Logitech has launched a new high-definition camera intended to sit on top of your big-screen television rather than your computer display. The TV Cam HD is the company's first self-contained webcam and Skype client, allowing wide-angle, 720p Skype video calls on your HDTV over Wi-Fi or Ethernet, without the need for a computer or a companion device like their failed Revue Google TV box.
The webcam features a Carl Zeiss wide-angle lens, letting it capture multiple people on the picture, and four microphones to reduce external noise. Besides Wi-Fi and Ethernet, there's an HDMI-out port to hook up your TV (or anything with HDMI-in) and a power jack for the supplied power adapter.
The TV Cam HD runs a customized version of Skype and comes with a remote for controlling the software, zooming images in and out, and using the digital pan and tilt functions. The built-in ringer lets you know when someone's calling, whether your TV is on or off, and if nobody answers there's voicemail.
The TV Cam HD will become available this month in the U.S. for $200 and the next in Europe.
This isn't the first time Logitech attempts to bring video chat to HDTVs. The ~$60 Logitech TV Cam is aimed at the same market but requires a Skype-compatible HDTV or a companion device like the Logitech Revue Google TV that supports the camera. Several HDTVs from Panasonic, LG, Samsung, and other manufacturers have Skype support built-in but require a separate webcam accessory.