Skype Launches ‘High Quality’ Video Calls

But only if you use Logitech products...

Following its Skypephone launch with 3 earlier this week you’d think the VoIP giant would be content, but think again…

This time around the company is about to unleash ‘High Quality’ VGA 30fps video upon its user base when Skype 3.6 launches in a few days time.

Interestingly (and though perhaps disappointingly) the breakthrough comes only via an exclusive deal with Logitech, a company which has spent time (and (s)licensing(/s) money?) working with Skype to produce drivers which will power its elite range of webcams: the QuickCam Pro 900, Quickcam Pro for Notebooks and Sphere AF.

To be fair, the results are remarkably impressive – from the pair’s demonstration at a press junket in Soho yesterday video was smooth and vivid enough to be blown up onto a huge screen at the old Rex Cinema. This was unlike anything I had seen from video conferencing before.

Against this however is my inherent cynicism of Logitech and Skype. For all Logitech’s hard work with Skype, there are plenty of VGA capable webcams and users with fast broadband connections. Despite this however Skype will block all VGA video broadcasts from owners without the hallowed three Logitech models and ‘Certified for Skype’ be damned.

Furthermore, Skype is enforcing minimum requirements of a dual core CPU which seems ludicrously high given the high-end single core solutions still available today which are more than capable of processing VGA content on the fly (heck, my 1.7GHz Pentium M laptop CPU can playback 720p HD so what gives?!).

For all this frustration however the quality of the conference video produced by Skype and Logitech is beyond repute. It all comes alive with Skype 3.6 which will appear in early November (grab the beta below) and – in an almost Apple-esque proclamation: if you have the right hardware and use it in the correct fashion everything will work beautifully.

If you don’t (and even if you have the specification potential) hard chips…

Skype 3.6 Beta