Why has AV over IP gained so much popularity in the pro AV industry? Businesses today operate by sending real-time, media-rich content which translates to high-quality images and video over a local area network. The trending AV over IP technology allows Full HD content, as well as 4K/Ultra HD, and audio to be sent with ultra-low latency while introducing dynamic content with a standard Gigabit Ethernet network switch. AV over IP overcomes the challenges of conventional box-type matrix switchers (e.g., 8×8, 16×16, and 32×32) by eliminating port limitations and resolving issues associated with distance, flexibility, scalability, image quality, and cost.
Since AV over IP uses existing network equipment, there is no need to tear through walls to install a separate cabling system. This cost-saving incentive is attracting businesses in retail, corporate communications, medical, broadcast, security, and exhibitions. InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas unveiled a trove of AV over IP solutions, including those from our partners at Hall Research, Key Digital, Atlona, and ZeeVee. Let’s examine these solutions from our partner manufacturers and find out what they have to offer. The following covers the highest models available in their respective product lines.
Hall Research | HHD264*
HHD264-S Encoder (MSRP $550)
HHD264-R Decoder (MSRP $395)
HHD264-S-PD Encoder (MSRP $625)
HHD264-R-PD Decoder (MSRP $625)
Virtual Matrix Control Software (MSRP $500)
*Prices subject to change
Hall Research is a leader in designing creative video over CATx systems including matrix switchers, scalers, and extenders. They have risen to prominence in the AV industry by introducing these solutions to every major industry and thousands of installations worldwide. Today, Hall Research continues to provide innovative systems including their new HDMI over LAN system for corporate, medical, broadcast, and retail applications.
Hall Research will introduce a set of HDMI over LAN encoders and decoders known as HHD264. Using H.264 video compression, this PoE-powered series transmits Full HD 1080p video and digital audio to 100 meters. Up to 64 encoders can connect to a network simultaneously while accommodating up to 256 decoders. It will require a 1 Gigabit network switch for 64 video streams, but will still work with a 100 BaseT network switch, albeit with fewer sources. In addition, the HHD264 system transports bidirectional RS-232 data that can be controlled by Hall Research’s proprietary Dynamic Virtual Matrix™ Windows software, or other third-party application. The system is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Key Digital | Enterprise AV
KD-IP120Tx Encoder (MSRP $440)
KD-IP120Rx Decoder (MSRP $418)
KD-IP120POETx Encoder (MSRP $550)
KD-IP120POERx Decoder (MSRP $484)
Compass Control Control Software Kit (MSRP: $2000)
Key Digital develops and designs high-quality solutions for high-end video and control systems. The products they provide for home theater, custom retailers, broadcasters, and integrators have kept Key Digital on the leading end of the Pro AV market. Earlier this year, Key Digital revealed their latest AV over IP innovation at InfoComm.
Key Digital brings us Enterprise AV, an HDMI over IP system that uses H.264 video compression to send 1080p picture and digital audio up to 400 feet via CAT 5e/6 cable. It allows a maximum of 1,024 encoders with an unlimited number of decoders and is fully controllable by its native control software Compass Control, as well as other RS-232 supported third-party systems. Gigabit network switches are recommended and must support Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). Enterprise AV will also feature a Full Buffer System™ which will manage TMDS re-clocking and signal regeneration, HDCP authentication, and EDID Control handshakes. It comes with a 10-year warranty.
Atlona | OmniStream
AT-OMNI-111 Single-Channel Encoder (MSRP $1400)
AT-OMNI-121 Single-Channel Decoder (MSRP $1400)
AT-OMNI-112 Dual-Channel Encoder (MSRP $2200)
AT-OMNI-122 Dual-Channel Decoder (MSRP $2200)
AT-OMNI-232 Dual-Channel Dante™ Networked Audio Interface (MSRP $999)
Atlona Management System (AMS) Control Software (MSRP TBD)
Atlona Technologies has always been passionate about providing technology that helps professionals connect and collaborate. Atlona will be releasing a five-product AV over IP series called OmniStream, capable of supporting 4K/UHD video and audio signals and RS-232 control over Gigabit Ethernet networks. An AV industry first, OmniStream possesses dual-channel encoding and decoding to allow two independent 4K/UHD video streams in a single, half-width rack enclosure. This can also provide network redundancy as both streams are encoded and decoded simultaneously and, in essence, backs each other up if a connection is lost.
OmniStream is powered by a single PoE-equipped Gigabit switch and dedicated power supply and will require Atlona Management System (AMS) software to configure and control, although third-party control will be supported. It delivers minimal encode-to-decode latency using a light compression algorithm from the BBC called VC-2, a visually lossless codec, while Dante™ technology allows two audio channels to transmit and receive over the network. Distributing content will be secure as it features AES-128, the same standards-based encryption technology used for government, health care, and financial applications. The OmniStream series will include a 10-year warranty.
ZeeVee | ZyPer4K
ZyPerMX Encoder (MSRP $1399)
ZyPer4k HDMI Encoder (MSRP $1399)
ZyPer4k HDMI Decoder (MSRP $1399)
ZyPer4k HDMI USB Encoder (MSRP $1650)
ZyPer4k HDMI USB Decoder (MSRP $1650)
ZyPer4k HDMI Fiber Encoder (MSRP $1650)
ZyPer4k HDMI Fiber Decoder (MSRP $1650)
ZyPer Management Platform Control Software (MSRP $3999)
ZeeVee has been in the forefront of the commercial video market since 2007. Their award-winning ZyPer4K has revolutionized signal distribution and earned Commercial Integrator’s prestigious 2016 Best Award in Technical Innovation at this year’s InfoComm. ZeeVee helped spearhead the AV over IP movement by introducing ZyPer4K in early 2015.
ZeeVee offers two types of systems for AV over IP: an HDMI and fiber version. Both of these systems provide uncompressed 4K/UHD video while supporting analog and digital audio, RS-232, and IR; these signals can also route independently. Depending on the infrastructure, the ZyPer4K truly is an infinitely scalable solution limited only by the ports of a 10 Gigabit network switch. The main differences between the HDMI and fiber versions are distance and cost. The ZyPer4K fiber costs more but has a max distance of 80 kilometers from the encoder to decoder, whereas the HDMI version covers 100 meters and supports USB 2.0 for remote access to keyboards, mice, and other devices (KVM). ZyPer4K also features a video wall mode that can create up to a 5×5 video display with 25 screens utilizing ZeeVee’s ZyPer Management platform. The systems are covered by a 3-year warranty.
The transcendence of AV over IP has opened up a realm of new possibilities for signal distribution. It’s clear why the AV industry is heading down the path of distributing different signals across IP networks. The ability to achieve remarkable audio/video quality over long distances, along with the flexibility to work with existing systems while offering unparalleled scalability, are indisputable facts the AV industry cannot ignore. The cost-efficiency for businesses to upgrade their current network to AV over IP is also flattering when compared to traditional solutions. Although audiovisual products may come with different connectivity types (e.g., composite, S-video, VGA, DVI, HDMI, etc.), it is possible to convert just about any signal into an IP stream. The beginning of the AV over IP era is upon us and we are thrilled our partners from Hall Research, Key Digital, Atlona, and ZeeVee have already left an imprint on what the future holds.