Today’s hardcore technical question comes from Thomas, who writes:
I use GoToWebinar and want to play a video during my webinar (.wmv), I have gotten it to work sometimes and sometimes its just a black box that the attendee is seeing. I called GoToWebinar and they said they are working on getting that to work and that sometimes it does work. She said, "Go search the internet, I know someone gets it to work" This is where I ran across your blog, do you know of anyone doing it consistently or a place that may have more information on the subject?
Thomas, I think you are doomed to disappointment with this approach. GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar have excellent screen sharing performance, but they are not designed to stream a smooth full motion video clip. The software effectively takes a series of screen snaps and displays them in rapid succession (this is a gross oversimplification!). While this approach is enough for small movements that are localized, a video has all the bits in constant motion. It will always come out looking jerky and choppy for many attendees.
As to the black video square, I have seen this problem show up when you have "Hardware Overlay" selected in your video player. Assuming you show the video in Windows Media Player, right-click and check under Tools:Options:Performance:Advanced - Then try unselecting the option for "Use overlays". If this doesn't help, you can experiment with the options on that page for "flipping" and "video smoothing." I'm afraid I can't give you an exact answer to your specific problem, but this is the right area to concentrate on.
Here is the relevant entry from the GoToMeeting FAQ page (https://www2.gotomeeting.com/default/help/g2m/tips_for_success/faqs.htm)
Is video streaming supported in GoToMeeting?
While we do not yet support streaming video, our GoToMeeting technology is fast enough to keep up with screen changes on the desktop, so it appears as if it is streaming video.
Because more data is being sent to all meeting attendees, bandwidth usage will go up for all meeting participants. The amount will depend on the resolution and length of the video.
Also, certain versions of Windows Media Player with DirectX (Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia application programming interfaces (APIs) built into Microsoft Windows operating systems), will not display the video.
To enable video display for your meetings, you need to disable Hardware Overlay for your player. Please see your media player's help section for directions on how to disable Hardware Overlay.
The sad thing about this statement is that bit about "certain versions of Windows Media Player with DirectX will not display the video." That means that some attendees with certain configurations on their machines are simply going to be out of luck.
Your workaround (and it's a clumsy one that I don't particularly like) is to host the video clip on a website and ask your attendees to go link to the proper page during your meeting, watch the clip, and then close that page so you can continue with your presentation. You lose control of the synchronization of events, but they can all see it.