-to-Skype calls today involves video. Like they say in Hollywood – show, don’t tell.
Things are about to get a whole lot bigger, sharper and smoother. Today, Skype and Logitech announced a collaboration to give Skype users the kind of video quality that used to be the privilege of big businesses.
Enter High Quality Video, due in November. (Although, if you’re adventurous enough to play with beta software, you’re welcome to try it out now.) Explaining what it does is a bit like dancing about architecture, because you really need to see it in action. But the video window on Skype has grown to 640×480 pixels, delivering up to 30 frames per second. This produces a level of clarity, detail and fluid motion that is pretty astounding. It’s been immensely satisfying to watch the reactions of people who’ve seen it for the first time. Them jaws, they tend to drop.
To experience free High Quality Video, this is what both sides of the conversation will need:
- Skype 3.6 for Windows (expected to be available in November)
- a Logitech webcam that has been optimized and certified for High Quality Video (the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000, the Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks or the Logitech QuickCam Sphere AF (Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF in the U.S.)
- Logitech QuickCam software, version 11.5 (expected to be available in November at www.logitech.com/downloads)
- a dual-core PC
- a broadband connection (384 kbps and above).
For more, please see the High Quality Video page on the Skype website.
The three webcams are already available worldwide, in retail as well as the Skype web store. In Europe, the Skype shop has a special offer for the webcams. The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 or the Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks will normally cost €99.99, but if you head for the Skype webstore, you’ll also get a free headset, free shipping, and SkypeOut credit worth up to three hours of calls to landlines and mobiles. In the US, Skype offers a $20 rebate on either of these products ($99.99 before the rebate).