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Skype comes to your living room telly; the whole family can join in!

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 27, 2012 | 3 min read

Family-size chats with everyone joining in on the 50" telly in your living-room are here, thanks to a new Skype device.

The telyHD device

The new device, called telyHD, went on sale in the US this month. In the UK you can get it online from the Skype store. Now the Wall Street Journal has put it through a road test.

Until now most calls on Skype, the video phone service owned by Microsoft, have been " low-resolution encounters between two individuals" but telyHD promises something very different - with high-definition images comparable to to your regular TV shows.

Journal writer Walt Mossberg tried out the device in his family room , choosing to clamp it to the top of his Pioneer 50-inch plasma HDTV.

" In my tests, it worked well," said Mossberg. "I made multiple calls to people at the company using other telyHD units. And, with my wife at my side, in our usual seats, we made video calls to each of our out-of-state children, who were using Skype-equipped computers.

"On our end of the calls, we didn't have to crowd around a laptop webcam, jump up to fiddle with the unit, or do anything different than if we had been watching TV.

"Our kids reported they could see and hear us both fine, even though we were about 10 feet from the camera."

The device, from a small start-up firm in California called Tely Labs, attracted wide attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A spokesman told the Drum it had been selling well. It is available now in the UK through the Skype store - and there are no compatability issues, he said.

The device itself is a horizontal bar under a foot long and 3 inches high that clamps on top of the TV . "It has a wide-angle lens and multiple built-in mikes and is controlled by a remote that can be used to place and answer calls," said Mossberg.

The telyHD costs $250 in the US. There is no monthly fee or subscription. Video calls between a telyHD and any other Skype device, including another telyHD, are free.

Mossberg added,"I can say that telyHD worked as advertised, and provided good, generally smooth experiences on every call."

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