What is AV-over-IP?

AV-over-IP is the fastest growing technology in the Audio Visual industry, but what is it and how will it change the future of AV systems? HowToAV has the answers....

What is AV over IP?

AV over IP (Audio-Visual over Internet Protocol) is the transmission of audio-visual data over a network for example WAN, LAN or the internet. In comparison to conventional analogue AV environments, AV over IP refers to the use of standard network equipment to switch and transmit video and audio siganls.

What is the future of AV over IP in the professional AV industry?

Gradually in time the replacement of analogue AV infrastructures with IP-based infrastructures will increase. For some people, the idea of using IP AV technology is a fairly new concept where as others, it is a ’normal’ territory.

Analogue AV versus AV-over-IP setups:

In both AV environments the elements are very similar. The objective of an AV facility is to give users the capacity to see as well as hear their video and sound sources on their viewing stations and on their sound systems/speakers. To do this, sources should be captured, moved, switched and displayed. The user interface to change sources can be buttons on hardware equipment all the way to digital interfaces on computer based technologies.

In AV over IP the AV Transmitters become Encoders the AV Receivers become Decoders and the AV switcher (matrix switch) becomes a standard IP switch – like what the computers connect to at an office.

What are the benefits of AV over IP?

AV over IP is evolving key aspects such as:

  • Scalable switching (the number of sources attached is no longer as limited, when physical ports run out, multiple IP switches can be connected to expand).
  • Breaking the distance barriers
  • Better ratio of inputs to outputs
  • Video standards extend beyond the local facility
  • Convergence with data and communications
  • New options in video processing

How secure is AV over IP?

There is a common misconception that AV over IP introduces more security risks than the traditional AV. However this is not the case, there are encryption technologies for various aspects of AV over IP products and they address multiple components of the AV system design.

Even though there are encryption technologies to offer security options to AV professionals, sometimes they are used to only reduce openness. To offer complete security the lockdown option may be chosen where the compatibility of the users encoders/decoders to just their own brand as a measure to limit the scope of their quality assurance testing, technical support and customer care options.

However having the knowledge and using a professional AV installer and technical support offered is a key part of maintaining the security of AV over IP networks.

Conclusion - AV-over-IP or conventional analogue AV?

For smaller systems analogue AV will probably remain the preferred choice for the time being. However for larger systems that require higher bandwidth, longer distance or even plan for future expansion AV-over-IP is the best solution and there is no doubt AV-over-IP is the future of AV system transmission and control.

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