Al Bsharah Business Minded, Technically Inclined

Build a Cheap DIY Zoom Room for your Living Room

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It all started when my friend Ryan was looking for a way to turn his Living Room into a Zoom Room.

Since we’re all on COVID-19 self-quarantine, my wheels started spinning. I have a Stick PC that I’ve historically used for rotating our family photos and videos on the big screen. I decided it was time to try it out with Zoom to see if it was powerful enough to handle the duties of video conferencing.

Below is the list of components I used. In theory, if you have an old webcam, keyboard, and mouse laying around you can get in pretty cheap.

Intel Compute StickI paid $130 for it in April 2018, no idea why it’s $170 in March 2020.
Logitech WebcamI literally found this thing laying around in the garage. It’s from 2011. No joke. My guess is you can get one that’s far better than this for well under $100.
Keyboard and MouseWireless USB. Pick your poison. Again, I had an old one laying around.
Optional iPadIf you have the right Zoom Room licenses, you can set up an iPad touch interface to manage it all. I have an old one laying around that would do the trick.

I think I might have spent more time finding the webcam, keyboard, and mouse than I did actually setting this up to work. Literally took me like 7 minutes to install Zoom and fire up a meeting. It worked surprisingly well.

Next steps for me:

  • Test it with a higher quality webcam (i.e. 1080p) just to make sure it doesn’t choke, but the old 720p cam works pretty well.
  • Next step #2: I have an old Mac Mini that could likely also act as the hub. Might be worth a test there.

Next steps for you:

About the author

Al Bsharah

Al’s been involved in multiple San Diego startups since 1999 after leaving the Detroit auto industry as an electrical engineer. He's started two of his own companies where he's raised capital from both VCs and angels, and sold one of them to both Seismic and Return Path. He resides on the board of Startup San Diego, is a Tech Coast Angels member, and has graduated both Techstars and Founder Institute accelerator programs where he now mentors. Al is currently the Vice President of Product Operations at Seismic and in his free time he manages to play a little beach volleyball, invest in startups, trade stocks, and camp with his wife, son, dog, and friends.

By Al Bsharah
Al Bsharah Business Minded, Technically Inclined