Mixed Signals, What is the AV Future – Part II

July 15, 2013 in Tech Talk by Sam Davisson

confusionTo start, I don’t know what this picture had to do with confusion but I liked it so lets just say it represents total confusion because that seems to be the state of the industry when it comes to the convergence of AV and IT.

The question arose again on one of the tech boards I hang out on. The question was posed this way: “Everyone with their eyes open can see the convergence of AV and IT. What are you doing to keep pace and change with the industry? Or is this not a big deal, and just business as usual?”

I guess the first thing I have to question is where. My eyes are open, where is the convergence. That is unless your talking about AV control and then I would still bet that over 75% of that is done via a serial connection and not a network connection but I will concede that more and more control is being extended to devices.

But is that it? Is this great convergence we’ve all been waiting for nothing more than device control?

The majority of audio and video still have point to point connections and require dedicated hardware. The only thing they have in common with IT is the cable being used. The digital transport for audio, video and control currently being widely accepted and adopted by the industry is a point to point technology (HDBaseT) that is not IT network friendly

AVB *audio video bridge) is the IEEE attempt at AV/IT convergence that will really reside in an IT environment. That is as long as your IT switches support AVB. But at least you do have an IT topology. Of course, it’s not really made any headway and I don’t think there are many, if any, video equipment manufactures who support it natively. Some audio manufactures have jumped into the fray but since they also support Cobranet and DANTE it probably isn’t much of a jump and it’s mostly just a digital audio snake.

Since I mentioned it, DANTE is also a competing networked media technology. It also has made strides in audio and unlike AVB seems to work without specialized network equipment. But there is no real media other than audio so it’s not going anywhere fast.

Which leaves us with HDBaseT. It is not networkable but it is the technology that is being accepted by the equipment manufactures. It is expanding from just being a digital signal expansion technology and becoming a digital signal distribution technology The commercial AV industry may not need to put up with HDMI cables much longer

But I don’t care how much people want to talk about the industry and it’s convergence with IT, the industry doesn’t appear to be really doing anything more than paying that convergence lip service and patting itself on the back because device control is finally moving away from IR or RS232 and using a network transport. The change for the AV technician is he sets up IP addresses instead of baud rates.

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