FAQs - CallGenie Frequently Asked Questions

This is your go-to resource for all your questions about CallGenie, the innovative video calling device specifically designed for the elderly and disabled.


Product Questions

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.

Will the elderly person receive unwanted calls?

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

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.

Is my television going to be compatible with CallGenie?

CallGenie requires HDMI-CEC to control the television. This is provided as standard on most premium LED/QLED/OLED televisions made since 2010 and almost all smart televisions:


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, for example:


  • 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, please check with us that your television will work with CallGenie.

Which webcam is best for me?

All our cameras support full HD ( 1080P) and have built-in Privacy Shutters.


The main difference between the cameras is their Field of View (Standard, Wide or Zoom) and whether they have fixed or variable zoom.


  • Standard - Brio 100 - this camera has a 58° field of view and no zoom. It is Ideal for 1 person in view.


  • Wide - Brio 300 - 70° field of view and no zoom. Ideal for 2 people in view, or 1 person who sits in 2 adjacent locations (e.g. bed and chair).


  • Zoom - Brio 500 - Our most advanced webcam with variable field of view (between 65° and 90°) and up to 4x zoom. This camera can be set up for either 1 or 2 people.


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.

Can I get UK VAT relief for 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


Apply for VAT relief for disabled


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.

Is CallGenie easy to install?

Yes, it is. It just needs to be connected to the television, using the HDMI cable provided, and to the Internet. We provide full instructions and advise you to book a video call, in advance, so we can help you configure CallGenie to work with the end user's television.

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, you can. Most care homes will provide WiFi, and some will let you install your own broadband to the room.


However, you might want to be up front and check with the home before you install a CallGenie system.


We have experienced some care homes having reservations about cameras being installed in residents' rooms.


To handle this sort of reservation, you might want to explain that the webcam on the CallGenie Appliance is only activated by incoming Skype video calls made by designated contacts. It cannot be used by anyone to spy on the residents without the resident’s or the staff’s knowledge. In addition, all video calls that are answered will turn on the television.


If they are concerned about the privacy of the resident when they are receiving personal care, then the staff can power off the device when they start the personal care and power it back on when they finish. This is quite common amongst installations in care homes.


Finally, all the webcams we provide have built-in privacy shutters.


If they still have reservations, we would be happy to talk to them and see if we can address their concerns.

What sort of Internet connection do I need?

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.


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.

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 (LED, OLED or QLED) with at least one spare HDMI socket
  • Spare power socket near the television
  • High Speed Broadband (preferably fibre)
  • Upload/Download speeds – 2 Mbps (1080P)
  • 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.

Will our loved one be able to call us using CallGenie?

Unfortunately, CallGenie isn't able to make outbound calls without additional hardware being attached to the Mini PC to facilitate it.


CallGenie was designed to require no end-user interaction to answer calls. However, if the end-user is able to use a mouse and can switch inputs on the television, then it is possible to use the standard Skype functionality to make outbound calls.


The alternative approach is for the end user to use a landline or mobile phone, if they are able to, to call you. You can then agree to switch to a video call which you can initiate. This approach worked well for our founder, Graham, with his mother as well as for numerous customers.

What do I need to have in place before CallGenie installation?

A television with:


  • One spare HDMI socket that supports HDMI CEC
  • Original TV remote with fresh batteries on hand
  • Spare power socket near the television
  • Internet Connection (WIFI or wired Ethernet)

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

Please see our Return Policy

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

Please see our Return Policy

CallGenie Support

Software updates?

The CallGenie Appliance is restarted overnight, and as part of its start up routine it checks for new software updates.


CallGenie tightly controls Microsoft updates, but at the same time ensuring that Skype is kept up to date.

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.


There is an option to extend the 12 month support by a further 24 months (total of 36 months from date of purchase).

Extended Warranty 36 Months

After the initial 12 months of inclusive warranty and support, you can extend your warranty and support up to the third anniversary of your initial purchase. This will cover:


  • Adding additional contacts to the Skype address book
  • Keeping the CallGenie Software up to date
  • Remote support to address any performance and reliability issues that may arise
  • Replacement of any faulty parts(**) supplied as part of your CallGenie Appliance for a period of 36 months from your initial purchase.


** Faulty parts include those parts identified by Smart Life Solutions that require to be replaced to return the CallGenie Appliance to full working order after a failure.


However, we won’t replace any parts, free of charge, which no longer function due to physical damage, accidental or otherwise.