How to make video calls on your TV

We all become more comfortable work and socialize on video applicationswhether it’s office meetings on Zoom or family get-togethers on FaceTime. But squinting at your friends, relatives, or coworkers on your phone, tablet, or computer screen doesn’t always feel like a personal interaction. They are so… small.

If you want to feel like they’re actually in the room with you, just start your video call on your TV. It’s not difficult to set up, and you can relax on the sofa and accommodate virtually everyone in your home.

Via a dedicated device

Select devices support all of your video chat needs right out of the box: $ 120 Amazon Fire TV Cube, for example, recently got video chat functionality. In addition to streaming Netflix and Disney Plus shows to your living room, it now lets you make video calls to Alexa-enabled devices with displays, such as Echo Show, Amazon Fire tablets, and any phone with the app. Alexa installed.

You’ll need to purchase a webcam to connect to the Fire TV Cube, and you’ll need to enable video calling on the device through the Alexa app on your phone: Devices tab, find the Fire TV Cube and make sure the Communication option is set to Enabled. Amazon has a more detailed set of instructions that you can consult here.

Alternatively, there is the $ 149 Facebook portal, which is basically an advanced webcam for your TV. All you need to do is plug it into an available HDMI port on your TV, log into your Facebook or WhatsApp account, and you’re ready to chat with family and friends over video link.

Your contacts do not need to have configured a Portal device: they can also chat via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp on their smartphones. Unlike the Fire TV Cube, the portal supports group chats, and you can have up to 50 people on a video call in Facebook Messenger. Facebook has more on configure the device here.

If you have a TV that is running Android TV, such as a recent TV Sony model– you can install Google Duo as one of your apps and video chat this way. You’ll also need to plug a compatible webcam into your TV so others can see you (unless your TV already has its own camera), so make sure your webcam will work with your TV, and vice versa, before doing so. a purchase.

Duo support for TVs is relatively new, so you won’t get all the features available on phones and tablets, but you can make one-to-one and group calls. It will work with any device running Google Duo, from the Nest Hub Max to a smartphone. Google provided more installation information here.

Unfortunately, that’s about all when it comes to dedicated devices. Consoles cannot make video calls, nor are most streaming sticks and boxes. Not only do these devices lack built-in cameras, but they also don’t support adding external cameras, making them unsuitable for video chatting.

Via a wired or wireless connection

If you have a Chromecast, Google Meet might be your best option. David Nield

If you don’t want to take the dedicated device route, your other option is to get the device you usually use for video calls (your phone, tablet, or laptop) and connect it to your TV. There are a variety of installations and configurations to choose from, depending on the hardware you are working with.

Perhaps the easiest option is to log in an HDMI cable from your laptop to your TV (you may also need an adapter dongle if your laptop does not support an HDMI connection). Windows or macOS should recognize the link immediately: head to System and display in Windows settings or Poster in macOS System Preferences to configure your TV as a second monitor, mirroring or extending your laptop screen to suit your preferences.

Of course, it’s always your laptop that’s filming you, so you’ll need to keep it in sight in front of the TV. It shouldn’t be too difficult to set up something functional (a small table or footrest can help if other surfaces aren’t at the right height). Once done, you can use the video calling software of your choice: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Meet or other.

Otherwise, go wireless, from your laptop or phone. With Apple equipment, you can use Apple’s wireless AirPlay standard to transmit your small screen to the big one. On the TV side, you will need either an Apple TV box plugged in or a TV that natively supports AirPlay.

As long as your AirPlay-enabled Apple TV or TV box is on the same Wi-Fi network as your phone, tablet, or laptop, it should appear when you turn AirPlay on. On an iPhone or iPad, tap Screen mirror from the Control Center (swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to view it); on a MacBook, click the AirPlay button in the menu bar (it looks like an arrow pointing up in a rectangle). Choose your TV or Apple TV, and the big screen will mirror the small one.

As with the laptop and HDMI solution, you will need to position your mobile device so that its camera is always pointed at you. The best option might be to just place the device at the base of your TV, but you might be able to find something else that works better.

Chromecasting is another option. If you have a Chromecast dongle connected to your TV or a TV with Chromecast built-in, you can stream your video chat to it from various devices. It won’t work on iPhones or iPads, but you can mirror your screen from an Android device by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers, then choosing Screen broadcast of the panel that appears.

As long as the Chromecast is on the same Wi-Fi network, it should appear as an option. The end result is similar to AirPlay, with your small device’s screen mirrored on the TV, so you can load up any video chat app you like and make the people you talk to appear on the big screen. Again, you will need to make sure that your mobile device is always pointing in your direction.

The same trick works from Google Chrome on a Windows, macOS, or ChromeOS laptop. Click it three points in the upper right corner, then Throw away to choose your Chromecast. the Sources box lets you choose to mirror a single browser tab or your entire desktop, depending on whether or not your video chat application is running in the browser.

For best results on a Chromecast, try switching all of your contacts to Google meet: It natively supports Chromecast, so it will direct video streams directly to your Chromecast (rather than through your mirrored laptop). Remember that you will still need to use your computer for the camera and microphone. Google has more instructions on how to make it work here.

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