What is Pro AV? What does it mean when it merges with IP? What are the advantages and the implications? Discover true Plug and Play SDVoE ProAV networking that is reliable and performance driven with NETGEAR.


  • What is AVoIP
  • Solutions and Products
  • What’s next…
  • Q&A

Featuring Rob Muddiman, EMEA Sales Director, ZeeVee.

Join us on this Insider webinar as NETGEAR & ZeeVee discuss a new era of Pro AV and IP.

Transcript Below 

Kieran: Rob is going to take us through a journey on AV over IP some of the past, some of the future at some of the present. So Rob over to you!

Rob: Okay yeah thank you very much, Kieran. So I think this is a really exciting time for AV and it's a correct time of opportunity for resellers who are currently playing in the IT world because you know AV marketplace - distribution marketplace worldwide. I think a Gartner number was coming up with 8 billion dollars worldwide and this is a market that probably today is untapped by the IT world, and it brings huge advantages. So that is what we're going to be covering.

But a bit about ZeeVee:
We're 12 years old now we're in our 12th year with a US company based just outside Boston. So we design and manufacture a product over there. Our prime focus is video encoding and creating the ability to send video over IP networks. This is our focus 100%, so we're not one of these companies which has a massive breadth of products and maybe a shallow depth of knowledge or a company which has a narrow range of products but a huge depth of knowledge within that.
Okay so as I already mentioned AV over IP. It's a next logical step. Up until
now, most other kinds of technologies have moved to IP so audio has been over for quite some time and we're going to talk about AV over IP. It can mean many things to different people, but in the context of this presentation, we're talking about AV over IP within a within a facility, a building or a campus. We're not talking necessarily about streaming over the Internet although that is another form of AV over IP of course. However, the market that we're talking about and we want to address is the AV over IP that is replacing the traditional AV Matrix way of doing things. We'll come on to that on the next slide.

Traditionally AV has been deployed in corporations in retail, in education, all of those verticals using what's known as AV matrix switches. They're proprietary so there are many manufacturers in this space and there's probably three huge manufacturers that dominate, and none of their product is compatible with each other. So absolutely proprietary to each manufacturer, not standard-based at all and this is what it looks like. So you've got a switch in the middle you've got, transmitters, and you've got receivers. The switch in the middle - it's a frame, and within that frame, the manufacturer will have I/O cards that plug in there. The I/O cards will have inputs that take cat5/cat6 fiber, or they may have direct inputs meaning HDMI, VGA, etc. It's proprietary and not particularly scalable so those switches and the frame sizes are fixed typically to a set number of inputs and outputs, and they're typically square. So its number of inputs always equals the number of outputs. This is how it's always been done. If you wanted to do sexy things like video walls you needed a separate processor box to go on the output. If you wanted to do something like multi-view - by multi-view, I mean having one single screen and many images on that the screen you're also going to need a separate multi-view processor. So you know with this arrangement here it's very inflexible, but it does give you the ability to switch sources through to displays using the transmitters the switch and the receivers.

As I said they're constrained with these proprietary switches.

Let's just recap -

They've got fixed sizes
So eight inputs and eight outputs. 16 by 16 or 32 by 32. So they lack scalability and flexibility. What we're finding is now that end users, whether it's education, universities, or retail corporations who's got these installed. If they want to add additional devices displays or sources - they can't do it without changing the frame and moving up to the next size up which is all costly and inconvenient for them. As an integrator or reseller supplying this equipment, there's an awful lot of custom programming for those switches, and it gets worse because every manufacturer has their own proprietary
standard which means the integrator has to learn the programming of maybe four or five different manufacturers. So nothing is standard. That makes these products are expensive to purchase install and support. As I said they're proprietary components. You cannot combine and mix elements from one manufacturer to another. So all in all its not looking particularly suitable for the future and it's been a burden on the AV industry as well as end-users in the past. That can all change.

AV Matrix Switches
  • Don't meet the needs of today's AV standard
  • Have no standards
  • Are not flexible
  • Not particularly scalable
  • They're expensive
If End-Users go with one manufacturer, they are pretty much locked in with that particular manufacturer. So what's a better way to do this then?

It's AV over IP. To send video over IP, you need to do something to it. So typically you need to encode the video which is what ZeeVee specializes in and over the last 10-15 years video over IP isn't exactly new phenomena it's been around for quite some time. What has changed is the encoding techniques and the efficiency of doing this. So if we went back 10 to 12 years ago, we had something called MPEG 1, a very crude type of compression and encoding to send video over IP networks. Today MPEG h.264 and JPEG are the common encoding methods. But actually what we have today is something which is which is the ultimate that we've reached and that's the ability to send video uncompressed over a network, and that's what the SDVoE is all about which Kieran mentioned earlier. So you can send up to 4k uncompressed over a NETGEAR 10GB switch or any other 10GB network for that for that matter. So encoding has improved dramatically over the last few years. Network speeds if you look at the second line down have increased exponentially. Now I would argue that any new network that's being installed anywhere more likely it's going to be a 10GB network that's going to be installed in a facility rather than a 1GB. We always need more bandwidth and looking into the future; I would suggest quite strongly that 10GB is the way that people are going and there's a lot of evidence to back that up as well that Kieran could probably share. The other great thing is of course bandwidth has come down. The cost of bandwidth is decreased dramatically over the last 10 or so years if you looked at a non-enterprise 24-port switch back in 2010 we'd be looking at a cost a list price of something like $10,000 for those 24 ports whereas today a NETGEAR 24 copper switch is listing at around about $1,800 US dollars. But let's take a look at what's happened what's happened in the AV world on the bottom of the slide. There you can see that with the proprietary matrixes which are from two huge players in the AV world - so that's Extron and Crestron. Nothing changed at all in the cost of their frames so that's $9,000 - 10,000 dollars that you can see there for the Extron frame and that's just for the frame. By the time I've added in all of those I/O cards that I mentioned earlier, we're probably talking about on a price of 20,000 to 30,000 US dollars same goes for the Crestron solution there so compare that against $1,800 for the for the NETGEAR 24 port switch which it's quite significant.

So if we consider all that there's a much better way of moving AV around a facility and that's AV over IP so now instead of having a proprietary switch in the middle we've got a standard architecture IP switch or a network switch such as a NetGear switch. So along with a switch, you have encoders on the input side rather than transmitters. So the encoders are connected up to the video sources, whatever those video sources might be, cameras, PCs, media players, etc. Then on the other end, we've got the decoder switch connected to screens. Now we can switch any video source to any display. We can also do things like multi-view. As I mentioned, multi-views is one screen on which you've got multiple images. We've just got one decoder that will manage that for you and we can do things on video wall so now we've got a video wall they're being shown which is a 2 by 2 but really there's no limit to the size of the video wall, 5 by 5 is one of the more ambitious ones. You get massive flexibility with that. So not just switching video but we can switch video, we can switch your audio we can shift all of the other signals on USB control. So if you had a touchscreen in your facility and you wanted to control your PowerPoint presentation from the touchscreen while you're presenting you can certainly do that with this type of this type of solution. So in ZeeVee's case, to make the installation practically plug-and-play, there's another component to all of this, and that's this box called management. That's a management platform which sits on the network anywhere, monitors and auto finds encoders and decoders as they plug in. It also works out whether there's a source connected, what the resolution of the source, what the display connected is, what the capability of the display is, and all sorts of clever
stuff can happen here thanks to the management platform. There's ZeeVee even encoders and decoders that include auto-scaling. So you know that's a flavor, and you can see it's much much simpler now.

Kieran: Yeah but I just wanted to add on that from my perspective in a
Networking world that one of the obvious things I can see here is the fact that now we're switching over things like copper and fiber cables. We have the ability to separate where our source and end points are for a video right. If I have copper, I have a hundred meters that I can run in between the source and the decoder and if I'm looking at fiber I certainly from a NETGEAR perspective we can look at as much as 10 kilometers about a stretch of fiber. How does that compare with a proprietary system?

Rob: Well the copper-based proprietary systems are based around a technology called HDBased-T which allows video to be sent over category cable. However, it's proprietary, and it uses a chipset from Valance which does its best to compensate for all of this high bandwidth stuff going down the cables. Ultimately if you talk to any AV integrator who's installed HDBased-T, they will tell you all of the challenges that you have. These challenges Including routing of cable, using the correct type of cable not running their manes cables, etc. It's a real challenge to get a hundred meters with that technology. There are fibers which are available for proprietary stuff, but again it's proprietary, and they're hugely expensive. So there's no match really from the proprietary side of things to the flexibility that you get with an IP switch particularly like with NETGEAR's new 4300 96 port which is modular. You can combine copper and fiber. There is no match regarding flexibility and scalability, and you're working on a standard platform that's the key thing.

So just to recap AV over IPL

It's scalable. Basically, you can support any size configuration. The largest install we have is on one single network is 850 endpoints, which is huge. You couldn't do that with a proprietary matrix. It's hugely cost-effective because we're running on standard net architecture which is I which is IP and actually with the NETGEAR switches, I'm not going to steal
Kieran's thunder too much here the beauty of it is with the NETGEAR 4300 switch there is no programming. They come pre-configured, so out of the box you take those switches, you plug in the ZeeVee encoders and decoders, and finally, you plug in the ZeeVee management platform which automatically finds our encoders and decoders. You're up and running within minutes. It is not days spent programming.

We can't lose sight of what do AV users want? What do end-users want? Well, they probably don't care too much of how it's done. However, they want cost-effective solutions for AV. They want a certain amount of future proofing. They want a lot of flexibility and above and beyond anything else they're pretty fed up with investing in technology which is proprietary and ends up being a stranded investment. That's all going to disappear if the route they go is AV over IP. I say is even if today you go with ZeeVee and you go NETGEAR whatever we do for IP and if in a few years time you suddenly decide: "You know what? ZeeVee doesn't have what we need anymore. We want to move to someone else." You've not wasted anything, and you've still got the IP infrastructure in place which you can use to move to new video around. I would say the easiest way to achieve all of this, of course, is using a NETGEAR pre-configured switch and ZeeVee solutions. NETGEAR and ZeeVEe are meant to be plug-and-play and to work together. With these solutions, you're going to get an AV over IP deployment that's up and running in a brief amount of time and be very flexible to support and maintain.

I mention this very briefly because I know someone's going to ask it, so I want to get it out there. AV does use a lot of bandwidth so if we look at the lines where the bottom line there is 1080p so HD which is what you kind of be seen on most screens. It uses 3GB bandwidth. Then the next two lines up are 4k resolutions which use 6GB, and you can go beyond that as well of course you know HDR which is that if you look like go to any retail store now, HDR is the thing that has been pushed for high-quality, really deep image resolutions. But you'll see that none of those actual resolutions on the bottom fit on a 1GB network so if you put them on 1GB network you're going to have to compress and there is technology to do that. ZeeVee has the technology to do that but actually if you went the SDVoE route which is what Kieran is going to talk about next all of this fits on a 10GB network right. SDVoE is all about taking it what so so so it's kind of what this it's gonna work.

Very briefly if you're looking at bandwidths because you might say well I've only got a 1GB network or I've only got the budget for a 1GB network you can still do AV over IP. It just means that you're gonna have to compress the image which means you're going to lose some image quality. How much you compress that image really depends on the application. If it was Digital Signage, it probably wouldn't matter too much. You could compress it a fair bit and still be fine when you compress. There's also a thing called latency which means it's a delay between the source and the display. In most applications our digital signage whatever where you're not in the same room it's not important. If you were in a meeting room and you had something on a laptop, and you're looking on the presentation screen that latency does matter. So just something to bear in mind. I do not really have enough time to go into that much detail there but okay Kieran I think someone's got a question or...

This is a thing to bear in mind the future is now. The AV world is changing for AV and IT integrators there are huge opportunities out there. Some of it is education to make the end-users aware of this and spot the opportunities, and in some cases actually it's been driven by the end users who are becoming educated, and they're going to resellers and integrators and saying this is the way we want to do it. But anyway it's it's a whole new world and very exciting opportunities.

I get asked whereabouts would you use this technology. Well if you look at the verticals. Basically every vertical: corporate, retail, hospitality, stadiums education, health care, and government. So across the board anywhere where you would have used a proprietary matrix switch in the past. So even NASA, you've seen all the stuff with Mars at the moment so, within that control room, that's where SDVoE, ZeeVee, and Netgear equipment is being used to view the video on the screens of the shuttle going there going down to the Mars surface. Stadiums, retail, etc. so you get a picture - it's everywhere!
ZeeVee, Inc.

ZeeVee, Inc.

ZeeVee is a global manufacturer of video and signal distribution technology for ProAV and IT markets. ZeeVee is installed in thousands of facilities worldwide where there is a need to transport HD/UHD content from multiple sources to multiple displays over long distances.