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Improve video quality by controlling CPU usage

Optimise your webinar

When hosting or speaking in a webinar, you join into a real time video call and you will often be sharing video from a local camera and sharing your screen.

Broadcasting high-quality video requires processing power of your computer’s CPU. If this isn’t available during the webinar, Chrome will drastically lower the quality of the video being broadcast to ensure the real time connection keeps running.

We generally recommend CPU usage on the computer be limited to a maximum of 60–70% while running a webinar.

Is my computer powerful enough to run webinars?

If you experience low video quality in webinars, it is worth confirming that the computer isn’t running out of resources.

Be particularly mindful of the usage if the video quality on your camera drops when sharing your screen, since sharing two concurrent video streams may be extra taxing for older computers.

How do I see my CPU usage?

On Windows computers you can see CPU usage in the Windows Task Manager. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch Task Manager, then, click the Processes tab and choose “Show processes from all users”. You should now see everything running on your PC at the moment. Then click the CPU column header to sort by CPU usage.

On Mac computers the same information is available in Activity Monitoring. To find Activity Monitor on a Mac, go to your Applications folder > Utilities folder, and then double-click Activity Monitor.

What can I do to minimize CPU usage during webinars?

  • Webinar quality relies heavily on the quality of video. Newer, more powerful computers will generally see better quality than older ones. We generally recommend not running webinars on computers older than three years and using a Core i5 Processor or better.
  • Disable all extensions in Chrome or join the webinar in incognito mode. Some extensions such as Grammerly and AdBlock+ have been reported to use excessive CPU resources during screen sharing.
  • Clear Chrome’s cache and image history. The webinar product relies on Chrome to handle screen sharing, and some Chrome users are reporting that CPU usage drops significantly when the cache is emptied.
  • Close all applications on your computer prior to running a webinar and you may even want to restart the computer. This will ensure that no other computers are using computing power while you’re live.
  • Put power on your laptop to ensure the best performance of the computer.
  • Computers will almost full disks show significantly higher CPU, so ensure that the computer has free disk space.
  • Disable VPN clients while running webinars as these clients may use significant computer power to run.