With the move to a more distributed workforce as well as an increasing number of staff permanently working from home, businesses are opting for smaller huddle rooms for ad hoc meetings and remote collaboration. Also taking advantage of the power of today’s personal computing technology, businesses large and small are relying less and less on dedicated, permanently installed video conferencing systems. These days, it is quite commonplace for users to drive the meeting and room technology using their own devices, and collaborate using the latest video conferencing software tools. This is often referred to as a “Bring Your Own Device” meeting, or simply BYOD. However, since the entire meeting experience relies totally on the user’s device and meeting software, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, this application is more often termed BYOM for “Bring Your Own Meeting,” with users simply benefiting from the available audio and video peripherals of the meeting space they are in.
When it comes to AV signal switching and extension over standard copper category cabling, Semtech offers two high performance platforms: AVXT chipsets for point-to-point AV extension applications, and the BlueRiver® AVP series of devices for AV-over-IP and Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVoE™) network-based applications. Both solutions take advantage of standard Ethernet technologies, typically operating at 10Gbps, to support transmission of high bandwidth 4K60 video with uncompressed image quality. However, when video bandwidth does not require the full 10Gbps, both AVXT and AVP can operate at the 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps Ethernet rates. The benefits at operating at these lower data rates includes significantly longer cable reach over high performance category cable, or reuse of existing network cable infrastructure designed to carry lower data rate Ethernet.
It’s been almost a year since the official launch of Semtech’s ASIC platform for Pro AV extension, routing and distribution. Two dedicated platforms were launched: AVXT for point-to-point AV extension applications over copper category cable and optical fiber, and the BlueRiver® AVP series of devices for AV-over-IP and Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVoE™) network-based applications. And what a year it has been! Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, customer uptake and product developments have certainly exceeded expectations, and 2021 will see the launch of an exciting range of Pro AV products powered by the new AVXT and BlueRiver AVP ASICs.
For those of you that have been in Pro AV for decades, confusion is not something new. Remember the analog sunset? Remember HDCP? Remember going over-IP? Fortunately, confusion is a phenomenon that disappears over time.
In the world of Pro AV, point-to-point cable extension technologies are essential for transmitting AV content from point A to point B, where standard cabling just cannot go the distance. With the advent of HDMI, full bandwidth AV signals are sent in digital form at high data rates over shielded twisted pair (STP) cables, which typically max out at around 20 meters of reach. When carrying 4K video content, HDMI operates at up to six Gigabits per second (Gbps), and as data rate increases, so does the challenge of transmitting it over longer distances. Soon after HDMI transformed AV connectivity to digital, another technology was developed to extend these signals over standard copper networking infrastructure. This technology is called HDBaseT.
For most of my career at Semtech, I’ve been responsible for SDI-based products and technology, often extolling the features and benefits of copper-based, long-reaching audio and video (AV) signals. While SDI product lines matured into a meaningful business for the Signal Integrity Products (SIP) group at Semtech, there has been significant investment and record growth in optical fiber transmission technology for enterprise computing and communications. Fiber connectivity is now the backbone of worldwide communications with SIP optical products at the heart of this fiber revolution.