AV over IP is a big trend in the commercial AV industry. It has more potential than traditional AV solutions and integrators may find more room and space to explore and develop with the knowledge of it. Of course, traditional AV still has its value and market needs and sometimes is irreplaceable. If you’re looking to serve a larger business or organization, AV over IP is the field you should know about.
We will start with the differences between AV over IP solutions and traditional AV solutions. In the meantime, you will learn the advantages of the importance of AV over IP in the market. Later we will look at a use case and products that are used in the project.
Let’s dive right in.
AV over IP vs. Traditional ProAV
Traditional ProAV solutions do not support connections via a network switch and they only connect in a point-to-point manner (unless you use a matrix switch). Hence, they are not really scalable and more designed for small-scale household use or builds for small business spaces or offices.
AV over IP is another story. These solutions transform data into an IP form and transmit data via your network. It’s more flexible to travel through devices in the LAN and it can serve as the combination of a switcher, a splitter, an extender, and a matrix switcher. Also due to this centralization feature, it would be easier to manage, collaborate, and control a sizable system via an AV over IP solution.
The advantages of AV over IP over traditional AV:
- Highly scalable
- More flexible in dealing with the data
- Centralized control and collaboration
We can discuss them a bit more to learn whether you would love to get more involved in the realm of AV over IP.
If we take HDMI extenders as an example, the most common traditional AV solution is HDMI extenders over HDBaseT. There are more extender types too, for example, HDMI baluns, HDMI over fiber, or WiFi.
For extenders over HDBaseT and HDMI baluns, the transmitter and the receiver are connected via an Ethernet cable. It’s a one-to-one direct connection and direct connection only. The same for extenders over fiber only that they are connected via fiber modules. WiFi connection is less stable, quite obviously and it’s not open for any one-to-many or many-to-many connection as well. They are not scalable compared to AV over IP solutions. As you can imagine, when you wanna extend 20 HDMI sources to another place in the room, you gonna get a carpet of cables.
What about HDMI over IP? The scalability of AV over IP comes from the form of IP data. The source data is transferred into IP data by the transmitter. It is copied, switched easily travels much more freely in the network, and transfers back to HDMI when it gets to the receiver end of the display device.
You can easily add up more extenders in your network by connecting more kits to your network switch. Almost nothing will stop you as long as the switch and the product itself are capable of handling this bandwidth of data. Using network switches as a hub for connection and installation also helps extend the distance of transmission.
As we have discussed above, AV over IP allows data to be copied and switched, and to travel more freely and flexibly in the network. Unlike one-to-one direct connection, this kind of installation has less limit on the exclusive match of the transmitter and the receiver. Transmitter A can be easily routed to match with receiver B, receiver C, or receiver Z, or to match all of them at the same time.
This flexibility allows integrators to plan and customize a solution for their clients with less restriction. As AV over IP solutions can be highly customizable, it is also more competitive and helps save your clients’ unnecessary hardware costs.
AV over IP solutions are scalable and flexible, which makes the network, in fact, more complicated. One-to-one connection is simple and clear and you will know exactly how they work in the system when you see them; however, what if there are 100 transmitters and 88 receivers connected via 3 network switches in the LAN?
This is why integrators should seriously consider the controlling options of their ProAV solutions as well. If the solution can build up a really powerful system, but it requires a super steep learning curve to control and manage it, your client won’t be happy about that. It’s just like you own a super strong, fast, and durable horse but you can never take the reins.
The centralized control over an AV over IP system is mostly realized by a Web UI or an application. If it’s designed as an intuitive and user-friendly platform, end-users can easily manage how the content is distributed.
Use Case: Build a Video System in a Sports Bar
The key to the video system in a sports bar is that the system shall be able to integrate a good number of video sources and TV displays to stream different games at the same time, and have enough viewing spots for a group of fans. In the meantime, it’s easy to control.
Depending on the design of the sightlines and seats in the bar, different sizes of TVs may be needed. Sometimes you need a video wall that is built using a number of TVs, sometimes you need a big enough TV to present several sources via multiview.
This article introduces how AV Access 4KIP200 encoders and decoders are used in this kind of project; 4KIP200M is later released to add the feature of quad view or multiview (2-4 sources on a single TV) to the video system.
More case studies you may be interested in:
Commercial AV is not an easy field to master. There are always too many details to pay attention to and AV, network, tech, hardware, and software knowledge to be learned before you can make things right for the client. You can always choose the more potential and the right niche that matches with the market accessible to you. Good luck, integrators.