CES: Skype from your living room two ways

Gone are the days of specially-branded Skype phones. At CES 2011, Skype offers up two methods for VoIPing with your loved ones from your TV.

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LAS VEGAS--If you've never engaged in a VoIP to your friend or loved one in real time on a 50-inch display, your luck could change two ways. First, Skype is extending its lineup of Skype-enabled TVs to include the Sony Bravia and Vizio Via. Those will show up later in 2011.

If buying an HDTV isn't your style, Skype has also announced deals with Panasonic and Sony to include Skype on select Blu-ray players. You'll still need a Webcam for this approach, but as we briefly saw in a Samsung press conference earlier today, Skype has a TV topper camera to sell you,too.

Skype's rapid expansion from its traditional desktop perch to the mobile phone, TV, and now Blu-ray player is a smart way to acquire new users, and the company certainly has the name and the partnerships to back up branching out.

Skype's living room telepresence also takes a swipe at Cisco's Umi system, which costs $599 for the specialized hardware, plus a $24.99 monthly service fee. Skype users will have to contend with the price of new hardware, but the software itself costs nothing.