Citrix offers first desktop virtualization solution to support H.265 for graphics remoting.

The successor to the widely used H.264 video codec, the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) — also known as H.265 — now is supported by Citrix XenDesktop 7.16 and NVIDIA GPUs.

If you know your codecs and the various Citrix graphics modes, then you know we have been using the H.264 codec in one way or another since we introduced HDX 3D Pro back in 2009. (That introduction was another of our firsts in the desktop virtualization market.) In fact, by default, H.264 is still in use today for actively changing regions (aka selective H.264) and for full screen with HDX 3D Pro (the Optimize for 3D Graphics workload policy in 7.16).

The new generation H.265 codec provides even more data compression (uses less bandwidth) without sacrificing image quality or superior quality at the same bit rate. This depends on the use case or how you look at it.

Customers react positively

Here is some early feedback we received from customers:

Watching a full screen 4K video @ 60FPS and it is absolutely stunning!

No drop in quality and no frame drops. It is staggeringly good to look at!

What do you need to start using HEVC/H.265?

  • XenDesktop 7.16 virtual desktop agent (VDA) running on Windows 10 v1607 or newer
  • policy enabled
  • Receiver for Windows 4.10 client (see documentation for enabling H.265 here)
  • NVIDIA GRID Pascal GPU on the VDA*
  • H.265 capable GPU on the endpoint*

*Because of the performance required to support the additional compression of H.265, hardware encoding/decoding is required.

How can you verify HEVC/H.265 is in use?

You can use the HDX Monitor tool available for download here.

You can use NVIDIA’s System Management Interface tool (nvidia-smi) to validate the codec type in use is H.265, as show in the screenshot below.

Roberto Moreno
Product Management, Workspace Services – HDX

Follow @RobCMoreno