Frequently Asked Questions

Stay connected like never before with CallGenie - the simple and reliable way to video call your Elderly loved ones.
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Stay connected like never before with CallGenie - the simple and reliable way to video call your Elderly loved ones.

Why does CallGenie use Skype when everyone else uses custom apps on iOS and Android?

Skype is one of the most widely used video calling applications and is available on all major computing platforms, not just mobile. Want to call the elderly person from your laptop or desktop computer? Then Skype is the answer.

Why does CallGenie use a television as its display?

The television is the largest screen in most people’s homes. Add on to that the fact that the majority of elderly people have their main chair positioned directly in front of their television. Why would you introduce another smaller screen into their living environment, when the television is already there?

What if you have spectacles? Varifocal glasses will allow you to switch from watching television to reading a book by looking down through the bottom of the lens. Looking at a screen a metre or so away would require the user to tip their head back to be able focus on the screen. Unless, of course , the screen is positioned on the floor, which is usually not practical.

CallGenie works in conjunction with televisions ranging from 20″ through to 75″, or bigger. Why limit the user to watching a small screen while the largest screen in the home is right in front of them.

Will the elderly person receive unwanted calls?

No. We set up Skype to only answer calls from known contacts.

Which webcam is best for me?

HD Webcam – Basic

This is our cheapest webcam and is ideal for use with small televisions (24″ or less) where the user sits within 1.5m of the screen. It has a HD, 720p resolution camera (1080 x 720 pixels @ 30fps), fixed focus range and a built-in noise reducing microphone. The HD webcam has 60º field of view.

Full HD Webcam – Standard

This our most popular webcam is ideal for use with larger televisions where the user sits between 1.5m and 3m from the screen. It has a Full HD, 1080p resolution camera (1920 x 1080 pixels @ 30fps), Autofocus/Light Correction and dual mics for clear stereo sound. The Full HD webcam has a larger field of view (78º) than the basic HD webcam.

4K/UHD Webcam – Premium

It has a 4K/UHD, 2160p resolution camera (3840 x 2160 pixels @ 30fps or 1920 x 1080 pixels @ 60fps), Autofocus/Light Correction and built-in dual omni-directional mics with noise cancellation. The 4K/UHD webcam has a larger field of view (90º) than the Full HD webcam and is our best performer in low light conditions.

Please note that Skype supports up to Full HD (1080p) resolution but you will need at least 2Mbps download bandwidth and 2Mbps upload bandwidth to achieve this. You will also need to have another 1Mbps download bandwidth per person if you want to do group calls.

Is CallGenie easy to install?

Yes. It just needs to be connected to the television, using the HDMI cable provided, and to the Internet. We provide full instructions and we’re on the end of a phone if you need our help.

Is my television  compatible with CallGenie?

CallGenie requires HDMI-CEC to control the television. This is provided as standard in most premium LED/QLED/OLED* televisions from:

  • Samsung (no smaller than 37″)
  • LG (WebOS Smart TVs only)
  • Sony
  • Panasonic
  • Philips

(*) LCD and Plasma televisions are typically not compatible

The following technologies aren’t supported:

  • Amazon Fire TV Edition (JVC, Bus, Ferguson etc)
  • Vidaa OS (Hisense, Toshiba etc)
  • TV/DVD Combinations (Bush, Hitachi, JVC, Sharp etc)

To check if your television has HDMI-CEC use your remote control to access the television’s menu. Then check in Settings, System or something similar to look for the option. You may also want to look at your televsion’s instruction manual or just try performing a web search for the model of your television and “Enable HDMI-CEC.”

Please note that manufacturers may have their own trade names for HDMI-CEC:

  • AnyNet+ (Samsung)
  • Aquos Link (Sharp)
  • BRAVIA Link/Sync (Sony)
  • EasyLink (Philips)
  • HDMI-CEC (Hitachi)
  • CE-Link (Toshiba)
  • SimpLink (LG)
  • VIERA Link (Panasonic)
  • CEC (Vizio)

If in doubt check with us that your television will work.

Will CallGenie work with my set top box?

CallGenie has been successfully installed with Sky Q, Sky+ HD, Virgin and YouView (e.g. BT) set top boxes. If in doubt check with us that your set top box will work.

Will CallGenie work with my soundbar?

Yes, it will if the soundbar connects to the television using HDMI-ARC and has no other HDMI devices connecting  through it to the television.

Unfortunately, a Sky Q set top box connecting to the television via a Sky Soundbox will not work. The Sky Soundbox doesn’t support HDMI-ARC and the only way for CallGenie to connect to the Sky Soundbox is via an optical cable going from the television to the Sky Soundbox. The end-user would have to manually switch input on the Sky Soundbox to the optical input when a call comes in and switch it back to the Sky Q after the call. This isn’t practical for the average CallGenie user.

Can I install CallGenie in a Care Home?

Yes, but you will need an Internet connection.

What sort of Internet connection do I need?

CallGenie works with a WiFi connection, or directly connected to a broadband modem/router using an ethernet cable.

Will CallGenie work with my broadband service?

CallGenie works with all the broadband services we’ve come across. In some cases you may, however, need to call your broadband provider and get them to unblock our remote access software. This is the case with TalkTalk in the UK.

What happens if there is no Internet connection available?

You can provide your own 4G Home Router. In the UK these are available from EE, O2, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

What do I need to have in place for CallGenie to work?

To use CallGenie you will need to have the following:

  • Flatscreen television with at least one spare HDMI socket
  • Spare power socket near the television
  • High Speed Broadband  (preferably fibre)
    • Upload/Download  speeds – Minimum 0.5 Mbps (Standard Definition),  2 Mbps (High Definition)
    • Wired or Wireless Connection

CallGenie works with most modern flatscreen televisions made since 2008 that support HDMI CEC. This includes most, if not all , television models made by Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Sharp, Pioneer, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Vizio and many other manufacturers.

If you are not sure whether your television is compatible with CallGenie, please email us a picture of the label on the back of your television and we’ll check it out for you.

What warranty is included?

All the components comprising the CallGenie Simple Video Phone for the Elderly are covered by their respective manufacturer’s warranty. Software authored by Smart Life Solutions, i.e. the CallGenie application, is covered by a 12 month warranty.

As an option, you can upgrade the warranty to 36 months.

What support is included?

12 months email, phone and remote access support is included in the price of the CallGenie Appliance. We use remote access software to enable us to diagnose and rectify any faults that may occur and  get you back online as quickly as possible. 

Occasionally we may need to speak to someone on site to check things. This is only usually necessary if the Mini PC is accidentally powered down, or a cable becomes detached for some reason.

If you take up the 36 extended warranty, support will continue to be provided as well.

Where do you ship CallGenie Appliances to?

CallGenie Appliances can be purchased from us for delivery in the UK and Europe. Customers in the USA can buy CallGenie Appliances from our US distributor.

Outside the UK, USA and Europe, CallGenie Software can be purchased worldwide by systems integrators and tech-savvy individuals who want to build and manage their own CallGenie Appliances.

If you are not buying for someone in the UK, USA or Europe please read our blog post “How to build your own CallGenie Appliance” using the CallGenie Software.

Can I get UK VAT relief for the disabled

Yes, you can. If you, or the person you are buying a CallGenie Appliance for, are chronically sick or disabled and are using CallGenie Appliance for personal or domestic use.

The following qualifies as chronically sick or disabled:

  • You have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect upon your ability to carry out everyday activities
  • You have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness, such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease 
  • You have a terminal illness

To get VAT relief for the disabled you need to create a Smart Life Solutions account and fill out a short questionnaire. Smart Life Solutions will confirm your application for VAT relief for the disabled typically within 8 working hours. Occasionally, we may need more information from you before it is approved.

Smart Life Solutions is required by HMRC to keep a record of all customers who have qualified for VAT relief for the disabled. Their names , addresses and other relevant information may be shared with HMRC upon request.

Will I get a refund if the CallGenie Appliance can’t be made to work with the end user’s television?

Please see our Returns Policy.

What are my options if my relative no longer needs their CallGenie Appliance

Please see our Returns Policy.