Skype launches paid group video calling

Options for monthly subscription or “day pass” details after the jump.
Hot on the heels of adding video calling under 3G or Wi-Fi for iOS devices, Skype today announced a paid service to allow multi-party video calling for consumers and businesses. The service is part of a new Skype Premium package that bundles group video calling with live chat customer support for either a $9 monthly charge or a $5 “day pass.” Three- and 12-month subscriptions are also available.
While Apple’s iChat offers a very similar feature for up to four people (including the host) free of charge, the Skype feature supports a maximum of 10 parties (Skype recommends five for best quality) . While only the originator of the call has to pay, all parties must be using the latest version of Skype, either v5.1 for Windows or the v5 beta for Mac, and meet the system requirements of those versions. The v5 Mac beta is not available to PowerPC Mac users. The company recommends at least a 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with a 4Mbps downstream/512kbps upstream connection for best-quality multi-party video calling on either platform.
Earlier in the day a possible final release of the recommended Skype v5 appeared briefly (version 5.0.60.7598), but it has since disappeared. A final version is expected to accompany the new features and calling plans soon. Features that were free on Skype — including IM, audio and video calling one-on-one between Skype users on either platform — are not affected by the new plans and remain free of charge.
Hot on the heels of adding video calling under 3G or Wi-Fi for iOS devices, Skype today announced a paid service to allow multi-party video calling for consumers and businesses. The service is part of a new Skype Premium package that bundles group video calling with live chat customer support for either a $9 monthly charge or a $5 “day pass.” Three- and 12-month subscriptions are also available.While Apple’s iChat offers a very similar feature for up to four people (including the host) free of charge, the Skype feature supports a maximum of 10 parties (Skype recommends five for best quality) . While only the originator of the call has to pay, all parties must be using the latest version of Skype, either v5.1 for Windows or the v5 beta for Mac, and meet the system requirements of those versions. The v5 Mac beta is not available to PowerPC Mac users. The company recommends at least a 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with a 4Mbps downstream/512kbps upstream connection for best-quality multi-party video calling on either platform.
Earlier in the day a possible final release of the recommended Skype v5 appeared briefly (version 5.0.60.7598), but it has since disappeared. A final version is expected to accompany the new features and calling plans soon. Features that were free on Skype — including IM, audio and video calling one-on-one between Skype users on either platform — are not affected by the new plans and remain free of charge.