AVB for Video?
At InfoComm 2011 last June, I purposely went looking for video equipment manufacturers that were planning to implement or make use of the new Ethernet AVB standard in their gear. My search was driven by three things: the future, the now, and marketing hype.
Almost everywhere I turned, I found that the future had not yet become the now. The overwhelming majority of manufacturers were ignoring AVB (though they weren’t ignorant!) and had made the decision not to go down that road. AVB is seen as a better alternative to CobraNet, but not something you’d want or need to transmit video. Too many limitations, and their gear already did what was necessary: H.264 video compression with embedded audio, and no need for additional audio or data channels. Another interesting item to note was their perception of IT managers as being reluctant to accept the 25-percent bandwidth limitation for data in the AVB standard.
In other words, the video technology had leapfrogged AVB, leaving it behind as an audio-only eddy. AVB does offer some stunning advantages over CobraNet (as seen by recent product announcements and roll-outs), but it does seem a shame that video-plus-audio applications will apparently be limited.
As for the now, I’ve been left to implement an IPTV network to carry video with embedded audio channels and to use a separate CobraNet approach to carry some dedicated audio-only channels in an application. It’s not the most elegant solution — AVB would be — but it will work. Which still leaves me drooling over the AVB marketing hype and frustrated with manufacturers and end users who, for the most part, appear unwilling or unable to work towards a further integration of AV and IT.
I did find one manufacturer that will be implementing AVB fully in its gear. But not until sometime in the 2012. Sigh. All that’s left is the marketing hype.