Comcast cable customers will soon have a new option for talking to friends and family thanks to a new agreement with the Internet phone company Skype. A new press release today announced that the two companies have reached an agreement that will allow Skype's technology to be used by Comcast customers. Comcast users will soon be able to use Skype on their televisions to make video phone calls to other Skype users on their TVs, PCs or other Skype supported devices.
In addition, the Skype service will allow Comcast uses to send and receive instant messages while watching TV. Customers will also be able to import friends lists and address books from other services like Facebook and Gmail into Skype. Comcast users will need a special adaptor box to enable the Skype service along with a camera and a special remote control for the text messaging features. Comcast said in the press release that trials using the Skype service will start "in the coming months." There's no word on what price Comcast will charge for the Skype hardware and services.
Obviously this deal is being made before Skype's previously announced acquisition by Microsoft has been completed. Microsoft announced the deal to purchase Skype for a whopping $8.5 billion in cash last May. Microsoft hopes to close the deal sometime before the end of 2011. The acquisition would launch a new division in Microsoft and see Skype be used for a number of Microsoft products including its Xbox 360 game console.