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There are three fundamental ways to achieve TV-based video call nirvana. One is via a computer connected to a TV, another is via a smart TV and the third uses a special-purpose gadget connected to a TV.
The simplest is the first: connecting a laptop or PC to your TV via a cable, such as HDMI, then clicking over to that as your video source. From there you can use your computer’s camera and video conferencing software, and display it all on the TV.
This is an inelegant solution, but one you can probably implement now without additional purchases. One small improvement to this general approach can be made using a product called the Warpia ConnectHD. It uses video conferencing software running on your PC or laptop. But instead of using your PC’s camera, it comes with its own, which you can place on top of the TV. And instead of using a big, sloppy HDMI cable, it uses wireless via a USB device that plugs into the computer.
Having the camera on top of or just below the TV is important with video calls, because it creates the illusion of eye contact.
Logitech and Skype offer a product called the Logitech TV Cam HD. The camera connects to the Internet over either Wi-Fi or ethernet, and connects to TVs using HDMI. Logitech claims that any TV that supports HDMI will work with the product.
The camera itself is high definition and wide angle, so it will show the entire living room. But you can zoom in if you want using the included remote control unit. Four noise-canceling microphones cut down on any echo from a large room.
And you’ll hear the phone ring even when the TV is off.