The device is a self-contained Webcam and Skype client that sits on top of your HDTV and wirelessly accesses Skype through Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection. An included remote controls the camera from your couch. The Webcam features a Carl Zeiss wide-angle lens and four microphones, letting it capture multiple people on the picture and reduce external noise.
This isn’t Logitech’s first time bringing video chat to HDTVs. The Logitech TV Cam $80.99 at Amazon is a Webcam designed for use with HDTVs, but it requires the HDTV itself (or a companion home theater device, or Logitech’s own Revue Google TV device) have Skype and support the camera. Several HDTVs from Panasonic, LG, Samsung, and other manufacturers have Skype but require a separate Webcam accessory.
The TV Cam HD joins integrated video chat devices like the Tely Labs TelyHD and Biscotti Webcams. Both devices have integrated video chat clients, with the TelyHD supporting Skype and the Biscotti supporting Google Talk and Biscotti’s own video chat service. Both Webcams have strengths and weaknesses, but neither managed to settle in as the definitive HDTV video chat device. The TV Cam HD could prove to be a stiff competitor to them, and at $199.99 costs as much as the Biscotti and is less expensive to the TelyHD.
The Logitech TV Cam HD ships to the U.S. this month, and will go on sale in Europe in September. For another look at Logitech’s Webcams, read our review of the Logitech C920 $69.99 at STAPLES, which shares many design similarities to the TV Cam HD and the original TV Cam.