Bad Video Quality During a Call? Here’s How to Fix It

by in Best Practices, Technology

The quality of a video call can truly make or break a meeting. Poor video quality is not only frustrating, but it can limit productivity and keep your team from reaching their goals. By addressing concerns with video quality ahead of time, you can maximize the efficiency of your meetings and achieve team goals faster. In this blog, we look at the common culprits of a bad video call and provide helpful tips for improving your video conferencing call quality.

Blurry image of video camera

The Common Culprits of Bad Video Quality

Bad video quality is a reality for too many virtual meetings, perhaps because people don’t know how to properly diagnose the issue. The truth is, there’s usually only a handful of reasons why the video quality is poor, all of which can be resolved fairly quickly.

A bad WiFi signal

If your wireless network lacks the strength or scope for a stable signal, it’s likely you’ll experience poor quality video as a result. Despite improvements from internet service providers to enhance the range and consistency of WiFi, occasionally there’s still interference from other devices or weakened signals sent by older equipment. Whatever the cause, a bad internet connection can turn your video conference into a pixelated mess.

An overworked processor 

Your central processing unit (CPU) is the key component to all of the processes running on your computer. When the CPU is overworked, your computer is likely to become sluggish, programs may freeze and your device might get hot to the touch. Running too many apps or running a program designed for a faster computer can lead to an overworked CPU and, in turn, bad video quality on your latest conference call.

Camera or microphone issues

If you’ve ever encountered subpar audio or picture quality on your device, it could be that something is blocking these features from functioning as intended. Without even realizing it, we can be covering up our laptop’s microphone or leaving fingerprints on our camera (creating a smudgy view). Sometimes the issue is simply a poor-quality webcam, but other times the problem may be a consequence of user error.

Low battery

When joining a video conference call from your laptop or phone, it’s possible your device will switch into “power saving” or “low power” mode. Upon reaching a certain percentage, low power mode will shut off select features to prevent your battery from draining too quickly. While this has its advantages (like cutting down on how often you charge), it can also slow your device’s performance and interfere with video quality.

What to Do (Before Your Meeting) to Ensure Video Quality Is Up to Par

When it comes to how to fix the quality of a video, there are a handful of troubleshooting tips that can be implemented. By checking on the most common causes of poor video quality prior to your next meeting, you can feel confident you’ll be clearly seen and heard by your fellow team members (and vice versa).

1. Clean your camera and microphone

If you’re using a built-in camera and microphone on your device, take a minute to gently wipe both with a clean, microfiber cloth. This will help remove any smudges or dust that might be blocking your audio or obstructing your view. And don’t forget, you can test out the clarity of your camera and mic before your meeting with the Lifesize App or Desktop URL.

2. Hardwire in (if possible)

While perhaps a bit less convenient, a hardwired connection to a router is much faster and more reliable than its wireless counterpart. We don’t typically notice our internet speed while we’re just browsing or checking our email, but for any video streaming services, Ethernet has superior download and upload capabilities as compared to regular WiFi.

3. Move closer to your receiver/modem

Taking calls from your patio may seem like a nice idea while working from home, but it could be the reason your screen is glitching. Simply put, the closer you are to your receiver, the more secure your connection will be. Proximity is vital for smooth streaming and improved video quality, so don’t be afraid to cozy up to the modem on your next conference call.

4. Close other apps/tabs

It’s easy to overload our phones and computers with apps or tabs we’re no longer using (but forget to close). If you have a number of different applications open during a video call, do yourself a favor and exit all but those necessary for your meeting. This will prevent your CPU from being overworked or overheated and help you avoid any unnecessary quality issues.

5. Restart your computer

A tried-and-true remedy for technical difficulties is to unplug or restart your equipment. If your problems persist after attempting a few other suggestions on this list, go ahead and restart your computer or whichever device you’re on. It may be that things will work better after they’ve had a chance to cool off, rest or reset.

6. Check other devices

Are other people using your same internet connection to stream Netflix, download games or something similar? If so, it’s possible they’re absorbing much of your available bandwidth. When using a local network with high traffic (like with coworkers or housemates), you can politely ask them to limit these activities for the duration of your meeting.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

It’s Not Me, It’s Your Video Connection

Sometimes, it’s not your fault a video conference is struggling with poor quality — it could be another participant who is making things a bit more difficult for the group. If that’s the case, do them the kindness of sharing this article on how to fix bad quality videos. By improving one person’s microphone function, bandwidth potential or connectivity issues, you’ll ultimately enhance the meeting for your whole team. Better video quality lends itself to clearer communication, stronger teamwork and greater results overall.

How Lifesize Makes It Easier for High Quality Video to Be Sent and Received

If you or your company are in search of a premium video conferencing platform, check out Lifesize. Rated best in class for audio, video and content-sharing clarity, Lifesize has set a new standard for virtual communications. Thanks to its use of compressed data, Lifesize has made it easier than ever for high quality videos to be sent and received. This compression translates to a number of benefits, including smaller storage demands and lower bandwidth requirements. With Lifesize, you can expect higher quality video calls with fewer interruptions and more seamless streaming every time.

Conclusion

Poor quality can be the bane of video conferencing’s existence, but fortunately, there are accessible solutions to try when joining a call or watching a prerecorded meeting. So if choppy audio or video takes over, don’t let it stop you from hosting or attending your meeting as planned. Instead, consult this list on how to fix poor video quality, share this information with your colleagues and resolve whatever the issue is in a snap. For additional information on improving your video conferencing experience, check out our blog: Video Conferencing Setup Requirements: Your Checklist for Hardware and Software.