Best Smart TV for Video Conferencing for Seniors

Metallo

Member
Hi there,

Currently I use Skype for video calls with my mother, who is 85 years old.
Her PC is a 15" laptop, and I need to switch to something bigger and easier for video call, no more than that.
In a nutshell, I am thinking to buy a Smart TV which includes any good video conferencing application, not necessarily Skype, it could be Zoom or MS Teams etc.

The important factor is that it should be easy to use, something like a remote control with a button she can click and call.
The Smart TV is the first thing that came to my mind, but I need to know if:

1) Is it the best solution?
2) Would that work?
3) If not, alternatives?

I need something at least 40" connected to Internet and a HD Webcam.
My mother should be able to call me any time with few easy steps, and be able to have excellent video and sound quality.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Alex
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I'm not sure something like that exists. You are probably best using a smart display which is in part built for this purpose. Screen of course will be smaller, but you can view it closer and sound quality and ease of use will be a lot better than a solution connected to the TV.

There was a time a few years ago when smart TVs did have integrated cameras, or had external camera support but I don't think it was very successful, and Skype dropped out of the market. Some smart TVs use Android TV and it may be possible to use that platform for a call, but I'm not sure you'd be able to find a webcam that would be compatible with the TV.

Perhaps if a smart display isn't something you want to do since the screen size is too small you could instead opt for a device connected to a TV via HDMI. Set the TV to always change to its input when turned on and use that. I'm not sure Skype have such a device but facebook have this: Portal TV: Video call on your biggest screen | Portal from Facebook if she already owns a TV, it will also probably work with that.

Just bear in mind by using a TV you are opening up other problems which naturally come hand in hand with a larger device. First of which received audio. TV audio is typically pretty poor quality. with tinny speakers. What's more, being a distance from the microphone would also mean the sound quality at your end may be subpar, including echo from the TV speakers.

All in all I think a smaller smart display is a much better way forward, no need to control something separately like a TV.
 

djstu_d

Active Member
Hey, another option could be an xbox one with kinnect.....

Might sound a bit odd but you get the camera and mic in the kinnect and Skype running full screen on the tv via the xbox.

This can all be set up to run via voice commands, so your mum can walk into the room, say "xbox on, xbox open Skype, xbox call xxxx".

Can't imagine xbox one's are very expensive these days, so cheap option if she is happy with her current tv.

Plus she could play some cod if she fancies lol ;)

Hth
 

Metallo

Member
Hi,

Thank you for your recommendations.

I took a peek at the Facebook Portal TV as well as the Portal+.
I must say that the Portal+ is it a nice option, because it adds the benefit to move it around the house, so you are not stuck in a room only.
Certainly, you still have a power cord to deal with, it is not like a laptop that can stay on hours with a battery, so this is a kind of limitation, but it is still a better option that a TV.

Now, neither my mum not me have a facebook account, and will never have.

So my question here is:

With a Portal+, if I go for either WhatsApp or Zoom, would I still need a facebook account, or that is only necessary for Messenger?

The Facebook Portal+ appears to be the only product in its category with a 15.6" screen, and it is on the market since the end of 2018.
All the other market players offer 10.1".
This basically limits my choice to one single product. However a big screen is essential when you have a senior person involved, it is easier for them to see, simple as that.

So, I was wondering why Amazon, Google etc. have chosen to stay on a 10.1" only.
I assume there must be a valid reason, and I was wondering if in general, this is because a bigger screen is too bulky in a kitchen environment.

Thoughts?

It is also interesting the xbox suggestion from djstu_d but after discovering the Smart Display devices (thank you Dodgexander for opening my eyes on them :)), I think I will probably go for any of those solutions.

Thank you!
Alex
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I think you'll have to use a facebook to use their device. The integration of using facebook directly instead of a 3rd party should also work a lot better.

You can make two fake accounts though, there's no obligation to make a real account. I don't use facebook apart from a sole account I use for competitions. I'm sure that smart displays from other brands work similarly.
 

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