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Setting up Skype Telcon w/ video

Posted on 2011-02-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

I wanted to set up something that would allow me to easily connect to people over Skype in my living room by simply for example: switching on a camera, connecting the TV to the internet and start Skype.

Ok, I know a bit about technology so I know the above sounds silly but am looking for what combination of software / hardware will enable me to do a kind of telcon solution so whenever we are sitting in living room we can simply switch on TV and camera and start a telcon.

This would be a true telcon solution because in this instance we need to rely on Skype where most of our contacts are online.  I feel that if I set something up really easy - my family would make more use of it to connect to family abroad as (for whatever illogical reason) plugging in the webcam, opening the laptop and starting Skype seems to be too much of a hassle at times.  I imagine a wireless microphone in all this that allows us to sit a few metres away on the sofa and chat and see the family on the tv.

Am I asking too much? :-)
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Question by:hennanra3
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Expert Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 34870537
This is doable but you need some special hardware. Samsung makes TVs that directly support skype out of the box, and you connect the TV directly to the internet via an ethernet cable.

See this article on skype-on-your-tv:
http://blogs.skype.com/en/2010/02/samsung.html

You also need a TV compatible skype camera:
http://shop.skype.com/webcams/tvwebcams/iss-talk-7180/

This would be a truly integrated proper solution to skype in your living room - the entire thing would be controllable via your TV remote and is supported directly by Samsung and Skype.
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Frosty555 earned 500 total points
ID: 34870572
A cheaper solution may be to set up a media center computer which is connected to your TV. If you bought a computer with HDMI output, connect it to your TV, and then remote control the computer using a media center keyboard/mouse or remote, e.g.:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/microsoft-mce-keyboard,1098.html

Then your family could sit infront of the TV, switch the input to "Computer", then control the computer using the keyboard. They can launch skype, surf the internet etc.

You can also put in a video capture card, connect your set-top box or aerial to it, and use the Windows Media Center interface and use the computer as your television. Since Windows Media Center has a full guide / TV interface just for this purpose it would work quite well. This is the setup that I have in my living room right now.

Most video capture cards come with a media center remote + IR receiver which can control the computer, e.g:

http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/site/products/data_hvr2200mckit.html

I know this is totally unrelated to actually getting SKYPE working on your TV, but if you setup your media-center-computer to be enjoyable enough to use that your family prefers the computer interface over the regular television, then they are that much closer to being able to quickly close Media Center, and pop open Skype.
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 34996645
So sorry about not responding - I think my account got suspended due to card expiry.    Thanks for the help - sounds very very interesting.  I will explore this option further and post another follow up question where I need clarification.
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Author Closing Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 34996648
Many Thanks - much appreciated!
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