Last month, Xnfinity partnered with Comcast to launch a TV version of Skype in about a dozen cities across the U.S. Now they're bringing it to Houston.
For the modest price of $9.95 a month (on top of the standard monthly rates for Xfinity/Comcast internet/TV), you get a Skype Adapter Box, an HD webcam and a remote control equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard. All that allows you to make and receive unlimited video and audio calls over your HDMI-capable TV. Feel free to call your parents, reconnect with an old friend, or sit in on your Asian granddaughter's birthday party (as shown).
The problem is most people probably won't be willing to pay for this or go through the trouble of setting it up when they already have free Skype on their computers. HDTV makes sense when you're watching Planet Earth or movies with explosions, but who wants to view gigantic, high resolution images of their friend's face?
There's only one group I can think of that would make this weird decision: videophiles. They can't stand the low resolution, lag and frozen frames that mar free video-chat services.
If you count yourself among their ranks or if you're just an average person interested in learning more about the offer, visit www.comcast.com/skype or call 1-800-XFINITY.
Of course, if there are any problems you're in the hands of Comcast customer service. Good luck with that.