I’ve become increasingly enamored of video chatting. It is handy, convenient and it works well; it also saves gas and time. For example, I do most of my High Holy Day sermon writing with my friend Lawrence. We bounce ideas around, rip initial drafts apart, and share illustrations. In prior years we would get together two or three times and have marathon writing sessions together. This year we didn’t get together once; instead we used FaceTime and Skype. We didn’t need to travel, and we were able to “meet” far more times than we could have in the past. Similarly, while Mike and I could simply do audio podcasts, we find that it is much more fun — not to mention lively — when we do the chat on video.
And there are so many opportunities for video chatting these days. You can video chat using your computer. You can video chat using your phone. And you can video chat using most tablets. And with the introduction of HD cameras on Macs, iPhone and iPads the quality of the video is better than ever.
Nothing, however, can come close to the experience of video chatting while using a 46″ Sony Bravia HDTV and a Sony Camera and microphone for Skype.
Setting Skype up on the loaner 46″ Bravia was a breeze. The television has multiple HDMI AND USB ports. It also comes with a host of applications built-in. Skype is one of them. I simply jumped over to the Skype application on the TV, plugged in the Camera, logged into my account and… I was good to go.
I emailed Mike to Skype me and, within seconds, we were chatting face to face. And here’s the thing, while video chat on my MacBook Pro is great, the experience of having Mike on the chat bigger than life made the experience even better. It truly was as close to having him in the room as possible without … having him in the room. Even better, I didn’t need to be right in front of the TV for him to hear me. That’s all thanks to the four uni-directional microphones that are built into the device. The call quality was excellent and the video quality was quite good as well.
Specs and Features:
- Frame Rate: 22 fps at HD, 30 fps at VGA
- Microphone: 4 unidirectional microphones
- Crisp, clear picture quality for video calls
- Easy plug and play via USB
- Simple to use and easy to connect to your TV via USB
- Output Format: Max. 1280 × 720 (HD)
- Place free standing or easily attach to the TV
- Skype™ certified for free calls over the Internet
- Designed to work with Skype™ enabled BRAVIA® TVs so you can make free voice and video calls over the Internet
All this video chat goodness doesn’t come cheap, though. The Sony BRAVIA 46″ 1080p Smart 3D HDTV has an MSRP of over $2000. The Camera and microphone add an additional $150. But the picture on the TV is great and the built-in apps, which include Hulu, Netflix and, of course, Skype add a tremendous amount of value. And what price can you really put on staying connected to friends and family in the new year anyway? Learn more and order yours here on the SonyStyle website.
What I Like: Simple setup; Simple operation; Great video and audio quality;
What Needs Improvement: Entry price for the combination of the 46″ HDTV and Camera and Microphone for Skype is rather high
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample