AV Integrators, Don’t Fear the IT Network

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.

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For AV over IP solutions, though, it is possible to remove the media switcher from the equation and have the input locations transmit directly to the network itself where the signal can then be routed to a networked AV receiver which is then connected to a local display or audio end point. With this AV over IP solution we aren’t limited to one type of signal across an independent cable connection.

In fact, the possibilities are greatly expanded because we can be passing audio, video, and even control over this single pipeline. The key to remember is that the network is just a pipe to transmit the signal so multiple video or audio streams could be sent simultaneously across the network and it would be the purpose of the receivers to determine which streams they wanted to access.

By not requiring a central media matrix, AV over IP allows integrators to populate end points anywhere in an already installed network system and route them accordingly. This means that in a retrofit situation there is no need to install new end points and pull cabling back to a central location. All that’s required is available network ports.


Example of a hybrid system with classic AV distribution using a matrix switcher in conjunction with AV-over-IP using Matrox Maevex.

Isolated Networks & Hybrid Distribution Systems

In addition to the decreased costs of system infrastructure, AV over IP solutions also offer added flexibility. Networked AV systems can evolve and grow over time with the needs of the client. An AV integrator has the opportunity to start with a small, isolated system, potentially as small as one transmitter to one receiver, and gain an understanding of how these devices communicate and need to be configured for optimum operation.

Think of it like an introductory system for both the client and the integrator new to AV over IP.

If the client is happy with their existing traditional AV distribution system but would like to expand its capabilities, an AV over IP solution doesn’t necessarily require a complete overhaul of the existing system. Existing AV infrastructure can continue to be leveraged, while growing the AV over IP component, so earlier investments are not lost.

Related: Matrox Graphics’ Ron Berty Discusses Signal Distribution Options

In this hybrid type of a system it is possible to insert encoders in between current AV sources and their contemporary extension and switching equipment. By doing this the source will now be available beyond its local connections and can be viewed anywhere a network receiver might be. Once the sources are captured into Encoders they can be copied and split into a pass-through of the current signal type (without losing any quality) plus a new stream would now be available on the network. 

Since the streams are on the network, the IP advantages of distance and new devices (wireless tablets for example) are available. So AV over IP can, if required, be deployed: incrementally (as needed); (optionally) in conjunction to existing infrastructure; and as budgets permit.

Matrox Maevex Encoder

Matrox encoder

What to Look for in an AV over IP Solution

Selecting the right AV over IP solution involves a bit of research. Integrators should invest some time to be sure the product features suit the needs of the client.