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Skype on the TV: how people use it

Would you use your TV to make Skype video calls – and would it change you?

With TVs and Blu-ray players from Panasonic and Samsung already featuring built-in Skype cameras, and more Skype TV devices to come plus Skype on the Xbox360 with Kinect, it’s a real possibility.

Skype decided to find out how it would change the way people interacted with the TV when it became a two-way connection to their friends and family worldwide.

Theo Short, Skype UK’s strategic partner manager, presents footage from research conducted with several families who were given different kit to make Skype calls on their TVs.

Speaking at IPTV World Forum 2012, Short says the first revelation was that the families found it very simple to set up and make calls.

Soon the TV became a more social device, bringing families together during peak viewing hours. Families with digital video recorders like Sky+ started watching TV at other times so they could make Skype calls during the evening.

Some TV shows became communal as the families kept watching while they called someone else and both sides were able to enjoy it together.

The wide-angle lenses and long-range microphones on TVs with Skype also made it possible for people to get up and move around, compared to the restricted angles and range possible on a computer.

Skype calls also became a casual ‘drop-in’ experience, instead of planned calls, and shook up which family members had control of the TV remote.

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