Sun 20th Sep 

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Zoom Guidance Note 2

Zoom lectures - how to watch

Although what follows may be obvious to many of you, it may be of interest to those who are not 'in the know'.

What do you need to watch an online lecture?

  1. something to connect to the internet so that you can bring the lecture into your home (or wherever you are)
  2. something to display the lecture so that you can see and hear it.
  3. some way of connecting the above two items together
  4. somewhere comfortable to sit (optional, but recommended)

Our recommendations:

item 1:  smart phone, tablet or laptop

item 2:  use your TV set,

item 4:  a sofa or armchair, in your lounge,

Smart TVs may combine items 1 and 2 and so you don't need to worry about item 3. See later for a discussion.

item 3: this is where things can be difficult to give advice because it depends on what you use for items 1 and 2 and the furniture arrangements in item 4.

Put simply, either you use a cable or you don't.

 

cable connection

TV set:

All but very old TV sets are likely to have a standard-size HDMI socket. All is not necessarily lost if yours doesn't  - see below. This discussion is about flat-panel TVs - if yours is a CRT type (almost as deep as it is high) then all is lost!

laptops:

PC laptops usually have an HDMI connection. So all you need here is a standard cable of suitable length having an HMDI connector at each end. 

possible complications

a) Old laptops and TVs. If your laptop doesn't have an HDMI socket, it will have a VGA connection. If your TV has a similar connection, you can use a  VGA cable PLUS an audio cable (sometimes called a 3.5mm lead) that connects the headphone socket on the laptop with a similar input socket on the TV. The TV may have an input called 'composite' or 'component'  which will use RCA-type plugs. It's much more difficult to explain than it is to set up; seek help if this applies to your TV.

b) New laptops and note books. There is a trend for new portables to be super-thin, leaving out some of the more-basic connections, and so it possible that your device does not have a dedicated video output. If this is the case, you will need to use a USB/HDMI adapter (readily available on Amazon, for example).


c) DisplayPort. This is a newish connector type. Just get the correct adapter cable (your TV might also have a displayPort input). Easy to find on Amazon). Newer thin laptops may have a mini HDMI or mini DisplayPort connection (or none at all - see above). Adapters are readily available - you just need the correct one.

 

tablets and phones:

These devices don't have a full-sized HDMI connection and so you need a cable with a standard HDMI connector at one end (for the TV) and a special connector at the other. These cables are readily available - there is an enormous choice on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.es.
The length of the cable is not that important - but if you're buying  a new one make sure it will be long enough - for some reason they always seem to be slightly too short when you try to use them!
 

cable-less connection

Warning - to the author this seems to be a difficult field to describe; his experience is limited and so may not be as up to date or as comprehensive as he, or you, would like. Corrections and observations are invited.

The generic term for the process is casting. Or, at least it is with Android systems. It is also known as mirroring.

Apple iPad and iPhone

The author has no first-hand experience with Apple products. 
Apple calls its product AirPlay Mirroring; it uses an Apple TV box which plugs into the TV set and connects to the house WiFi.
Can anyone add their experiences?
 

Android tablet

Both will cast to an Amazon Firestick (the author has one fitted to a Samsung dumb TV). To stream a Youtube video, the Firestick needs to have the Youtube app selected.

Windows 10 desktop, playing a Youtube video can cast to the Firestick. 

Miracast

This is a fairly new (2015) system that uses WiFi to cast from Windows 10 to a TV set that supports Miracast. Just to confuse matters, it is said to mirror (rather than cast) the computer screen on to the TV.

Smart TVs

You can cast from Windows 10 or an iPad to a smart TV if it has WiFi capabilities and supports miracast.

plug-in devices

There are several devices that can be plugged into a TV; they are controlled wirelessly by a remote control  and use  the house WiFi to connect to the internet. Their main use appears to be internet-enable older TVs so they can access online TV programmes.

Examples are Amazon Firestick (described above), Roku, Miracast, ChromeCast, Apple TV.

We have reports that Chromecast is particularly easy to use - but you have to use the Google Chrome browser.

 

WARNING

If you ask someone about their system, it is vital you know exactly what equipment they have and how it is connected. If possible, it can help to physically look at their setup.This may seem a bit extreme, and it can feel a bit like the Spanish Inquisition (I bet they weren't expecting that!). However, it's the author's experience that people forget about - or mis-describe - part of their set up, especially if it's been in use for some time. It's quite possible that they don't actually know what their system comprises

 

DRAFT