Zoom FAQ: Troubleshooting Blank, Grey, or Black Screen During Video Playback While Screen Sharing

Zoom’s “Share Screen” feature is an important tool when teaching online or hybrid courses. However, when it comes to screen sharing video content, the results may not be as expected.

A common problem when sharing video content, is that the video will not playback once screen sharing is turned on in Zoom. You may see a blank, grey, or black video playback screen once screen sharing is turned on. Audio may or may not play.

There are a variety of contributing factors:

  • Browser settings may be configured in such a way that prevents successful playback of video while screen sharing in Zoom
  • Browser settings may be incompatible with successful playback of video while screen sharing in Zoom
  • Zoom settings in hybrid or Zoom enabled classrooms may prevent playback of copyright protected content
  • Video playback issues may also result from bandwidth or technical capabilities of individual computers

Test playback of video content while screen sharing in the space and on the computer you will be teaching with in advance. If there are technical problems, follow the troubleshooting tips below.

Troubleshoot browser settings

Check your browser settings for hardware acceleration, or try playback in a different browser such as Firefox. Always test while screen sharing in Zoom.

  • Hardware acceleration settings can be adjusted for many browsers, with the exception of Safari–Set it to “disabled,” relaunch your browser, and try video playback again
  • Take note: Disabling hardware acceleration may negatively impact quality of the video playback–Evaluate quality of video playback before relying on this option

Its not my browser, the problem only occurs in my Zoom classroom

If you’ve determined the problem isn’t with your browser, and you are attempting video playback while screen sharing in a Zoom classroom, the problem may be a result of settings and video content flags related to copyright. Zoom does not support the playing of content with High-definition Digital Content Protection (HDCP). That said, IT Services has limited capability to adjust Digital Rights Management (DRM) settings for Zoom classrooms in specific cases when a public performance or educational fair use is allowed.

  • SMCCD staff or faculty may submit an ITS HelpCenter request to adjust DRM settings for a Zoom enabled classroom on a case by case basis
  • Settings will only be adjusted if public performance rights or an educational fair use is allowed
  • Adjusting DRM settings may or may not be successful, depending on DRM settings embedded in the video content by the publisher, distributor, or streaming service
  • Contact your college instructional support teams for more information about public performance rights or educational fair use of video content

Workarounds and additional info

If synchronous playback and viewing of video while screen sharing in Zoom doesn’t work for you, consider sharing a link to the content and asking students to view it independently, either before or during the class meeting. Learn more about this in the recommended solutions section of this article.

It may be possible to find alternative viewing options for the video you want to play–on a different streaming service for example. Check your college library’s streaming video service options–many of these either come with public performance rights or assure fair use exceptions for education. Contact your college library for additional information.

Other video playback tips and tricks*

  • Restart your computer, open the Zoom desktop client (rather than the web version), and close all other unnecessary applications
  • In the Zoom desktop client click Preferences (or Settings) > Video > Advanced, then disable any checkboxes related to hardware acceleration
  • When screen-sharing, check the boxes “Share computer sound” and “Optimize for video clip”
  • Be sure you and ideally also the video viewers have a high-speed connection to the Internet–Connect via Ethernet if at all possible.
  • Ideally use a relatively new computer with a good processor and graphics card for playing the video

*Tips thanks to Duke’s Learning Innovation Center

Checklist for submitting the software and cloud technology purchase request form

Need to submit a software or cloud technology purchase request? Good news! Here is a checklist of information to gather in advance.

notebook with checklist, pen, and cup of coffee

The items listed below support the completion of the product review process by ITS, administrators, and the business offices, including District Office purchasing.

  • VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) document
  • Accessibility statement (if available)
  • Privacy Policy
  • FERPA or HIPAA statements (if available)
  • Terms of use (or other user agreement or contract)
  • Licenses and users – For example: 1 staff user, 3 staff users, all students & employees, etc.
  • Access and authentication method details – For example: Single sign on, username and password, EZProxy, etc.
  • Other integrations as needed – For example: Canvas, WebSmart, Alma, etc.
  • Vendor contact and support details (may be one or more: sales, technical support, accessibility)
  • Product quote
  • Vendor’s product website URL

Another bit of good news–Watch for a new and improved request form coming soon!

Recalling all hotspots loaned by the colleges

This notice applies to anyone who has borrowed a hotspot from the San Mateo County Community College District.

SMCCD is recalling ALL hotspot devices including iPhones. Please make an appointment to return your hotspot.

Hotspots can be returned as of the day of this notice. Last day to return them without incurring replacement fines is June 4th, 2021. Data services will be disconnected on June 4th.

Why are hotspots being recalled? Our wireless provider has issued a recall for some devices that may overheat. While this is a rare occurrence and not all of our hotspot models are affected, SMCCD wants to ensure the proper functioning of all devices. We want to ensure your safety.

What can I do if I cannot come to any of the campuses to return it right now? We still need you to return it by the deadline of June 4th, 2021. In the meantime, follow these safety guidelines:

  • use only approved charging cables
  • put the hotspot on a flat and solid surface
  • don’t cover it, to allow ventilation
  • keep it at room temperature when using it
  • don’t expose it to extreme temperatures (i.e., a window sill, a hot car) for extended periods of time

What should I do if I need another hotspot for the Summer term? Please submit a new request for a hotspot. New hotspots will not be loaned to you until your old hotspot has been returned.

If you have any questions, contact any of our libraries:

Upcoming Zoom trainings and how-to resources

Need to refresh your Zoom knowledge or use Zoom for the first time? These upcoming online trainings and how-to resources will give you the support you need to use Zoom for remote work and online learning.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is a platform for video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and collaboration on the go. It is perfect for supporting online education and remote work.

It is provided by the District for use by all employees and students. Find your Zoom account on your SMCCCD OneLogin portal.

Download Zoom to your computer, in order to begin.

Scheduled Zoom Trainings & Resources

For more Instructions on Zoom Training and Resources visit our Zoom Beginners Tutorial Page: https://its.smccd.edu/zoom-for-beginners/

How to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on your OneLogin account

If you need to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on your OneLogin account, follow the instructions provided below.

Why do I need MFA?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to applications accessed through your OneLogin single sign-on account.

SMCCCD staff and faculty may be required to use MFA to access certain applications from off campus, such as VPN or Alma.

How do I set up MFA on my OneLogin account?

Follow the steps below to set up MFA on your OneLogin account.

  1. Login to OneLogin, with username and password
    (Example: jdoe, do not use full email address)
  2. If prompted, follow prompts to set up MFA
  3. Edit your profile phone number as follows
    OneLogin profile menu options
    1. Select “Profile” in your account drop down menu
    2. Verify your mobile phone number is added to your account, update as needed
      OneLogin profile update phone option
    3. Save
      OneLogin update phone number
  4. Select “+” to add 2-factor authentication
    Add 2-factor authentication
    1. Set up OneLogin Protect as default method
      (This uses the OneLogin Protect mobile app)
      Select OneLogin Protect
      1. Download “OneLogin Protect” from your phone’s app store
        OneLogin Protect mobile app
      2. From OneLogin Protect app, select “+” to add your account
        OneLogin Protect mobile app add account feature
      3. Using the app, scan the QR code on your computer’s OneLogin account settings page. Once scanned, a green check mark verify the scan has been accepted.
      4. Your mobile app will display your “smccd” account, and a code that refreshes every 30 seconds
        OneLogin Protect app account settings
      5. You have now successfully set up OneLogin Protect as a 2 factor authentication option
        OneLogin Protect 2-factor authentication added
    2. Set up OneLogin SMS as additional 2-factor authentication method
      Note: OneLogin SMS (2-factor authentication via text message) is recommended as an additional method, rather than the default method because it will not work if roaming text is not allowed on your mobile device for any reason such as when traveling internationally
      1. Select “+” to add an additional authentication method
      2. Choose OneLogin SMS as the vendor method
        Select OneLogin SMS
      3. Click the link to “Send Security Code to mobile”
      4. Enter the security code received via text on your mobile device in the “Security Code” box
      5. Select “Continue”
      6. You have successfully added OneLogin SMS as an additional 2-Factor Method
  5. You may choose either method to be your default, depending on your needs
  6. When logging in to OneLogin apps, you may be prompted to use MFA

Printable instructions (.doc)

Credit: Instructions are a modified version of those written by Aaron Soo of SMCCCD ITS.