Debugger

How to Turn Your TV Into a Remote Meeting Paradise

There is no good device for turning your living room into a video conferencing room, but here’s how to hack together a solution

Owen Williams
OneZero
Published in
4 min readApr 1, 2020

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Photo courtesy of the author

FFor more than three weeks now, both my partner and I have been working from home to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. I’m grateful to have a job I can do remotely. But sitting at my desk on video calls all day quickly became tiring, especially with my partner doing the same for much of her day, in the same room.

At my actual office, meeting rooms are equipped with video conferencing equipment mounted to TVs. The video quality is much better than a camera on an average MacBook, and being able to sit at a distance makes longer calls much more comfortable. To make meetings from home more bearable, I wondered if I could replicate the office setup using my TV.

First, I looked into buying one of the official Google Hangouts Meet hardware boxes, which come with a webcam and tiny computer dedicated to video calling. But the boxes are difficult to actually buy if you aren’t a giant business: Google doesn’t sell them to individual consumers, and the average cost is about $1,000.

Instead, I decided to MacGyver my home meeting setup out of parts I already had lying around: a Logitech Brio webcam from my former life as a freelance writer and an old Mac Mini I wasn’t using for much at all (you could use any old laptop or PC you have lying around). I wired all of this up in the TV room. I plugged the Mac into the HDMI on the TV, and I made sure to use Ethernet, rather than use the wireless, for call stability.

This improved my video call quality enough that my co-workers kept asking whether I had snuck back into the office. It also allowed me to separate doing actual work at my desk and taking calls at my couch in front of my TV.

The only problem was my microphone. I didn’t have one of those fancy…

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Owen Williams
OneZero

Fascinated by how code and design is shaping the world. I write about the why behind tech news. Design Manager in Tech. https://twitter.com/ow