The device is not a simple webcam. It’s a standalone that sits atop a regular television and connects to the screen through an HDMI cable. Connection to Skype is achieved by way of Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The unit uses the television for its video display, but it doesn’t require a television to be on in order to operate – it has its own ringer and is able to receive calls when the television is off.
One challenge, however, is bringing a webcam-esque device into the living room and the sound it will create.
People tend to sit a lot further from their televisions, than their computers. This makes the microphone situation quite a bit more complicated. Logitech has countered this by using four separate microphones and incorporating noise and echo canceling technology.
The most obvious benefit is using Skype on the biggest screen in the house. But Joerg Tewes, vice president of Logitech’s digital home business group, describes some rather compelling selling points that may not be immediately obvious:
Amazing connections happen when the video calling experience moves to the TV in the living room: the most popular and comfortable place in the house. Because of the size of the TV screen and the quality of the video, the new Logitech TV Cam HD with Skype brings a whole new social element to the living room, helping you feel like your family and friends are right there with you. It’s a transformative experience.
Marketing embellishment aside, he makes a good point. Face-to-face communications might very well have a place in the living room, but not everyone is going to warm to having their favorite TV programs interrupted by phone calls.
The price tag may also dissuade a lot of people from parting with their hard-earned money. The Logitech TV Cam HD is expected to cost $199.99 and will be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning August and September, respectively.
Despite the price tag and potential interruptions to living room conversations, the Logitech TV Cam HD has enough going for it that it is likely to find a good number of fans.