Imagine a world where you can transmit high-quality video and audio content over your existing computer network, just like you would send an email or browse the internet. That’s the power of AV over IP, or Audio Visual over Internet Protocol.
What is AV over IP?
AV over IP can be thought of as a revolutionary upgrade to traditional AV systems, where bulky cables and limited connectivity often hinder flexibility and scalability. It is the convergence of two widely used technologies, AV (audio visual) and IP (internet protocol) and offers numerous advantages to a range of industries.
With AV over IP, you can send your content anywhere on your network, using the same infrastructure that powers your computers and phones. This means you can easily live stream a video conference, or share presentations and training materials with colleagues across the globe.
When considering AV over IP it helps to think about each concept separately. We previously took a deep dive into AV where we explored the components involved, such as display devices, audio devices, source devices and cables, as well as how AV is used in different industries.
Traditional AV networks are primarily analogue, meaning they transmit audio and video signals using continuous waves of electrical energy. These signals are represented by varying voltage levels, which are interpreted by devices as sound and images.
As a professional AV installer we have provided fantastic analogue AV systems to organisations for decades, due to their high quality and reliability. Yet we also utilise IP networks for many other of our installations, such as video conferencing, digital signage and projectors, so technology which combines the two is clearly a logical progression.
IP transmits data by addressing and routing it across networks, ensuring it reaches its intended destination. IP divides data into smaller units called packets, each containing the source and destination addresses, along with the data itself. These packets are then sent over the network, hopping from router to router until they reach the final destination.
Routers act as intelligent switches, directing packets along the most efficient route, avoiding congested paths and ensuring timely delivery. This packet-based approach provides an efficient way of transmitting data and can even request re-transmission if a packet is lost or corrupted en route.
It is relatively simple to implement and maintain and offers a great deal of scalability as it can handle a vast amount of data across a global network of interconnected devices.
These features make it easy to understand why the AV industry has begun to implement AV over IP, as it provides a new way of thinking about delivering AV content and offering numerous advantages over traditional AV networks.
What is the difference between AV over IP and analogue AV?
The practical differences between the two systems are best discussed in terms of the limitations of traditional AV systems and the solutions provided by AV over IP systems. Here are some important differences between the two which could bring some productivity-boosting benefits to many organisations.
Analogue signals cannot be easily extended over long distances without significant signal loss and degradation. This limits the flexibility of AV installations and can make it challenging to distribute content across large spaces.
- Digital signals can be easily extended over long distances without signal loss, making it possible to distribute AV content across large spaces without compromising quality.
Analogue signals are typically transmitted over dedicated cables, such as coaxial cables or VGA cables. This can make it difficult to add or rearrange AV equipment without extensive cabling modifications.
- Digital signals can be transmitted over a variety of network cables, including Ethernet, HDMI, and optical fiber. This allows for greater flexibility in device placement and connection options.
Analogue signals require a significant amount of bandwidth, which can strain network capacity and limit the number of devices that can be connected concurrently.
- Digital signals require less bandwidth than analogue signals, making it possible to connect more devices while maintaining network performance.
Analogue AV systems are typically controlled using physical switches or buttons, which can be cumbersome and difficult to manage in large or complex installations.
- AV over IP systems can be centrally controlled using software, allowing for remote monitoring and management of AV equipment from anywhere in the network.
Is AV over IP less secure than a traditional AV setup?
There is a misconception that only analogue AV systems are secure but encryption technology is available for AV over IP systems allowing safe transmission of data. However, a professional AV installer is required to ensure the system is set up correctly and securely.
Which organisations can benefit from AV over IP?
The decision of whether or not to implement AV over IP will depend on the specific needs of your organisation. Any business can take advantage of AV over IP and enjoy benefits such as cost reductions and simplified maintenance, but it is more likely to make an impact at larger organisations.
This is due to improvements in scalability which enable growing businesses with multiple locations to easily add connections to deliver content where it is needed. Moreover, collaboration is enhanced because AV over IP allows routing and distribution of AV content to any location on the network, regardless of the physical distances involved, making sharing content across the organisation quick and simple.
Larger organisations also have a greater need to make long term investments in their future and AV over IP is likely to be compatible with future AV technologies and standards.
As a smaller organisation if you feel you may not quite be ready to implement AV over IP, there are also some outstanding wireless presentation solutions which do wonders when it comes to reducing bulky cabling and promoting collaboration.
Examples of AV over IP technology
At Digital Vision AV, one piece of AV over IP technology we feel can make a real difference to many organisations is Dante. The aforementioned benefits of AV over IP technology are realised, such as no longer requiring specialised AV cabling and managing AV signals without changing wiring. AV systems can be expanded easily and quickly because data is transmitted using the same standard ethernet network as your existing data.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about the benefits Dante can bring your organisation.
Is AV over IP the future of AV?
AV over IP is transforming the way we handle and distribute AV content, making it more versatile, cost-effective, and future-ready. Whether you’re managing a corporate AV setup, an educational establishment, or a digital signage network, AV over IP offers a powerful solution for seamless AV integration and management.
Digital Vision AV are commercial AV specialists providing end to end audio visual solutions so get in touch with us today or simply call us on 01442 620078 to discuss how your business can make the most of AV over IP.