Foolproof family video chats direct to TV?
June 18, 2016 11:32 AM   Subscribe

My elderly relatives live far away, and I would like to find a way to set up a completely foolproof video chat solution. We use skype and facetime, but they don't like crowding together on the couch, their computer doesn't have a great screen, and their lighting is really poor. They are not terrible with technology, but the solution needs to be really simple.

My ideal setup: A quality, wide-angle, good in low light webcam mounted in a permanent place in their living room (they spend 90% of their time there), and an HDMI feed of my stream to their big-screen TV so they can get a better view of me and my family. They would simply change the input on their TV and be presented with an always-on application for making/receiving calls. Simple one- or two-click access.

I am completely shocked that apple TV, chromecast, fire TV, and all these other TV boxes don't support webcam apps like facetime/hangouts/skype. I realize I could just buy a small computer to leave next to their TV and set up some kind of custom kiosk screen for them, but I'm wondering if there are any simple solutions available. I'm willing to spend a few hundred dollars on a good solution. Any ideas? If I go the custom route, any suggestions for a box suitable for the job?
posted by RobotNinja to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was going to say Skype already supports TVs, but Microsoft killed the feature three months ago. I don't know what happens if you buy the Logitech TV Cam or TelyHD and try to use Skype.
posted by Monochrome at 12:18 PM on June 18, 2016

Panasonic Blu Ray players support Skype and there are screen top camera/mic devices.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:27 PM on June 18, 2016

I wonder if a Chromebox could do the job, if you had to take the custom route.
posted by actionstations at 12:28 PM on June 18, 2016

Facetime + Apple TV. Not the cheapest solution, but probably one of the easiest.
posted by ryanbryan at 10:55 PM on June 18, 2016

Facetime + Apple TV. Not the cheapest solution, but probably one of the easiest

But how? Apple TV doesn't support webcams directly, AFAIK. The solutions that use this setup seem to suggest using AirPlay to send FaceTime video to the Apple TV from yet a third device. Is there another way?
posted by RobotNinja at 11:37 PM on June 18, 2016

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