A lot of us are trying to figure out how to have the holidays with our loved ones virtually, and realizing that the cameras on laptops and phones aren’t ideal for a big gathering. If you have a Fire TV Cube and a USB webcam handy, you can put them together and kitbash a living room video meeting setup.
The new functionality comes from a software update to the Fire TV Cube, unfortunately limited to the latest second-gen model. If you don’t see the software update right away, stick around for a bit: Amazon says it’ll be available in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan “in the coming weeks.” It will rely on Alexa’s two-way calling system, so whoever’s on the other end will need to use the Alexa app (iOS, Android) for a phone or an Echo Show smart screen.
Webcams that support UVC (“USB video class”) will all work, which means pretty much anything from a major brand sold in the last ten years, and you’ll need an adapter to go from the standard USB-A to the Fire TV Cube’s MicroUSB port. Though most webcams will work fine, those with at least a 1080p resolution and a wider field of view will be more ideal for a living room setup.
The software update will also add the capability for Ring Doorbell Camera notifications while watching television, and Alexa will be able to give pop-up answers to questions without interrupting the audio of a playing show.