As we all know, the industry needs to make corresponding preparations to cope with the rapid popularization of IP audio and video transmission. However, for many practitioners who are still confused about how their next generation products should support IP audio and video transmission, choosing any specific protocol in the uncertain future is tantamount to putting all their eggs in one basket.

Obviously, the audio and video industry is getting deeper and deeper understanding of the advantages of IP in transmitting audio, video and related data. The unique expansion capability of IP network can support any audio and video format, and can distribute content through LAN / WAN and cloud multi-channel. Network addressable devices can become the basis of “audio and video as a service (avaas)”, and relying on the maturity and scale of the IT industry to achieve a wide range of media transmission, are obviously very attractive. However, there are still a lot of uncertain factors around ease of use, robustness, network management and service quality, network security and content protection, and interoperability between manufacturers.

As a supplier of various equipment manufacturers in the audio and video industry, customers often come to ask us which IP audio and video transmission standard will win in the end. We see that there have been times of uncertainty and chaos in the broadcasting industry. At that time, there were a number of competing agreements (not necessarily standards) competing for the same application, causing the whole industry to hesitate and stagnate for a period of time. In the end, the market accepted the right development direction of truly open, interoperable and scalable standards. At present, smptest2110 has become the IP audio and video transmission standard widely used in the whole industry. In the professional audio and video industry, we also see a similar trend is also rising. In the professional audio and video industry, there are many IP audio and video transmission protocols competing for the same application fields, including (but not limited to) sdvoe, danteav, NDI and IPMX. There are also a large number of proprietary IP designs used in closed systems. All of these agreements have different advantages and disadvantages and are excellent in technology. So what should our customers and partners choose?

Emphasis on openness and practical interoperability is the foundation

The difference between professional audio and video industry and broadcasting industry lies in that the former tends to accept and adopt the closed system of exclusive supplier, “as long as it can be used”. However, similar to the broadcasting industry, system integrators and equipment manufacturers are reluctant to be tied to one supplier, even if its product performance is extremely excellent. The real core idea of open IP networking is to select the most suitable product for the specific use cases of one part of the network and seamlessly integrate with the products of other manufacturers on the other part of the network. There is a similar situation in IP audio and video transmission protocol. Take sdvoe for example. Although sdvoe claims to be interoperable, it needs to use special Semtech ASIC devices for each IP interface. If manufacturers monopolize both ends of the link and act on their own, can this be regarded as true interoperability? This leads to the risk of using the manufacturer’s unique devices – what should users do if the manufacturer decides to raise the price (because there are no competing suppliers for such designs) or, worse still, stops supplying the device to the market due to a drop in return on investment? The positive development of healthy ecology is inseparable from the open standards. Such a standard is easy for anyone to follow and can be implemented on any device with similar functions.

Scalability and adaptation are the future trends

The defect of ASIC design is the lack of adaptability. This kind of capability is urgently needed in the field of IP audio and video transmission, which is lack of unified standards. If ASIC supports a fixed rate such as 10GB Ethernet, it cannot be extended or adapted to different use cases. What users need is economical and high-speed links. If it is a new deployment, you can choose 10g. However, most of the applications in the market still use 1g, so it is necessary to have a technology that can provide high-quality and low delay compression, so as to make full use of the installed network hardware, rather than completely push down and rebuild. If you want to start all over again, why limit it to 10g? Why not choose 25g, 50g or even 100g for greater future compatibility? It should be noted that when multiple 10g links handle multiple 4K streams, users are likely to need a higher speed backbone network. 8K monitors and TVs are on the market, so if you finally want to upgrade to 8K and limit the bandwidth to a specific rate, you may need multiple devices, different compression rates, or a new “standard” at all.

IPMX — an open and scalable IP audio and video transmission standard

Anyone can download the whole set of standards (they may need to pay the document fee and codec license fee), and then develop any application according to their own needs. This is perhaps the most important embodiment of IPMX standards and specifications, and also the significance of open standards. Every manufacturer that produces products according to this standard follows a unified standard. Users are ensuring that all devices are interoperable, and they can select test kits and test equipment from multiple manufacturers to verify interoperability. IPMX can be implemented on any functional device you choose to avoid binding with exclusive manufacturers. Obviously, if it is implemented on the Xilinx adaptive SOC, we naturally welcome it. If you use macnica technology’s IPMX solution, it is likely that your product will also use FPGA or SOC. Open standardization brings more benefits to the industry than that.

Figure 1: macnica IPMX modules and development kits

St2110 has been verified and put into use. As SMPTE, AMWA, VSF and aimalliance add more audio and video features to IPMX, it can make full use of the existing software platform and programmable SOC devices in your system to update. If you want to minimize the risk and be compatible with the future IP audio and video transmission design, IPMX is still the standard worth choosing. As a matter of fact, the practice of responding to changes with constancy has been gradually out of line with the times. There are indeed use cases in the industry that are very suitable for NDI, danteav, sdvoe, etc. But once IPMX is fully launched, the market may inevitably turn to it. No matter how the development trend, the market will make the final decision!

About the author:

Rob green, senior manager, professional audio, video, broadcasting and consumer products, Xilinx

Andrew Starks, director of product management, board member of macnica technology and aims Alliance

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