Last year, Citrix released the first version of Browser Content Redirection (BCR), our latest tool in the HDX Multimedia portfolio. This technology redirects entire web pages to the user’s endpoint, enabling their machine to decode and render websites that embed audio-video.
I wrote a blog about BCR earlier this year, which I recommend that you read.
Since BCR’s release, we have made numerous improvements, including:
- Support for blacklists (so you can override a whitelisted FQDN for certain URL paths)
- Support for fallback prevention to server-side-rendering (we can block videos)
- Support for websites that require authentication sites (OKTA, etc)
- Extension for the Chrome browser
- Support for Citrix Workspace app embedded browser
- Support for WebRTC websites (CWA for Windows 1809 or higher)
All of these, combined with our Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1811 release improvements, merit a revamp of BCR into a “2.0” release.
We invested so much into BCR because we see it as the Swiss army knife in today’s browser-oriented multimedia.
WebRTC has unlocked the potential of ubiquitous, real-time communications via browsers, and, in HDX, we are fully aware of its power. Hangouts, Teams, BlueJeans, and many more thrive on WebRTC.
You can see BCR and Teams in action here and in the video below.
Oh, and we also love HTML5 video playback! Video enterprise platforms are a constant request from our customers, and we are always in contact with Vbrick, Qumu, Kollective, and more. Even YouTube is a must-have, becoming a critical website that admins need to deliver to their workforce.
So, for all these cases, BCR is your solution if you are on a current release track.
What About the 7.15 LTSR?
In HDX we started surveying our customer base and quickly understood that the multimedia technologies in 7.15 LTSR were simply not enough for the modern-day enterprise IT. Access to video (live or on-demand) is imperative, and Windows Media redirection, Flash redirection, or HTML5 video redirection did not cater to their needs.
HTML5 video redirection could only accommodate a limited subset of websites leveraging progressive downloads. That was seen as a big gap by all the customers that decided to follow the LTSR track and required more advanced adaptive bitrate streaming solutions like HLS or DASH.
From an engineering perspective, BCR is closely related to its predecessor, HTML5 video redirection. They are so closely related that they share services, executables, dlls, and more. BCR superseded it, to be more precise.
Lastly, there were many customers who had to park on the LTSR because they ran Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008R2 VDAs. They could not move to a CR.
Combined, these three factors eventually enabled us to make an exception and create a compatible component to the LTSR 7.15 so you can deploy BCR in your XenApp/XenDesktop 7.15 site. Here’s how that would work:
A compatible component means that the component is not eligible for the LTSR benefits (extended lifecycle and fix-only cumulative updates). Citrix might ask you to upgrade to a newer version of BCR.msi within your 7.15 LTSR CU3 environments.
So, first, you must update to 7.15 CU3. When updating your VDA, you must do it from the command line and include a flag “/FEATURE_HTML5_DISABLE”. This will effectively remove HTML5-Video Redirection from the VDA and pave the road for BCR.
Citrix will make a stand-alone MSI available on our website (BCR.msi version 15.15), which you then will install on top of your newly updated CU3 VDA. This will add back HTML5 video redirection and add the additional components required for BCR.
You will need Citrix Workspace 1809 or higher to make this work (but we recommend 1810 or higher due to an audio bug). Citrix Receiver 4.9 LTSR is not compatible with Browser Content Redirection. Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.9 or higher is also supported.
As for the policies, you can either control BCR via regkeys on the VDA itself or use our ADMX template and deploy them via GPOs to the VDAs, also available from citrix.com/downloads. (Studio will not include the policies — we did not want to introduce changes to it).
Citrix releases new BCR.msi builds throughout the year (branching out from the CRs) to make bug and security fixes. Remember, BCR.msi is not tied to the five + five year support program of the LTSR, so Tech Support might ask you to upgrade to a newer BCR.msi version if the bug responsible for the call was fixed in a posterior BCR.msi release.
Lastly, Citrix will not support BCR.msi all through the lifecycle of 7.15 (2017 – 2022 with extended support up to 2027). We will give our LTSR customers enough time so they can migrate eventually to LTSR v3.
We hope this will enable you to bring multimedia workloads into your 7.15 CU3 LTSR environment.
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