Tag Archives: H.239

Installing a New LifeSize Room

Today was an exciting day! New equipment installations are always exciting! We were lucky enough to have a school eligible for a grant through Views On Learning to receive a new LifeSize Room system, plus really cool Ergotron cart and 50 inch display. Rolling the system down the hall in the school created quite a buzz!

This was my first opportunity to really test out a LifeSize unit. I did present from one in Nebraska last year, but didn’t get to really play with it.

Here’s the cart. Isn’t that a great cart – I love how lightweight it looks. Seems like it won’t be too hard to push around either. The display mount has some kind of cool technology that you can easily just move it up or down without any knobs or handles.

Of course we tested it fine to my office Polycom units, my Tandberg bridge. Registered it to our gatekeeper, tried out our dialing plan. Everything worked seamlessly.

I had to have a picture of the remote so I can assist the teachers when they call me on the phone needing help in a panic!

Hooking up the cables. It’s got an S-Video in, so we can use an existing document camera in the school. Here they are connecting the computer.

Testing sharing the computer (Mac login screen) with the other site.

Just like the new Polycom HD units, you can easily swap the layout of your picture in picture etc. on the screen.


If you’ve been reading this blog very long, you know that I have serious issues with H.239, so I was pretty nervous about how this would work. Of course it worked great to a Polycom HD unit with H.239 turned on. But what about when you connect to a unit that has H.239 turned off? Every other unit I’ve seen just complains and says the far site cannot receive the computer screen. Then you’re out of luck. One of the reasons H.239 really annoys me and I tell my schools never to buy the extras for H.239.

But. Wonder of wonders! I tested sharing the computer to my Polycom VSX 7000 with H.239 turned off. It sent just the computer. No errors or complaints!

I tested sharing the computer through my Tandberg bridge with H.239 turned off. Voila. It still sent just the computer. No errors.

Yay! Yay! I think this is the piece I’m most excited about.

It’s sooooo frustrating to have schools in MysteryQuests and other events where they want to share their computer and they think they can, but then it doesn’t work.

Hollywood Elementary has quite a few videoconferences this spring, so I’ll be looking to see how stable this unit is and how it interacts with other units in all the different types of calls that we’ll be doing.

Thank you to Views On Learning for the incredible opportunity to be part of this grant!

And thank you to Kevin Clark for taking the photos.

Day 17: Sharing Your Computer Screen: Potential Challenges

If you’re new to videoconference projects, you’re bound to run into a problem seeing or sharing a computer screen sometime soon. Here’s the situation and what to do about it.

H.239 / Duo Video / People Plus Content

Many of the manufacturers offer a feature that allows you to share your computer and your faces at the same time. This feature is great when you’re connecting to people on your network. It’s ideal for full length shared courses; making direct instruction better.

However, when you want to use this feature with another class from somewhere “out there” off your network, it’s a different story. There are several scenarios where it won’t work:

  • If the other school’s equipment doesn’t support H.239 (a lot of old units out there still)
  • If the other school’s equipment has the H.239 featured turned off
  • If the other school’s firewall blocks H.239
  • If the other school connects through a bridge and the bridge has it turned off
  • The bridge you connect through and the bridge your partner class connects through can’t pass H.239 between each other

So now, you realize that the chances of it working in a collaboration with a school off your network is really high! And now you know what can cause it.

What to Do

Either you will be the one trying to share the computer; or your partner class might try to share the computer… and poof, it doesn’t work. What do you do?

Forget the wires! My favorite solution is just that. Don’t connect it.

ZOOM!!! You can just set the laptop on a table; zoom the camera in; set a preset.


By the way, this solution is at least 4 years old and not my original idea. Complements of Joan Roehre, Kenosha, WI.

Your Turn

Have you thought of any other interesting creative solutions to problems in a videoconference? Please share!