Biscotti‘s TV phone is a small camera unit that sits on top of your big screen TV, connecting to the TV via HDMI and to the network via WiFi. Once connected up, owners can make high-definition video calls to other Biscotti owners and Google Video Chat users. And you will not believe how small the camera unit is. Todd chats to Matthew Shoemake to learn more.
The TV Phone uses an HDMI pass-through technology, meaning that there’s no need to change channels when receiving a call as the Biscotti notifies users via a pop-up message on screen. By using Google Video Chat, the Biscotti TV Phone can connect to any device that has a Chat client, whether it’s Android, iPhone or a PC. Connectivity with other video clients will be forthcoming, but no details just yet.
The Biscotti TV Phone is available for $199 and no monthly fees. Watch the video to get free shipping (disclaimer – not sure how long this promotion will run after CES finishes.)
Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.
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The sci-fi vision of the videophone being as commonplace as the telephone hasn’t materialised but Skype and Google+ Hangouts have made videocalls with webcams popular, especially with families who are a spread across the world. Having said that, it’s still not as convenient as picking up your phone and dialling a number.
Biscotti hopes to change that will their TV Phone, which has just been announced as a 2012 CES Innovations Honoree. It’s a small camera unit that sits on top of your TV, connecting to the TV via HDMI and to the network via WiFi, allowing owners to make high-definition video calls to other Biscotti owners and Google video chat users. After an initial setup which only takes minutes, the Biscotti TV Phone is ready to make or take calls.
The TV Phone uses a pass-through technology, meaning that there’s no need to change channels to receive a call. The TV Phone notifies users of incoming calls while they are watching TV via a pop-up message on screen. By using Google video chat, the Biscotti TV Phone can connect to any device that has a Google chat client, whether it’s Android, iPhone or a PC.
“Biscotti is designed for people who value real-life, personal interaction. It’s a single-purpose, dedicated TV Phone that’s always ready to connect, so you can make and receive calls without interrupting your lifestyle,” said Dr. Matthew B. Shoemake, Biscotti’s CEO and Founder. “HDTVs are selling faster than any other consumer electronics product on the market, fueling the demand for high definition video calling. By 2015, we’re predicting 25% of homes will be making high-definition video calls daily.”
If it’s as simple to use as they claim (and there are some videos here), it could be a little winner. The Biscotti TV Phone is now available for $199 and no monthly fees. There’s no word on a twin pack, which is what I’d be interested in to link granddaughter with grandparents.
If you want to catch up with the Biscotti TV Phone, they’re on display at CES in South Hall 1, Booth #21442.