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HDMI over IP

AV over IP technology is about the transmission of uncompressed audio and video over a standard IP system. AV over IP overcomes the challenges of a typical box-type matrix switcher (e.g., 8x8, 16x16, and 32x32) by eliminating port restrictions and resolving concerns associated with scalability, distance, flexibility, image quality, and cost.In the AV world, AV over IP has become synonymous with video over IP, HDMI over IP, and HD over IP. In simplest terms, all it means is extension and switching of video and audio sources over a conventional IP network.

Since AV over IP utilizes existing network devices, there is no need to rip through walls to establish a separate cabling system. Present equipment such as desktop PCs, video cameras, media players, cable boxes, etc. are many signal sources that can be encoded, extended, switched, and decoded to any connected display or monitor. When it comes to sources, displays and signal distribution, video over IP solutions allows ‘any to many and many to any’ to achieve a defined goal.

The application will specify the allowable image quality, bandwidth, distance, and latency. Typically, low bandwidth systems will survive using H.264 technology, but be aware of image quality and latency due to elevated levels of compression. If bandwidth is available, visually lossless and low-latency compressions such as JPEG 2000, TICO, VC-2 and a few others can deliver excellent quality images. If having no latency and no compression is critical, and bandwidth is not an issue, a 10Gb network switch topology can achieve the objective. Another layer of compression technology worth recognizing is their relative tradeoffs. For example, the most favorable options in AV applications are JPEG 2000 which optimizes for latency while H.264 enhances bandwidth.

Researching for the appropriate AV over IP technology for any infrastructure will require understanding the range, reach, and demanded performance levels envisioned from the end user. Questions regarding latency, 4K or HD compatibility, type of audio, peripheral signals (e.g., USB 2.0, analog/digital audio, IR, RS-232), LAN only or video over the internet, remote management, and will you require a network specialist for installation are essential for selecting a suitable system. There are several adaptations of AV over IP including VGA over IP, DVI over IP, video over IP, HDMI over IP matrix, HDMI over gigabit, and HDMI over LAN; identifying the solutions to these critical questions will determine the success of the design.

The transcendence of AV over IP has initiated a domain of new probabilities for signal distribution. The capacity to accomplish exceptional audio/video over any local area network, along with the versatility to operate with current systems while offering unmatched scalability, are undeniable evidence that has the AV industry talking. Albeit audiovisual devices may come with various connectivity types (e.g., component, SDI, DVI, VGA, HDMI, etc.), it is feasible to convert just about every signal into an IP stream. The cost-efficiency is also extremely attractive to businesses in retail, medical, broadcast, corporate communications, security, and exhibitions.

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