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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 16, 2012

Comcast Releases New HD-Video Conferencing Feature, Xfinity for Skype

By Monica Gleberman, Contributing Writer

Comcast (News - Alert) Corporation is releasing a new Skype feature called Xfinity in limited release to users in Boston and Seattle with a national rollout to follow. The new feature lets users connect through high-definition videoconferences using their televisions.

Comcast posted the announcement on their blog saying, “Through our close collaboration with Skype (News - Alert), we focused on building a new product that brings family and friends together through a high-quality video calling experience, in vivid HD (720p/30fps), right from their big screen TV,” said Comcast. “It’s an entirely new way that our customers can interact with their TVs and the people that matter the most. As real-time video communication becomes a more integral part of the way people connect, Skype on Xfinity is bringing a simple, affordable, high-quality video calling experience that will allow our customers to communicate with hundreds of millions of Skype users across the globe.”

To be eligible for the Xfinity, subscribers must have Comcast’s Triple Play (News - Alert) Internet and Cable service and be willing to pay an additional $9.95 per month. As a result, members will receive Skype software, an HD video camera, an adaptor box, and a new remote that includes a full QWERTY keyboard for typing Skype IMs.

Comcast said Xfinity does allow for users to connect with non-Comcast subscribers. “Another great feature about the service is that for Skype-to-Skype calls or instant messages, the other calling party does not need any special equipment beyond what is needed to use Skype. With 4G Network connections that offer mobility, it’s possible for Skype users around the globe to use their smartphone, tablet, or PC to connect while on-the-go with a Skype on Xfinity customer.”

Although Comcast has been facing hard times with a decline in video subscribers due to price increases, the company still gained 439,000 high-speed Internet users, topping the projected 382,000 according to a Businessweek report. So, it looks like this new software might be the software Comcast needs to spark some interest and bring back some of its lost revenue.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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