Demand for AV over IP solutions means AV integrators must learn something new. The good news is it’s not as daunting as most think.
It is an indisputable fact that the AV industry is heading down the path where more signals are transported across IP networks. Achieving reliable, high-quality video and audio distribution over the network is now possible with less bandwidth than ever before. It is also well- documented that there are added benefits to transporting those signals through the network.
In the traditional way of doing things, if we wanted to transmit a single audio or video signal, a specific cable type would be required to be present for the variety of devices and signal types in the system. Twisted pair for speakers, twisted pair with shield for mic or line level signals, 5-wire for RGBHV signals, coaxial cable, and HDMI all would need to find an independent pathway from the signal point of origin to the display.
The cost of these cable types varies greatly and can be very expensive, particularly if you are forced to purchase by the thousand foot roll. Then there is the labor to pull and terminate all that cabling and wide variety of connectors. The complexity level rises exponentially when different sources are expected to be routed to different destinations dynamically. All this shows that the infrastructure for AV systems can end up being expansive and expensive.
As the industry moves to transporting more audio and video signals over IP, each device can now be treated as an end point on the network, with standard category cables (e.g. Cat 5, Cat 6) and standard network equipment (e.g. switches and routers) in between.