After introducing the popular video calling service in several of its markets, the cable giant has unveiled it on Xfinity in Houston. But there's a monthly charge.
To utilize the service, cable subscribers must install a high-quality video camera, an adapter box and a specialized remote — all included in a Comcast-provided package. A subscriber is also required to have Xfinity Internet Service, an HDMI cable box and a Skype account. Comcast charges $9.95 per month for the Skype on Xfinity service.
Why pay for something that is essentially free on your home computer? In a press release, the company says customers will be able to:
- Make and receive Skype-to-Skype video and audio calls or send instant messages via Skype on a TV while watching their favorite show at the same time, and accept incoming Skype calls during a TV show with the help of Caller ID.
- Import Skype friends into a global address book which can also contain Facebook, Outlook, Gmail and smartphone contacts so they can find which of their friends already use Skype and see when contacts are online and available to talk.
- Decide whether they want the show in full screen, the call in full screen or a picture-in-a-picture view.