Skype is giving PC users with an HD webcam and sufficient bandwidth the ability to make high-definition video calls.

The HD capability is included in the beta version of Skype 4.2, the company said.

The software was actually released for PC users in early December but Skype didn't disclose the HD features at the time, perhaps because it wanted to make a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show, which gets under way this week in Las Vegas.

The software can deliver 720p HD video at 30 frames per second, Skype said.

It planned to update its download page on Tuesday to include information about the HD capabilities. There was no word yet about HD Skype for the Mac.

A few companies will introduce HD webcams designed for Skype's software at CES. They'll be able to handle the video encoding and processing on-board, so customers who have one won't need such a fast PC processor, according to Skype.

Skype is also joining the rush to put internet applications on TVs.

That's likely to be a theme again at CES, though it's unclear if consumers will buy into the idea in a big way.

LG Electronics and Panasonic will both introduce HDTVs at the show that will ship with Skype's software embedded, allowing customers to make HD calls on a big screen.

Skype is developing apps for internet-connected TVs

The TVs from both companies are expected in mid-2010, according to Skype.

They'll be offered with optional HD webcams that plug into the TV and can "pick up sound and video from couch distance", Skype said. Pricing and other details weren't yet available.

Skype says around one-third of its calls made between PCs now include video.

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See also: Skype sale threatened by new lawsuit