End-user experience in any VDI or RDSH environment is very important. With HTML5 Multimedia Redirection, VMware offers a great feature to enhance the multimedia experience for the end-users.

With HTML5 Multimedia Redirection, HTML5 multimedia content is sent to the end user’s client system, which reduces the load within the VDI or RDSH session and therefore also on the underlying ESXi host. The client system will actually play the multimedia content and the end-user will get far better audio and video experience.

In this blog post, I will show you how to configure this feature.

System Requirements

The Horizon Agent and Horizon Client, and the remote desktops and client systems on which you install the agent and client software must meet certain requirements to support the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection feature:

  • VDI or RDSH images must have the Horizon Agent 7.3.2 or later installed with the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection custom setup option selected. This option is not selected by default.
  • The HTML5 Multimedia Redirection GPO settings must be configured on the Active Directory server.
  • The Chrome or Edge browser must be installed in the VDI or RDSH image.
  • The VMware Horizon HTML5 Multimedia Redirection extension must be installed in the Chrome or Edge browser.
  • Horizon Client 4.6 or later must be installed with the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection Support custom setup option selected. This option is selected by default.
  • The BLAST (Extreme) or PCoIP protocols must be used.
  • Client systems must be Windows based. Non-Windows client systems are not supported.

Horizon Agent

When installing the Horizon Agent (version 7.3.2 or later) in the image you will have to select the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection option during the installation.

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You can also install the feature silently from the command line by specifying the ‘HTML5MMR’ option, for example:

  • VMware-viewagent-x86_64-7.X.X-XXXXXXX.exe /s /v”/qn ADDLOCAL=Core,SVIAgent,RTAV,ClientDriveRedirection,ThinPrint,VmwVaudio,HTML5MMR

GPO Settings

Redirecting HTML5 multimedia content from a VDI or RDSH session to the local client system requires installing the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection feature and the Chrome or Edge browser within the VDI or RDSH image, enabling the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection plug-in, and specifying which websites will use this feature.

Assuming you already copied the “vdm_agent.admx” file (which is part of the VMware Horizon GPO bundle) in the SYSVOL folder of your Active Directory server, you can go ahead and configure the required VMware Horizon settings.

When creating the GPO, navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > VMware View Agent Configuration > VMware HTML5 Features

Enable the following settings:

  • Enable VMware HTML5 Multimedia Redirection
  • Enable Chrome and/or Edge Browser HTML5 Multimedia Redirection
  • Enable the URL list and fill in the value name, for example: https://www.youtube.com/* and do not fill in any value (leave this empty). It is important to include the http:// or https:// prefix in the URLs. You can use wildcards.
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For the Chrome and Edge browsers, you can opt to automatically manage and activate the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection plug-in for the end-users by configuring the following GPO settings.

For Chrome, download the chrome.admx file and copy this to the SYSVOL folder of the Active Directory server.

When creating the GPO, go to Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Google > Google Chrome > Extensions

Enable the setting “Configure the list of force-installed apps and extensions” and fill in the following line:

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To automatically enable the Edge browser plugin, please follow these instructions.

HTML5 Redirection plugin

If you have met all the requirements, it’s time to test if the configuration is working! Within the VDI or RDSH session, launch the Chrome or Edge browser, and look for the VMware Horizon HTML5 Redirection Extention icon in the right-upper corner.

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Note to the following:

  • The icon must be the color green. Only then the plug-in is active and ready for use.
  • If the icon is grey, then you haven’t met one of the requirements. For example, the Horizon Agent install parameter or Horizon Client version.

 

VIDEO TEST

For this test I have prepared the following VM:

  • Windows 10, build 1803 VDI
  • Horizon Agent 7.3.3 (This version is a requirement for Horizon DaaS)
  • Specs: 2vCPU, 4GB Memory

Lets first play a FULL HD (1080p) video without HTLM5 Redirection. We immediately see the CPU spiking to 100%. Furthermore, the image and audio quality are quite poor. Bandwidth consumption is around 200Kbps and 8Mbps, using BLAST Extreme.

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Let’s launch the same demo video (also in 1080p) with HTLM5 Redirection. We immediately notice the plugin icon changing with the addition of the blue “REDR” letters. This means redirection is fully operational. We notice the image and quality levels are excellent!

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When you look at the CPU resources, the CPU will stay around 20-40%.

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The bandwidth consumption is the same as playing the video without HTML5 Redirection, around 200Kbps and 8Mbps using Blast Extreme.

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Even when using a 1vCPU, 2GB Memory Windows 7 VDI, we notice a great multimedia experience!! With only about 40-60% CPU consumption.

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Conclusion

As you can read, configuring HTML5 Multimedia Redirection is not very difficult. It can enhance the multimedia experience for end-users significantly, whilst saving a lot of CPU resources within the VDI or RDSH session.

I’ve now done a simple test with youtube, but a good use-case for production environments would be a portal with demo or training videos and such.

The extra CPU, Memory and Bandwidth consumption on my client device was hardly noticeable, but be sure to check and test this upfront for your client devices in production environments!