RemoteFX H.264 Codec Improvements in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

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Hi all, I’m Ayesha Mascarenhas, a Program Manager on the Remote Desktop Virtualization team. I have some exciting news about how we have extended the use of AVC/H.264 in RDP 8.1 to deliver a great remoting experience to resource constrained devices.

With Remote Desktop Protocol version 8, included in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and also available through an update for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, the RemoteFX adaptive encoding feature was introduced. This enabled us to encode each type of content (text, images, video) most effectively using the best codec for content. In Windows 8, only the video decoder was capable of leveraging AVC/H.264 hardware when available on the client device. The decoders for text and images were CPU based decoders.

With Remote Desktop protocol version 8.1, we have further enhanced RemoteFX adaptive encoding by extending H.264 support to images as well. This enables RemoteFX to offload all image decode processing to an AVC/H.264 hardware module. So both image and video decode is offloaded to the AVC/H.264 hardware module, and only text decode continues to be performed on the CPU. Devices such as Windows Surface RT take advantage of this RemoteFX improvement in Windows 8.1, delivering a great remoting experience in the form of significantly higher frame rates compared to Windows 8.

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  • Is this available (server side) in Windows 8.1 Pro, or only Entreprise and Server editions?

    Is this available (client side) in the new Android client?

  • Unrelated suggestion for your future posts: could you talk about file transfer performance over RDP and what can be done to improve it?  I have tried disabling display data prioritization (see "Display data prioritization", especially setting FlowControlDisable to 0), but it's still terrible compared e.g. to http(s).

  • i just updated windows 8 to 8.1 but i can not play some video when i play that videos then got a error message :: video codec is incorrect :  but before that update every thing is ok ... can you plz help me resolve this issue

  • So for all that might have gotten excited too soon:

    Read again Ayesha's last line - slowly.

    Fact is that there is currently (September 2015) one single device in the world that supports H.264/RDP-8.1 or in other words to which Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 R2 will send H.264 encoded data: The Microsoft Surface 2 (running Windows RT on Nvidia Tegra 4).

  • As I understand there is a horrible bug that causes Surface 2 (mstsc) MS Terminal Services Client (for example: Surface 2 to connect with 640x480 to Windows 8.1 Professional as well as Windows Server 2012 R2) to really struggle displaying the remote content due to horrible graphical H.264 decoding errors caused by invalid H.264 data sent by the server component/back-end? Is there a hotfix in development/available that would fix the H264 encoding on both the Windows 8.1 Client as well as Server 2012 R2 serving Remote Desktop to Surface 2 client please?

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RemoteFX H.264 Codec Improvements in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2