Xiaomi TV webcam review: letting your TV in on the video-calling action

This device lets you make video calls directly from your TV

Video calls are the order of the day, and thanks to the pandemic, services like Zoom, Google Meet, and others have taken off in a big way. The usual set of devices we have at our disposal – smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc, all help us get face-to-face virtually with our friends, family, and colleagues, but why should televisions miss out on all the fun? Xiaomi’s aptly-named TV Webcam is a device that’s exactly that – a webcam for your smart TV. It basically works with any smart TV that runs the Android TV platform. Handily, it can work with your Windows or Mac laptop / PC too. Let’s take a closer look at the device.

The Xiaomi TV Webcam is a compact device that looks quite premium thanks to its metal build. Its cuboidal body has the lens in front, covered by a plastic tab that can be slid right and left to expose or hide the camera… thereby acting as a physical privacy shutter. Also in front are a pair of far-field mics. At the back, you’ll find a Type-C port, and at the bottom, an adjustable mounting stand that allows you to attach the webcam to the top of your TV or laptop. The stand is actually magnetic, so it can attach to TVs with metal bodies magnetically, but otherwise, you’d need to adjust it such that the webcam can be propped on top of the TV / laptop. It can even stand upright on its ‘foot’, so if nothing else works, you could just keep the webcam upright on a table along with the TV / laptop. Xiaomi includes a 1.5m Type-C to Type-A cable, which plugs into any available USB port in your TV.

In terms of specs, the Xiaomi TV Webcam has a 2MP fixed-focus camera that can shoot 1080p video at 25fps, and features 3D image noise reduction. The field of view is rated at 71 degrees. As far as the dual stereo mics are concerned, the far-field distance is rated at 4m. The device is plug-and-play and doesn’t need drivers or any other software to work. If you’re using it with your Android TV, you can download the Google Duo app from the Play Store and use that to make or receive video calls directly on your TV.

I did find the magnetic bracket on the webcam to be a tad fiddly. It latched on top of my OnePlus U1 TV easily, since this TV has a metal body. However, the magnet doesn’t seem too strong. The webcam also has a small lip on its underside, so you could use that to prop it up on top of your TV.


However, the same thing doesn’t really work too well while using the webcam with a laptop, and I found it easier to just set the camera on the table next to the laptop. This, however, isn’t the best setup for video calls, since you won’t be able to maintain proper eye contact with people on the other side of the video call. On the positive side, image quality is pretty good and appears sharp even on a TV’s large screen. The mics work well too and can pick up your voice as long as you’re seated about 3-4m from the TV. You can hold conversations and don’t really need to raise your voice to make yourself heard. In my case, I found it especially useful to make video calls with the family, since multiple people can easily sit in front of the TV and be in the call together.

For its price of Rs 1,999, the Xiaomi TV Webcam is a reasonable option, and despite the tiny niggles with the mounting bracket, can work well as a replacement webcam for your laptop if you’re not happy with the video quality of the built-in one. And if you’re looking to make video calls using your Android TV, you should definitely give it close consideration.

Editor’s rating: 4 / 5

Pros:

  • Plug and play usage
  • Compatible with both TVs and laptops
  • Physical privacy shutter
  • Decent video quality

Cons:

  • Limited field of view
  • Far-field mics have a limited range
  • Fiddly mounting stand