Easy Skype

My wife just started working overseas. To be able to communicate with her and more importantly that she can communicate with the kids, I have been looking at different Skype options.

Didn’t really find much on the internet that helped us decide what’s working and what’s not. Only thing we knew is that laptop with build in camera is not the ideal situation. Works well for a week or two but not for longer.

We ended up buying a Sony 32″ 1080p 60Hz LED Smart TV (KDL32W700B – http://esupport.sony.com/CA/p/model-home.pl?mdl=KDL32W700B) for $ 499 CAD. Best Buy indicated that this TV has Skype. The staff at Best Buy couldn’t tell me if any camera works. And a quick search on the internet didn’t reveal anything. Since the Logitech HD Pro Webcam (C920), Model #: 960-000765 was on special for $ 79.99 CAD, I bought that one. Unfortunately the camera didn’t work with the TV, so I installed it on our laptop for the time being.

Calling Sony and some more research finally revealed that this TV only works with 2 Sony cameras (Sony CMU-BR200 and Sony CMU-BR100). Checking online revealed that they are not easily available in Canada and also very expensive. Local retailers charge something in the $ 250 CAD range, which I found too expensive. Most affordable US online retailers don’t ship to Canada. There is an option to order from Asia but free shipping takes a few weeks. Found one on Ebay and have it shipped to a friend in California. Once I receive it, I will update this post with my experience.

The Sony TV has another disadvantage. It doesn’t allow a wireless keyboard to be connected. For Skype not that crucial but would have been nice. There is an app that can be installed on smartphones and tablets. Will give that a try when I have some time.

Another option I plan to test is the Tely HD Base Edition (http://www.tely.com/conferencing-systems/video-conferencing/hd-series/) camera. This one eliminates the need for a computer or TV. Just a monitor is needed. My hope is, that the kids can use that system without me having to intervene too much. Currently on order and to be shipped to my friend in the US. Once I have it, I will report on my experience. Logitech used to have a similar system (Logitech TV Cam HD, 960-000921) but it doesn’t seem to be widely available anymore and there is no newer model that would eliminate the computer.

Currently we use the Logitech C920 camera on my laptop in combination with a 27″ computer monitor. The camera with build in microphone is great and works well in a larger room. My wife can watch the kids playing and interact with them in the living room and I can still talk to her when I am in the kitchen. That’s approx. 10 meters (30 feet).