Skype video-chat cameras have been gradually making their way into TVs as either optional or integrated accessories, and now Logitech is jumping on the TV bandwagon with the new $199.99 Logitech TV Cam HD. As its name suggests, the camera captures high-definition video and operates on any HDTV that's equipped with an HDMI input.
With Skype software and Wi-Fi built into the camera, no computer is required, and you can make HD Skype video calls while sitting on the couch in front of your TV. The camera also has an Ethernet port if you want to use a wired connection.
Once you enter your Skype account information, you can make Skype video or voice calls just as you would with your computer, smartphone, or tablet, navigating the onscreen user interface with the included remote.
Logitech notes that the camera has a wide-angle lens developed in conjunction with German optics specialist Carl Zeiss, and there's a built-in ringer that lets you know when someone is calling, whether your TV is on or off (the camera has a dedicated power supply). And finally, the device's four microphones are designed to help reduce noise and echoes for better audio quality.
While there are only a handful of Skype TV cameras on the market, Logitech does have some competition. Earlier this year, startup Tely Labs' Android-powered TelyHD camera hit the market: this $249 HD camera has built-Skype capabilities along with additional features such as a photo-sharing option that enables you to stream photos to your TV from your iPhone using AirPlay.
Logitech hasn't given a specific ship date for the TV Cam HD, but says it will be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in August and September, respectively. Again, the list price is $199.99, but hopefully in the U.S., at least, the street price will be lower.