Within this page are examples of questions and situations in which a faculty member might find themselves visa vie using (or wanting to use) streaming media (films) in their classes and the corresponding answers/solutions.
This is usually an operating system (OS) player thing that is a technical issue coupled with a copyright issue. The reason Zoom turns gray is that it is programmed to do that in order to not violate copyright laws. In techno-speak: the DVD uses HDCP protection. HDCP is a type of Digital Rights Management encoding intended to prevent piracy by providing an encrypted tunnel between an output device (Blu-ray player) and the receiving end (a computer screen).
PIRATE HACK: Since Zoom generally only recognizes the players of standard OP (such as Mac and Windows), try playing the DVD using a third party player such as VLC Player instead of the media player provided by your operating system. Don't be a real pirate. Note the legal ramifications of playing a video via Zoom.
Remember that sharing media over Zoom is not the best way to watch something longer than 5 minutes. If your class requires students watch an entire film:
Our DVD collection is currently unavailable for in-person reserves due to our inability to maintain an adequate decontamination system for circulating items. So, faculty are unable to put a DVD on reserve for their students. We are therefore putting all of our efforts into providing streaming access to video titles that faculty need for their courses.
Though Netflix does offer a limited number of Netflix documentaries for your classroom, due to copyright and licensing restrictions, the library is unable to provide access to commercial streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc. Indeed, none of these personal streaming vendors neither offer nor grant rights for institutional, educational, or public performance purposes. Also, the Netflix End User License Agreement, which you agreed to when you created an account, specifies that the account is "only for your personal, non-commercial use," so showing a Netflix video in class (in person or online) is technically a violation of this agreement and is, alas, illegal. For a detailed explanation of this issue, you can access “Can I Show Netflix Films to my Class?”
Open Access Streaming Sites
There are many sites such as PBS Frontline, PBS Nova, American Experience, and WGBH Open Vault that offer open access streaming of video content. The guide linked below links to over 30 such sites that offer access to streaming videos. These sites may host content or merely point to content hosted elsewhere. Advertising supports some of these sites. Others are the official site for a producer, distributor, series, or festival. Searching functions on these sites vary widely, and content can change or be removed without notice.
This is a pure technical issue and is affected by multiple factors including one’s internet connection rate and that of the streaming server involved. However, the biggest variable is the quality of the streaming video and audio itself. Though the video usually defaults to the highest quality (1080p), a user can mitigate these quality variables by manually selecting the desired video quality (360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p). The lower video quality means smaller file size, which means faster download (which is helpful if your internet connection is not so good), but of course lower quality picture. Audio quality, which is a separate un-adjustable stream, remains the same for all video quality settings (126 kbps). BTW, for a comparison the audio bitrate for Spotify is 320 kbps, for iTunes its 256 kbps, a music CD is 14ll kbps.
Video Titles Not Available in a Streaming Database: Unfortunately, not every video title that a faculty member requires for their course is available in one of our streaming databases. In such a case, you can request that we try to find it from another source. Please use this form to request streaming media that are not currently available on one of our streaming databases. This includes titles that we may already have in DVD format. There is no guarantee that we will be able to locate a streaming version of the requested title. However, we will use all of our powers of searching and investigation to locate it. If it is available out there, we will find it.