At InfoComm, both Audinate and Harman (parent company of JBL and Crown) announced that they have forthcoming solutions that will be compliant with the standards emerging from the IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) task group. The AVB is a developing standard for media networking that utilizes IEEE 802.1 as clock synchronization and IEEE 802.1Qav QoS to support audio and video media transport across Ethernet networks.
Basically, what this means is that by using the AVB standard (and at least a 2-Gbps routing system) in the not too distant future, we will have a way to put BOTH legacy analog and new digital media (such as DVI, HDMI, etc.) video and audio on a network and switch and route it just like computers are networked. So, imagine building systems by just networking AV gear with all the IT gear together. But, this does require a new higher-speed network (one that’s in Gbps not Mbps – like what we have now).
In the case of Harman, their AVB switches (which debuted at InfoComm) are co-branded with NETGEAR and they shoed a pair of 16-port and 24-port switches featuring specialized AVB hardware and software for use in a wide array of fixed installation audio video applications. Standardized multichannel audio and video over Ethernet, enabled by AVB, provides the AV market with what is expected to be a considerable cost-per-node savings in deploying complex AV systems, though that remains to be seen. Here’s a story on Harman’s plans.
In the case of Audinate, they will launch Q4 of this year with what they call a very low latency and network-centric approach to synchronization play-out across different audio channels, devices and networks, even over multiple switch hops. Dante also offers the flexibility of operating on 100-Mbps as well as 1-Gigabit Ethernet networks. Obviously, the 100-Mbps option would only be audio – it cannot support video and certainly not HD video. You can see Audinate here.
In addition, here’s a decent article on Ethernet AVB Technology from EE|Times magazine.