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The Current State of AV over IP and Potential Future Developments

The Current State of AV over IP and Potential Future Developments

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AV over IP is a hot topic in a variety of industries where sending audio and video through simple, robust and reliable channels is an important goal. The event tech industry is one area where the ability to easily set up, use and break down equipment that fulfills those AV needs is imperative. Industry leaders like Alford work in hundreds of facilities each year, so streamlining the process for setting up the audio and visual components of the conference – not to mention the stability and quality improvements that come with using the AV over IP approach – is especially attractive.

In clear terms, AV over IP is simply the transmission of audio and visual signals through an internet protocol. Where earlier technologies used Ethernet (or fiber optic for extremely long runs) cables for sending standard audio and video signals, AV over IP uses Internet Protocol over those cables and signals are routed through network switches. There are several benefits in terms of transmission and display, including cutting down on the number of cables used, primary and backup signals. These can theoretically handle all the audio and visual signals needed for an event with the easy use of a variety of inputs and outputs and standardized infrastructure. Also, they can be converted to fiber to virtually eliminate length limitations. This ultimately means that the health and capacity of the network can be managed from one location to ensure the reliability of the network throughout the show.

When these technological improvements are combined with the practical and experiential advantages AV over IP offers during events, it’s clear to see why the concept is so attractive to Alford’s experienced staff and many others throughout the industry. Straightforward, versatile and secure transmission of AV signals is an advantage worth pursuing.

Audio over IP: Proven and Active

Sending audio signals over IP is already a reality in the events world and beyond, with networking technology currently in use in a variety of different contexts. Audinate’s Dante protocol, a closed-source approach with wide acceptance throughout many industries, is a clear example of the existing use of audio over IP. Popular among project managers, technical staff and many other professionals who work with audio in one form or another, Dante delivers high-quality audio through a streamlined format.

Although Dante is the leading name in audio over IP – including its use as the digital interconnect for a primary line of Yamaha consoles – there’s another portion of the market using alternatives. At Alford, we actively deploy Dante networks but also keep options open to explore new and different avenues as they are available.

Regardless of the protocol used, audio over IP is a tool already in widespread use, to the benefit of both event staff and audiences. However, video over IP isn’t yet as advanced.

Video over IP: Coming Up Quickly

The relatively low bandwidth needed to effectively transmit audio signals over IP is a major reason why that specific method is already fully formed and in use. Video, with significantly higher bandwidth demands, is still a work in progress. The hardware necessary to support the bandwidth is not readily available at a cost-effective price yet.

Various different protocols have been released over the past few years to support video over IP, with one of the most promising being SMPTE ST 2110.  What sets ST 2110 apart from the other protocols is its ability to send uncompressed video streams over the IP.  SMPTE has ensured future expandability with the support of 8k video and beyond.  ST 2110 is currently being embraced by the industry with many manufacturers already supporting the standard on their networks, Audinate’s Dante network being one of them. The 2018 National Association of Broadcasters show featured an IP Showcase where AV and network manufacturers talked about the progress already made and their commitments to the roadmap going forward.

The one hurdle that still needs to be cleared is cost-effective hardware to support the higher resolution video formats such as 4K 60 4:4:4. 10 Gigabit switches are needed to support 4K 60 video and even faster hardware will be needed to support resolutions in excess of 4K 60.

With video over IP in its infancy, the total AV over IP solution isn’t yet completed. However, it is well underway to having this be a reality in the near future.

 

 

 

 

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Alford Media