One of the big stories to come out of this year’s ISE was the progress made by a new industry body, the SDVoE Alliance. Set up to promote the advantages of Ethernet and IP networks for video transport without compromise and latency, the body is looking to set a performance standard for AV over IP.
Justin Kennington, president, SDVoE Alliance, explains: “The Software Defined Video over Ethernet Alliance was formed around two central principles. It is now possible to take advantage of Ethernet and IP networks for video transport without the compromises to quality and latency that used be required. For the reason, the industry needs a performance standard for AV over IP.
“Also, because the network lets us decouple application from the infrastructure, the industry now needs a platform for creating software that takes advantage of this flexibility with new approaches to applications, as well as entirely new applications not previously conceivable. The Alliance seeks to address both needs by defining performance standards and offering a development platform for AV applications.”
So far the Alliance includes AptoVision, Aquantia, Christie Digital, NETGEAR, Sony, ZeeVee as founding members. Contributing members are DVI Gear, Grandbeing and IDK. Arista, Aurora Multimedia, Cleerline, HDCVT, Techlogix, and Xilinx are adopting members.
So what benefits and advances is the group looking to deliver? Justin explains: “Installers will benefit from our approach to make AV over IP devices interoperable and to guarantee a performance standard without the compromises to image quality traditionally associated with AV over IP. Further, training is a central goal of the alliance. There is a knowledge gap in our industry that must be closed before AV installers and designers can fully realise the gains that are possible with AV over IP. The alliance’s goal is to close that gap.”
AptoVision Looks To The Future
As one of the founding members and a technology company that CIE has followed the development of closely, AptoVision has a big part to play in the group.
The company offers its BlueRiver technology designed to allow installers and OEMs to replace proprietary AV matrix switches with off-the-shelf Ethernet networks that deliver better price/performance, flexibility and scalability. BlueRiver technology drives much of the uncompressed 4K streaming makers are now able to offer via its BlueRiver NT+ Series of chipsets.
Kamran Ahmed, CEO and co-founder, AptoVision, sates: “AptoVision’s BlueRiver NT+ chipset and BlueRiver API underlie SDVoE technology, but that’s only one part of a total solution. The pro AV community needs confidence in the total system and the SDVoE Alliance members bring all the necessary expertise and products together, from chipsets (AptoVision, Aquantia, Xilinx), switches and storage (NETGEAR) to AV end points (Christie Digital, Sony, ZeeVee, DVIGear, Grandbeing, IDK, Arista, Aurora HDCVT and Techlogix).”
Kamran argues: “The main technical advantages of SDVoE is that it addresses the full 7-layer OSI stack. It offers the simplicity of a complete top-to-bottom solution, fully encompassing infrastructure, transport, processing and a simple control layer, while delivering zero-latency, uncompromised video over off-the-shelf Ethernet switches. It ensures substantial cost savings and greater system flexibility and scalability over traditional approaches.”
As for the future, Kamran says: “Right now, all AV distribution applications that demand zero-latency, uncompromised video can benefit from SDVoE technology. The promise for the future lies in applications that can be built using the SDVoE API. I can’t predict what those might be, but with the hardware and software available under the SDVoE umbrella, innovators have everything they need to start creating. It’s all about designing awesome user experiences for mainstream and niche markets.
“The SDVoE Alliance will provide ongoing education and training for systems integrators and installers in this new AV-over-IP paradigm. The initial SDVoE training sessions held at ISE 2017 were an overwhelming indicator the industry’s hunger for AV-over-IP knowledge and standards. We had 120 seats available across three sessions, more than 150 pre-registrations and over 200 people who took time away from the show floor to attend. The classes ended up being standing-room-only. In addition, the performance and interoperability standards that the alliance promotes will give AV professionals the confidence to deliver the flexibility, scalability and cost savings of Ethernet-based solutions to their customers.”
Get Acquainted With Aquantia
Amir Bar-Niv, vice president of marketing, Aquantia, explains his company’s role: “The combination of Aquantia’s AQcite FPGA-programmable Multi-Gigabit Ethernet PHY with AptoVision’s BlueRiver technology represents an industry milestone by providing the most power, size and cost-efficient implementation of the new SDVoE standard, to leverage the ubiquity of Ethernet.
“SDVoE provides a solution to customers that would like to send HD uncompressed video over 10G Ethernet network and replace the costly, non-flexible, proprietary solutions exist today in the Pro-AV market. Being part of this alliance gives to its members the opportunity to interact and work closely with companies that provide all the parts of the complete network solution.”
Amir adds: “The founders and members of the SDVoE bring to the table the expertise of video transport and handling, definition of systems and solutions for the Pro-AV market, design and manufacturing of semiconductor products, network switches and management of AV network. All these are the building blocks for a complete solution for the Pro-AV market.
“The common factor for all these technologies is IP/Ethernet. Being able to run uncompressed video, audio and other media over the most ubiquitous and well know network ever, provides many advantages related to cost, infrastructure, know-how, interoperability and time-to-market. Over time systems with more advanced features, over higher speed of Ethernet networks, will emerge. Installers will be exposed to all the available solutions and vendors, that build the audiovisual-over-Ethernet complete network infrastructure.
Cast Off The Shackles With NETGEAR
Laurent Masia, senior product line manager for smart switches, managed switches and modules, NETGEAR, explains that his company’s M4300-series, available for under $100 per port with a mix of copper and fiber ports, is ideal for SDVoE deployments.
Laurent says: “NETGEAR commits to the SDVoE standard with 10G switch products that are easy to set up and use. Because NETGEAR was first to market with cost-effective 10G Web Managed (Plus), smart managed and fully managed switches designed for SMB customers, we believe we can accelerate professional AV transition to IP with SDVoE Alliance and our unique 10G switch portfolio covering large spectrum of applications.
“NETGEAR 10G switch products in general are perfect for transporting SDVoE IP video streams with zero added frame latency and recognised reliability. Specifically, NETGEAR M4300 series is optimised for zero-touch installation and flawless SDVoE operation: all necessary Multicast Ethernet settings are already enabled out of the box and immediately operational.”
Looking to the future, Laurent says: “With Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE), we already know never-seen-before professional AV applications will be allowed by the Alliance technology. And with future Ethernet speeds down the road, this technology will be able to scale well beyond current 10G and 4K HDR 4x4x4. The Alliance will drive AV transition to IP with standardised underlying 10GE technology and common API, for interoperable solutions amongst all members and uniform training. No more proprietary solutions!
ZeeVee Gets Set For the Alliance
For its part, ZeeVee’s ZyPer4K platform, built on SDVoE technology, distributes uncompressed, 4K video over a standard 10Gb Ethernet switch.
Bob Michaels, president and CEO, ZeeVee, Inc explains: “The Alliance was established to assist (and in fact drive) the industry in the adoption and utilisation of standard Ethernet technology to distribute AV signals. Our main objectives as an Alliance are to educate Integrators and end users on the benefits of incorporating proven, cost effective and simple to use standard components and subsequently to provide training platforms to accelerate acceptance and use.
“Standard Ethernet networks now can service the needs of AV distribution and do so with no significant compromise in the quality of the product streaming out the far end. The economics and that is the important thing, have ridden the volume curve. The applications are huge, the number of companies, products, and the amount of intellectual horsepower being dedicated to this problem are huge and that has spurred a very competitive marketplace where the cost curve – the dollars per bit per second – has exponentially decreased. We want the industry to take full advantage of the advances in data networking technology over the last three decades.”
Bob adds: “Networking, Ethernet, the Internet and what used to be the domain of IT professionals in closed offices, has erupted into a mesh that wraps around everything we do. Everything is connected. This whole IoT Internet of Things is just a label for the trend of connecting everything to everything; making it available, accessible and controllable from anywhere by any connected device, most commonly the phone in your pocket of the tablet in your bag.
“Standardisation is an absolute. AV distribution is, for the most part, still stuck in the place Ethernet and networking was 20 years ago; a mysterious art that only a few really understood. Many equipment providers have capitalised on that by crafting closed solutions to the problem of media distribution.”
Bob argues: “The increasing ability to move enormous amounts of data quickly, reliably and efficiently anywhere on the planet has been staggering. The capabilities of a good, well-crafted, high-bandwidth, data network have now far surpassed the requirements for the problem of AV distribution. Our job and the job of the other members of this alliance, is to provide the technology that sits at the boundary of this hugely capable and evolving network cloud and provide the tools, technology and elements, so that ultimately it does look like plugging your satellite/media player into the network and your TV/display to the other side and have media, in whatever form, pop out at the highest possible quality.
“Our goal is to do this efficiently, simply and in as standard a fashion as possible, so that the consumer and user, need to be concerned as little as possible about the details of how it happens. The benefit to the ultimate customer is that the application can now be addressed by the ever-increasing capabilities and decreasing costs of modern data delivery. That will open up options, capabilities and competition, that will keep cost and effort to deliver media on a more aggressive curve than it has ever been.”