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AV over IP - The Cloud That Hovers Over Audio Video Distribution

BZB Express reviews, evaluates, and demos products from their partner manufacturers who have embraced AV over IP as a solution for the future of Audio Video distribution.
  • <strong>The Cloud and AV over IP</strong>

AV over IP technology can span large enterprise networks from building to building, city to city, even around the world.

    FREMONT, CA, January 30, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A distributor of professional grade AV & Broadcasting equipment, BZB Express recognizes the potential of AV over IP. In fact, BZB Express review, evaluate, and demo products from their partner manufacturers who have embraced AV over IP as a solution for the future of Audio Video distribution.

The potential of AV-over-IP is promising beyond imagination. Innovators are learning how to navigate various signals in a single IP stream. The touchscreen & smartphone era will experience a level of connectivity unfathomable in today's world, but it is inevitable with AV over IP.

What is AV over IP?

The phrase "AV over IP" is pitched around a lot, but what does it all mean. In basic terms, it is the process of sending uncompressed AV signals over standard IP platforms. For a more complex definition, it means encoding the sources and streaming the content with some compression to mitigate bitrate over IP mediums. Conclusively, AV over IP offers extension and switching of video and audio sources over standard IP.

Why AV over IP?

Let's relive the good old days with dedicated telephone systems. The purpose back then was to transfer data through this system. Currently, if you were to design the infrastructure of a building or a network system, you wouldn't use those telephone cables anymore - everything is on the IP network nowadays.

The backbone of AV over IP is the network. There is no need for a large 64x64 chassis or any box type matrix that can cost well over six digits. That leaves us with encoders and decoders which are the hardware you'll invest in for your input and output nodes.

Scalability is one of the principal reasons why AV-over-IP makes sense. Projects of today may need changes even after an install, for example, new laptop connections or more displays are required. The solution is simple, just add more encoders and decoders plus a network switch, depending on how many nodes will be in the network.

How About Distance?

AV over IP technology can span large enterprise networks from building to building, city to city, even around the world. Keep in mind, not all AV over IP products have the ability to provide such services, but the technology has the capacity, and it's only a matter of time.

AV over IP versus Conventional AV Distribution

AV over IP solutions are comparable to traditional AV distribution systems. In the conventional system, each input, such as VGA, HDMI, or audio, would demand a free port to a media switcher, audio processor, or any other form of a centralized system. From there, it will transmit to the endpoint devices such as speakers or displays.

AV over IP, on the other hand, can eliminate the need for a media switcher. Input locations communicate directly with the network itself where the signal can then route to a network AV receiver. From the AV receiver, a local display or audio endpoint is connected. With an AV over IP solution, there are no limits to various types of signals across an independent cable connection.

AV over IP versus HDBaseT?

HDBaseT is still very much alive, even with the emergence of AV over IP. For example, you want to set up your home for AV distribution, and you know for sure you won't have more than four HD sources and displays. In this scenario, a small 4x4 matrix switcher with HDBaseT is all you need. Unless you plan on expanding this system, there is no need for AV over IP and in some cases, may be a more affordable solution.

A Stream of Convergence

Conventionally, sending a single audio or video signal requires a particular cable standard for a variety of devices and signal types. For example, a twisted pair for speakers, coaxial cable, 5-wire for RGBHV signals and HDMI will all need a dedicated pathway from the source device to the display.

These cable types vary widely and can be costly. There is also the labor of having to pull and terminate the cabling with different connectors. When various sources are expected to route to specific destinations, the complexity level rises exponentially. In the end, such a system for an infrastructure may end up being costly.

On the other hand, an AV over IP system treats each device as an endpoint on the network via category cables (e.g. Cat 5, Cat 6) and standard network devices (e.g. switches and routers) in between.

Typical AV products are designed with several types of connectivity. For example, s-video, composite video, component video, VGA, SDI, DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, etc. Modern day has made it plausible to convert current baseband signaling into IP streams that work over standard CAT cables, switches, and routers.

Current AV over IP Products in the BZB Express Catalog

Processing baseband signals over a network will require an IP encoder at the source device and a decoder near the display. Encoding a format into the system allows the user to send the signal to any decoder in the network. Let's take a close look at the top-selling AV over IP systems from the BZB Express Line.

Key Digital develops Enterprise AV, an HDMI over IP system for sending 1080p and digital audio up to 400 feet via category cable. This system utilizes H.264 video compression to allow 1,024 encoders with an unlimited number of decoders. Key Digital also developed a native control software called Compass Control, although 3rd-party control systems are compatible. A gigabit network switch that supports Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) is a requirement for this scheme. Key Digital will also endorse this system with a 10-year warranty.

OmniStream by Atlona is a five-product AV over IP series. An AV industry first, OmniStream offers dual-channel encoding and decoding to allow two independent 4K/UHD video streams. Dual-channel encoding/decoding provides redundancy and in essence, backs each other up for any reason a connection fails.

The Atlona Management System (AMS) software can be easily configured to control and manage the system, although 3rd-party control systems are compatible. VC-2 is a visually lossless codec with a light compression algorithm for minimal encode-to-decode latency. Omnistream is also equipped with Dante technology to allow two-channel audio distribution. Atlona supports Omnistream with a 10-year warranty.

ZeeVee provides two types of systems for AV over IP, HDMI and fiber. The key contrasts between the two are distance and cost with fiber controlling each category. Uncompressed 4K/UHD video and analog/digital audio are fully supported with each signal the ability to route independently. ZyPer4K is an infinitely scalable solution limited only by the ports of a 10 Gigabit network switch.

Key features that drive Zyper4K is USB 2.0 support for remote access to keyboards, mice, and other devices (KVM). Also, a video wall mode is built-in and can create a 5x5 video display utilizing ZeeVee's ZyPer Management program. ZeeVee backs their system with a 3-year warranty.

Hall Research unveiled their AV over IP system last year at InfoComm 2016. The HHD264 is a family of encoders and decoders utilizing H.264 compression. Full HD 1080p video and digital audio can be sent up to 100 meters with the ability to connect up to 64 encoders to 256 decoders. A Gigabit network switch is a requirement for 64 video streams, but a 100 BaseT network switch will work for a system with fewer sources. Besides, the HHD264 system also dispatches bidirectional RS-232 data with ease via Hall Research's proprietary Dynamic Virtual Matrix Windows software, although 3rd-party control systems are compatible. A 3-year warranty solidifies this product.

Taking It All In

The evolution of AV over IP has initiated a realm of unique possibilities for signal distribution. Businesses, public areas, organizations, and educational institutions need a better way to communicate 21st-century content.

The capacity to produce exceptional audio/video quality over long distances, along with the versatility to work with existing systems while offering unmatched scalability, are accurate facts the AV industry cannot ignore. The cost-efficiency for businesses to update their current network to AV-over-IP is also favorable when compared to traditional solutions. While audiovisual products may come with various connectivity types (e.g., composite, component, HDMI, VGA, DVI, etc.), it is possible to turn just about any signal into an IP stream.

The good news is AV-over-IP is not as daunting as most people think. Achieving stable, high-quality video and audio over an IP network is now conceivable. It's also well-recorded that there are many advantages to carrying those signals through the network. Once a signal is on the network it can be transmitted anywhere the network acknowledges. That simplicity is a major benefit for integrators; one that AV over IP can play a role in providing. On that same token, please visit the BZB Express online store to view the availability of the products mentioned above.

Since 2005, BZB Express has been providing professionals with audiovisual equipment. Located on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, they offer AV solutions worldwide. BZB Express has forged strong relationships with leading AV brands including Atlona, Key Digital, Kramer, TVOne, Avenview and many more.


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Florante Ancheta
BZB Express

Fremont, CA
USA
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