The Convergence of IT and AV: How HDMI over IP is Changing the Audio Visual Industry
For years, the IT and AV industries have been relatively separate. IT companies set up their systems using ethernet cables, while AV professionals used HDMI cables to allow for the transfer of audio and video signals. All of that has changed, however, with the advent of HDMI over IP (also referred to as AV over IP), as we now have the ability to effectively transfer audio and video signals over standard network infrastructure.
HDMI over IP has been around for some time, but only in recent years have professional AV companies in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles County begun regularly replacing AV infrastructures with IP-based ones, and AV transmitters and receivers with encoders and decoders, blurring the lines between IT and AV professionals.
As most internet users have experienced, it is perfectly possible to send a video or a radio station over the internet. That same flexibility is now becoming the dominant way of handling the AV needs of commercial buildings. Using the same cabling infrastructure that runs a computer network, it is now possible to run a state-of-the-art audio and video distribution system over ethernet cables. No longer do you need separate cables to carry TV signals or single amp channels.
This comes with a major advantage for our commercial audio visual clients: flexibility. HDMI over IP offers the ability to scale up or reconfigure systems more easily when the time comes. In traditional AV infrastructures, the number of audio/video sources (computers, laptops, camera, cable boxes, streaming players) and destination endpoints (tv monitors, projectors, loudspeakers) you can attach to your system is limited by the number of physical input/output ports available on your video matrix switch. Outside of a major system overhaul, you are unable to add sources when needed. With IP, it is much easier to add more ports by connecting multiple IP switches. In this way, HDMI over IP is a much more long-term solution for our commercial AV clients and provides more flexibility.
You may be wondering if you have to sacrifice audio video quality when going to an IP-based system. The short answer is a resounding “no”! By using products that are compatible with 4K resolution display devices, you can still get high-quality images with no discernable lag time between source and display when switching. The same goes for audio quality.
Fluid Sound is currently working on an audio visual installation at Barona Casino in San Diego County using HDMI over IP technology. We’re using products from Just Add Power, a company that provides ethernet-based video distribution systems for state-of-the-art commercial installations, like the one we’re doing at Barona. We’ll be sharing more details on the Barona project when it is finished, so be sure to check back in!
Commercial AV installation is our specialty at Fluid Sound, and we do our best to stay on top of the latest advances in AV technology for the benefit of our commercial audio visual clients in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. If you are in need of an AV company in Southern California, we’d love to talk with you about your project, and see how we can partner with you as your audio visual solutions provider. Contact us by phone or through our website.