Optimize Azure VDI for Meetings and Video Playback

Optimize Azure VDI for Meetings and Video Playback

This article focuses on video and audio redirection through VDI, specifically optimizing Azure VDI for meetings and video playback. 


If you use the standard Windows image and deployment method for browsers and meeting software, your media encoding and compression tasks take place on your local computer and are then sent to the other parties in your session directly. This works great when you’re connecting to multimedia streams directly from your desktop, but when you access these outlets from a remote session on a hosted VDI, things get a little trickier.

The video/audio capture devices aren’t on the workstation that’s actually participating in the stream so the video/audio needs to be captured/encoded/compressed and sent to the VDI. Then the VDI unpacks it just to re-encode/compress and send to the destination devices. This process causes an undue amount of double processing and results in poor video/audio quality. 


Multimedia redirection comes to the rescue! With multimedia redirection, the AV-optimized client software pushes the encoding/compression tasks back to the originating workstation which, in turn, directly sends the stream to the other third parties joined to the session. 

WebRTC Enabled: Peer-to-Peer Teams on WVD
WebRTC Enabled: Peer-to-Peer Teams on WVD

It’s important to note that this feature is currently only supported by Microsoft while using the Remote Desktop Application. In fact, because the feature is still in preview, you must add a registry entry to your client workstation(s) to gain access to the “insider” features of the app for this to function. 

gain access to the “insider” features

This means that if you’re accessing a VDI session host via direct RDP or Bastion, the features won’t function as desired and the browser plugins won’t load. 


To configure Multimedia Redirection there are several tasks that need to be completed:

First, add Registry Key to VDI Hosts

  • Dword – IsWVDEnvironment – Value: 1

Second, update Visual C++ to the latest available.

Third, install the redirection software. Browser extensions for video playback:

  • Edge
  • Chrome
  • Users may be prompted to turn on the extensions after they’re installed:
turn on the extensions after they’re installed

Fourth, add the “insider” registry key to the end user workstation.

  • Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
  • [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSRDC\Policies] “ReleaseRing”=”insider” 

Fifth, enable browser extensions through GPO.

Sixth, configure AV Redirection for Teams

  • Run the configuration script and install the Teams for VDI client software: Configuration script
  • The script above should install the correct build of Teams, but if Redirection doesn’t work after the installation and a reboot you may need to download the latest version and install it manually
  • Teams for VDI client
  • msiexec /i <path_to_msi> /l*v <install_logfile_name> ALLUSER=1 ALLUSERS=1


Once you’ve installed and configured the redirection components, you should now be able to validate that redirection is working. 

When you initiate video playback on the VDI session, you should notice that it’s much more responsive than before the redirection configuration.  

In your web browser, you should also be able to see that the Redirection Extensions are installed and show a positive status. When actively redirecting streams, the extension will show with a green play button.

the extension will show with a green play button

Various other statuses may present:

Various other statuses may present

When you launch the Teams desktop app in the VDI session and check the version information, a message about AVD optimization should present.

a message about AVD optimization should present
a message about AVD optimization should present

Finally, your device settings should reflect a selection of the available audio and video devices on your local computer. 

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If you need support working through this at your organization, Threadfin can help. Contact us today.

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