Understanding Horizon View Real-Time Audio-Video (RTAV)

VMware announced today support  for Real-Time Audio-View as part of the VMware Horizon View 5.2 Feature Pack 2 (find the release notes here). Peter Brown and Tarique Chowdhury provided some quick tips, guidance and configuration tips in their article Real-Time Audio-Video (RTAV) for Horizon View. Great work!


Real-Time Audio-Video (RTAV) does not forward audio and webcam devices using USB. Instead the devices are left local to the client, and audio/images are pulled from the local devices. The audio/images are then encoded, delivered to the guest virtual machine, and decoded. A virtual webcam and a virtual microphone are installed in the guest virtual machine, which then “play” the received audio/video, and 3rd-party apps (e.g., Skype, WebEx, Google Hangout) can use these virtual devices.

Audio-out is performed from the standard View Agent audio-out functionality which provides better audio quality than using USB redirection.


I am not going to repeat my VMware colleagues, so here are the highlights of this new functionality in Horizon View:

  • General support for microphones and webcams with Horizon View desktops
  • Broader application support for use with webcam video and microphone audio
  • Audio/video from microphone/webcam is encoded and compressed on client endpoint
  • Bandwidth reduction to as little as 300-600kbps
  • Available for Windows clients

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 8.25.45 PM

At this point you might be asking about the differences between the new Real-Time Audio-Video support versus the Unified Communications Optimized Solution introduced with Horizon View 5.0. UC solutions work optimally in VDI environments enabling enterprise grade VoIP and video while ensuring all media is rendered on the client endpoint. The Real-Time Audio-Video feature effectively enables an improved microphone and webcam performance for bi-directional applications, while the media is host-side rendered.

There is no better or worse solution, it’s all about use cases. As an example,  Real-Time Audio-Video has a broader and generalized application support, while UC Optimized Solutions have limited application support. On the other hand, the UC Optimized Solution is completely scalable since its client-side media rendered with point-to-point media delivery, while Real-Time Audio-Video being host-side rendered introduces media hairpinning.

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.


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    • Purwa on 08/16/2013 at 9:32 pm

    Will it work on Zero Clients ? Or will it only work for windows soft client? How about Windows 7 embedded Thin Clients?

    • Tony Huynh on 08/20/2013 at 1:35 pm

    It should work for Windows 7 embedded thin clients. For zero clients, it won’t work today. If you don’t mind the high bandwidth, you can use USB redirection with webcams and zero clients.

    • Baruch on 10/09/2014 at 2:32 pm

    Is RTAV only available for virtual machines?
    I need a solution that allows me to remote on to a physical desktop and use two way video conferencing software with a webcam.
    I understand that VMWARE will only allow this protocol to remote on to virtual desktops and not on to actual desktops.
    I am considering using the teradici remote workstation solution with the 2240 and a zero client but not sure how well two way video with the webcam will work with that .

  1. Baruch, you can use Horizon View to access physical machines via PCoIP too. In saying that, I am not entirely sure RTAV is supported with physical machines. I would assume so!

    • Leon on 03/16/2016 at 2:15 am

    if I use RTAV with USB headset at local, with a call button, will the call button work?

    For example when a call is coming in, can I use the USB headset call button to pick up the call?

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