The new Skype 4.2 beta can achieve better quality video than ever before: 1280 x 720 resolution at 30fps. They've also got a line of HD webcams (hardware from faceVision and In Store) that pack video encoding and processing onboard, so as not to confound your grandma's crappy old computer. There are two versions from each manufacturer: FaceVision has one with and one without a microphone ($100 and $70, respectively) and In Store has the Freetalk Pro at $120 and the presumably ever pro-er Freetalk Pro Plus at $140.
Now for those HDTVs. LG and Panasonic are the hardware partners here, and they've integrated both a webcam and Skype software into their HDTVs. They'll have just about every Skype feature the computer software has—voicemail, landline and mobile calls, free Skype-to-Skype, all that—as well as a 720p webcam and microphones specifically designed to pick up sound at couch distance. Want to say hello to your kid, niece, nephew, grandkid, whatever, but he or she won't sit still in front of a computer? Let 'em run around in front of the TV! We'll get more info from Skype on specific pricing and availability for these TVs this week.
Makes me wonder how this will work. Will every HDTV be running Skype on top of Windows or are Skype finally making a push for Linux? The last one would be the wiser choice.