One of the major benefits of using Skype as a free service (versus Google’s video chat) was the group calling function. This was especially important having four remote employees, whom with we could now see and talk to all at once. Having people working remotely was the driving force behind using Skype, as we needed a way for them to feel more connected to everyone at the main office.
During the beginning of the set-up process it became clear we needed to outfit our conference room to allow multiple people at the office to have Skype meetings. We bought a 55 inch, Insignia LCD HDTV and mounted it on the wall, facing one end of our conference room table.
We connected the TV to a computer, which we placed on a small shelving unit nearby and out of the way. We have a wireless keyboard and mouse (Logitech MX3200) to use, so the computer can be operated from the conference room table. Some sort of wireless or Bluetooth device was necessary to eliminate dragging cords around the room and to allow us to keep the computer out of the way.
The keyboard and mouse posed some technical difficulties we were not expecting. The strength of wireless signal is better the closer you are to the computer; as the batteries die and if you sit further away the level of functioning goes down. We would recommend using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, this will provide you with the largest range of motion.
We also noticed right from the start a difficulty in using the mouse. Navigating around the screen seemed sluggish and awkward. There was a definite difference in using the conference room computer – it was harder to get the precise and quick movements we were all accustomed to using at our desktops.
We began troubleshooting, and tried reconfiguring the settings for the mouse on the computer. We re-installed the drivers, tested new devices and nothing was working. Finally, almost five months past the initial set up, we researched the issue further and found reports of others having similar problems with HDTVs. They cited connecting to a HDMI source, post-processing due to a game mode slows down the mouse. While we were unable to find a “game mode” on our own television, we disabled the settings for “motion improvement” and “artifact removal.” This change immediately resolved the problem, the mouse now works with the same quality it would at a desktop. All this time we had been attributing the problem to the computer or wireless device, when the television settings were to blame.
We also bought wireless PC speakers to use for sound. We couldn’t have sound coming from the television speakers because we would get feedback, having the microphone on the webcam right there. We have the wireless speakers placed in the back of the room (opposite of where the computer and television are). If we have a full room we need everyone to hear and be heard. The speakers we bought are wireless Rocketfish PC speakers. We went with wireless because the room was already set up and we didn’t want to deal with wiring speakers around the room.
Stay tuned for more on how we perfected our set-up for Skype meetings in the conference room.