Recently I wrote a few articles on Windows 365. and Microsoft released something interesting this week that brought me back for MORE! Many VDI and DaaS solutions offer media/CDN optimization around collaboration platforms like Teams and Zoom. Microsoft has taken it one step further by enabling Windows 365 Multimedia Redirection (MMR) for even more. A smart strategic move that could really help elevate Windows 365 to another level after their other recent investments and partnerships with VMware. Let’s discuss MMR briefly and check it out live!
What is Windows 365 Multimedia Redirection?
Simply, virtual desktop/desktops in the cloud do not handle real-time communications (RTC) particularly well. MMR solves this issue by providing smooth audio and video playback by letting your client machine do the heavy lifting.
The media is passed from the browser to the local machine, which helps support your journey to the cloud so much better.
Currently, these sites work with MMR today: (keep in mind there is a new feature in beta to enable video playback for all sites that you can enable at the extension level):
- AWS Training
- Big Think
- Bleacher Report
- Daily Mail
- Fox Sports
- Fox Weather
- Infosec Institute
- LinkedIn Learning
- Microsoft Learn
- Microsoft Stream
- NBC Sports
- The New York Times
- The Guardian
- U.S. News
- The Wall Street Journal
- YouTube (including sites with embedded YouTube videos).
You will see one of these icons when you are accessing the web via your browser:
Setting up Windows 365 MMR
Setting up MMR is relatively simple. It’s two parts:
- Install the host component via MSI
- Install the browser extension
In the video below, we will cover the super easy deployment for MMR which takes less than two minutes via Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Feel free to use this reference if you want to deploy via GPO as we are just leveraging the Edge CSPs to force install the extension: joeclbldhdmoijbaagobkhlpfjglcihd
Setting up Windows 365 MMR Demo
Windows 365 MMR User Experience Demo with the Remote Desktop Client
The demo of the experience can be seen below. A small note: I learned that it takes maybe 5-10m before it will work initially. I didn’t think it would work with the Windows 365 Client since that’s what the documentation said, but I was surprised to learn it did after I went through the trouble of trying it out and testing it!
Windows 365 MMR User Experience Demo with the Windows 365 Client
Now, we just check out the demo of things with the Windows 365 Client:
Windows 365 MMR Known Issues and Insights
A few known issues that some people:
- Sometimes it doesn’t kick in on the first browser tab, but using a second browser tab fixes it.
- It can sometimes take 10-15m or so to work for the first time
- Unsupported for protected content
- Some major issues that I see when resizing the window while videos are playing.
Overall I found that it works really well. I even tested a few websites that aren’t in the list and it has been pretty reliable. I’d say the biggest issue is how it explodes when you do resizing, but beyond that MMR is a really smart move by Microsoft, which I hope others like VMware will follow suit as it’s the natural progression of MMR on Cloud PCs and VDI in general.