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Comcast's Skype on Xfinity adds video calling to HDTVs for $9.95 a month

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Comcast launched the Skype on Xfinity service today, which adds Skype calling to all Comcast customers for $9.95 / month.

Skype on Xfinity
Skype on Xfinity

We've seen plenty of third-party ways to add Skype video calling to your TV, and even a few from TV manufacturers, but now service providers are getting in the game too: Comcast just announced tight integration with the service across its products. The new service is called Skype on Xfinity, and it comes as a bundle from Comcast: you pay $9.95 a month, and in addition to the Skype software you get an HD video camera that looks just like the "Astro" camera we saw back in January, along with an adaptor box and a new remote that includes a full QWERTY keyboard for typing Skype IMs (it looks a bit like the Boxee Box remote). Of course, you'll also need Comcast's Triple Play internet and cable service to take advantage of the service.

The system is designed to make Skyping from your couch simpler than ever, and it appears to be a solid and smart integration — though paying $9.95 / month for an otherwise mostly free service could be a tough sell. It's available now in Boston and Seattle, and will be in a handful of other markets before the end of the week.