Panasonic and Skype today announced a collaboration that will enable consumers to make voice and video calls over SkypeTM on Panasonic’s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs planned for launch in spring 2010.

This collaboration takes Skype to another platform, in addition to the computer and the mobile phone, which is the technology heart of the home, the television. Skype on your VIERA delivers many familiar Skype features including:

* Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
* Calls to landline or mobile phone at Skype’s low rates
* The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number
* Skype voicemail, if you have it set up
* Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties

HDTV Panasonic VIERA Skype

To conduct a Skype video call on a VIERA CAST HDTV, a specially-designed high-performance Panasonic camera, which is sold as a separate accessory, is simply plugged into the television. The camera includes a special microphone system that can easily pick up sound from couch-distance. Plus, it will deliver up to 720p high definition video quality depending on the consumer’s internet bandwidth.

HDTV Panasonic VIERA Skype

Panasonic’s VIERA CAST feature has been widely acknowledged for its distinctive internet application, allowing the consumer to view targeted sites on a large HDTV, rather than a small computer screen. VIERA CAST requires no external box or PC. VIERA CAST is accessed via a single button on the television remote control and there is no fee to use the VIERA CAST functionality (some VIERA CAST services such as VOD have a separate fee structure).

Skype joins a growing list of web-based offerings on Panasonic’s VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs including Amazon Video On Demand, YouTubeTM, Picasa Web AlbumsTM, Bloomberg News and weather information.