Real-Time Audio-Video Has New Virtual Webcam Driver in Horizon 6.0!

Jun 24, 2014

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Based in Palo Alto, Peter Brown is a director of R&D for VMware EUC and leads development for VMware Horizon Cloud Service.

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By Peter Brown, Senior R&D Manager, VMware

In my previous blog posts on Real-Time Audio-Video (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I talked about using RTAV on Windows, Linux, and OS X clients. We have had loads of really positive feedback about the functionality, and it has been great to hear how well received the feature is. We did however get some reports that some third-party applications did not work with the virtual webcam driver that we previously released. Typically these were in-house bespoke applications which of course we had been unable to test. Applications such as Skype, WebEx, and Google Hangouts worked very well with the driver, but we also found some web-based applications worked, but not with later versions of Internet Explorer (for example, IE10, IE11) and Chrome with the built-in PepperFlash.

As a result, my team has been hard at work on an updated virtual webcam driver. I am delighted to announce that the new driver is available today in our Horizon 6.0 release. This driver is a kernel-mode virtual webcam driver, and as a result it will appear in the Windows Device Manager.

Device_Manager

This we believe will provide a much broader range of apps with which the driver will be compatible. Testing has been done with some of the bespoke applications that previously did not work, and they now work really well. An added advantage of the new driver is that it uses significantly less CPU than the previous one. This will help maintain high consolidation ratios on your hosts.

To make use of the new driver, simply install the Horizon 6.0 Agent and select the RTAV feature during installation. The new webcam driver is called VMware Virtual Webcam. If—in the unlikely event that your bespoke application worked nicely with the old webcam driver but does not work with the new one—we have left the original driver in the product, too! This can be selected by choosing the virtual webcam driver called VMware Virtual Webcam (legacy).

We have also been hard at work with Polycom, and have done some work to verify that RTAV can be used with their RealPresence video-conferencing software. The minimum video resolution, however, for RealPresence is 640×480 pixels. The default for RTAV is 320×240. As a result, if your organization wanted to use RTAV for RealPresence, then previously the administrator would need to configure the default to 640×480 pixels on all client endpoints! This obviously would be rather painful. As a result, we have added a new agent-side GPO configuration option. This will only apply when users connect to Horizon 6.0 Agents (and later) and are using v3.0 Clients and later.

In the RTAV GPO .adm template (available in the GPO Bundle download), you will find two new policy settings:

  • WebcamDefaultResHeight
  • WebcamDefaultResWidth

These are not set by default, and, as a result, the default resolution will be 320×240 unless overridden by client settings. If, however, you set a new default resolution (in pixels), then compatible clients (v3.0 and later) will make use of that default resolution instead. This means that an administrator can configure this centrally for a pool, rather than having to visit all the endpoints!

We do look forward to hearing about your continued success with RTAV, and in particular with the new virtual webcam driver that is available in Horizon 6.0.

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