Late last year, Amazon launched two-way calling support that worked with Fire TV Cube devices. The feature allowed consumers to make and receive calls from their connected TV to any other Alexa device with a display. The company is expanding this system to enable two-way calling support with Zoom.
Now, Fire TV Cube (second generation) owners will be able to join Zoom work meetings or virtual hangouts through their device.
To take advantage of the new feature, you’ll need Amazon’s Fire TV Cube, the hands-free streaming device and its smart speaker that has Alexa built in, as well as a webcam that supports USB Video Class (UVC) with at least 720 resolution and 30 fps. But for the best experience, Amazon recommends a webcam with 1080p resolution and a 60- to 90-degree field of view at a distance of six to ten feet from the TV. However, it does not recommend 4K webcams.
Amazon suggests webcams such as Logitech C920, C922x, C310 or Wansview 101JD, for example. Then, you will connect the webcam to the Fire TV Cube using a Micro USB to USB adapter.
For best results, it is recommended to connect the webcam above the TV screen, Amazon notes. Once everything is set up and connected, the Zoom app should be downloaded and installed from the Fire TV Appstore. When joining meetings, you can either log in as a guest or use an existing Zoom account, depending on the on-screen instructions.
Thanks to Alexa integration, you can join hands-free meetings, if preferred, via a voice command such as “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting.” Alexa will respond by prompting you for the meeting ID and access code. Alternatively, you can opt to use the remote control to enter this information.
An optional feature also allows you to sync your calendar with Alexa to allow the intelligent assistant to remember upcoming meetings it finds on the calendar. If this route is followed, Alexa will suggest that you join the meeting and you will only have to say “yes” for it to be dialed in automatically.
Amazon first announced it would bring video calling support to its Fire TV platform a few months back, a significant update on the new era of remote work and education, driven by Pandemic. However, it’s not the only option on the market. Google also brought group video calling to its Hub Max devices last year and later added support for Zoom calling. Meanwhile, Facebook’s Portal devices offered video calling of a more personal nature and last year also updated to support Zoom.
In other words, Amazon is trying to catch up. And its solution is a bit more unwieldy, requiring consumers to purchase their own webcam, whereas something like Portal TV offers a TV with a smart camera included. To use the new feature, you’ll need the latest Fire TV Cube software update to get started, Amazon notes.