In the movies, people in the future are always using their big-screen TVs for video calls. Well, the future is now!
And with many people now working from home and using video conferencing, this possibility is very useful.
But how good are smart TVs when used for video conferencing?
Here’s What You Need to Know about Smart TVs and Video Conferencing.
Many smart TVs can be used for video conferencing by utilizing a webcam, apps, screen mirroring, screencasting, or a Fire TV Stick.
1. Can You Do Video Conferences with a Smart TV?
Some smart TVs allow you to do video conferencing.
Compatible smart TVs that can handle video conferencing usually have a built-in web camera or have compatible cameras you can attach to the TV.
These compatible cameras are either made by the manufacturer or manufactured by third-party companies.
You can also cast your video conferencing app onto your smart TV.
2. What Do You Need to Do Video Conference Calls with a Smart TV?
There are a few ways to do video calls with a smart TV.
One way to do video calls is with a compatible webcam with a microphone. These webcams usually come with apps that let you do video calls on your smart TV.
Now, if your smart TV does not have a web camera nor a compatible third-party camera, you can still use other devices for video conferencing. Read on!
Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick plugs into the HDMI port of your smart TV and comes with a micro USB port that is OTG capable or compliant.
You can use the micro USB port to plug in a web camera of your choice. You can then install apps like Skype for video conferencing.
Note that you will need a micro-USB dongle with a provision for power since you will need that to plug the Fire TV Stick’s power supply.
Screencasting or mirroring
You can opt to mirror or cast your screen from your device (like a tablet or laptop) to your smart TV.
If you are using an Apple device, such as a Macbook or iPhone, the easiest way to use this method is through Airplay 2. Many smart TVs have AirPlay 2 built into them, such as those made by LG and Vizio.
But if you don’t have an Apple device, you can use Video & TV Cast, an app available for iOS and Android Devices.
- It works with Samsung, LG, and Sony smart TV, as well as Chromecast, Roku, and Fire TV Stick.
- You will need to install the app on your mobile device and connect your phone and smart TV to the same Wi-Fi network.
- The Video & TV Cast app lets you use your preferred video call app, such as Skype, Zoom, or Hangouts.
- Note that this app uses your smartphone’s camera for the video call.
You can use Chromecast to cast your video conference window onto your smart TV screen.
As long as your device and Chromecast are on the same Wi-Fi network, you can easily take that call on your smart TV.
The advantage of this setup is that it doesn’t involve the apps you have on your smart TV. You only need to have the app installed on your smartphone or laptop.
Facebook Portal TV
Facebook Portal TV is not an app per se, but rather a piece of hardware you can use to make Whatsapp and Messenger calls using its video camera.
- It works like any other streaming box and plugs into your HDMI port.
- The camera is built into the dongle itself, which you can position at the base of your TV.
- Unlike other iterations of the Portal, the Portal TV is not compatible with other video conferencing apps like Zoom, Webex, GoTo, to name a few.
Note that all these connections and devices need a strong Internet connection.
3. What Are the Best Conferencing Apps for Smart TVs?
There aren’t that many options for video conferencing apps available in the app stores of smart TVs. That is not surprising, considering that web cameras are not standard features in smart TVs.
But, if you want that video conference to be on a bigger screen, your best option is to cast or mirror your screen to the smart TV, or you can check out your options in Question 2.
Here are some options for what apps to use when video conferencing on your smart TV.
Google Meet is probably the best option for video conferencing for TVs that support Chromecast.
- You can use a device like a smartphone or a laptop to mirror the screen to your smart TV using Chromecast.
- Google Meet also supports screen sharing, so you can easily show your colleagues or clients any content you wish to present.
- Note that your Google Meet setup still depends on your device’s camera and microphone. Thus, if you use Chromecast, you need to position the device accordingly.
- Google Meet also has a free option, with up to a hundred participants in a meeting. The free package also includes unlimited meeting setups. The disadvantage is that the free account can only hold one-hour meetings. But this will change soon, as Google had announced the availability of 24 hour-long group meetings for Gmail accounts.
Google Duo is another option to use for video conferencing.
- When compared with Meet, Google Duo has its pros and cons.
- The most notable feature of the Google Duo is its availability as an app for smart TVs. If your smart TV runs Android TV and uses at least Android 8.0 Oreo, then you can use the Google Duo app.
- But Google Duo does not support screen sharing, which gives Google Meet an edge.
- Google Duo is free to use and does not have any premium subscription costs.
Zoom is still a strong contender when it comes to video conferencing.
- While it does not have an app nor compatibility with Chromecast, unlike Google Meet, you can use Zoom with your smart TV via screen mirroring.
- You have the option to use AirPlay’s mirroring feature.
- And like the Google Meet option, you still need your device to serve as a camera and microphone.
Messenger and Whatsapp
Messenger and Whatsapp are two different services, but they have a common denominator: They work with Facebook Portal TV.
- Messenger and Whatsapp only work on Portal TV, unfortunately. You cannot use them outside of Portal.
- These services are free to use and only need the Portal TV device.
4. Best Smart TVs with Camera and Mic for Video Conferencing
While manufacturers of smart TVs stopped making units with built-in web cameras and microphones a few years ago, you can still find them on the used market.
- A good option is the Samsung F7500 smart TV. It features a web camera that retracts when not in use.
- If you are on a budget, you can try getting the LG LA9600. It features motion sensing, which uses the web camera of the smart TV to detect gesture commands.
- If you want to look into other smart TVs with built-in web cameras, you can check this article for suggestions.
5. Can You Use Zoom on a Smart TV?
Unfortunately, Zoom does not have an app for smart TVs.
That said, you can still use Zoom with Chromecast or AirPlay to mirror your screen onto your smart TV.
6. What About Skype and Face Time?
Skype does not have a smart TV app.
- Skype used to have a smart TV app, but when TV manufacturers started omitting cameras as a feature, Skype pulled the plug on their smart TV app.
- Thus, you will need to mirror through your smart TV if you want to use Skype on it.
- Another option would be to use a Fire TV Stick with Skype.
Facetime, meanwhile, is only available on Apple devices. The only way you can get Facetime on your smart TV is through AirPlay.
7. Can You Use Facebook Messenger on a Smart TV?
You can use Messenger for video calls through the Portal TV dongle.
8. Can You Use Hangouts on a Smart TV?
Google Hangouts is not supported on smart TVs. But you can mirror to the smart TV from your device.
9. Can You Use Webex on a Smart TV?
10. Can You Use an External Webcam with a Smart TV?
You can use an external webcam with your smart TV. But not all smart TVs are compatible with webcams.
You may want to consult with your smart TV manufacturer before proceeding to buy one.
11. Can You Use a Kinect Camera with a Smart TV?
The Kinect camera will only work with the Xbox. It cannot work with a smart TV alone.
12. What Are the Limitations of Video Conferencing on Smart TVs?
Video conferencing on a smart TV works best when you are casting or screen mirroring from another device.
Video conferencing solely with your smart TV, although more tricky, is possible.
- Finding a compatible web camera for your TV can be a problem. Not all smart TVs will support all cameras. If you are looking to get a camera, it would be best to consult your smart TV manufacturer.
- Should you find a video conferencing app to use on your smart TV and a compatible camera, you won’t have the option to share screens during your meeting.