AVB vs. HDBaseT

On the latest episode of AVWeek (Episode 102) we were pleased to welcome Ellen Juhlin from Meyer Sound . In addition to being their Digital Products Analyst, Ellen is also the AVnu Alliance Pro AV Segment Leader. So, we talked about AVB for a bit.

The AVNu Alliance has some pretty interesting things going on. First there is the certification program. Currently, it is only the midpoints, the routers bridges, that are being certified. Ultimately, the “talkers” and “listeners” will also be involved in the certification process. This is not just some “stamp of approval”, it is a rigorous set of tests that are repeated on each piece of equipment. You either pass, or you don’t.

During InfoComm 2013 this year, both AVB and HDBaseT were everywhere on the floor, not just at their respective pavilions. Both send audio and video over some form of twisted pair, category cable. Up until that point I, and a number of other AV professionals, had made the mistake of comparing the two technologies side-by-side. We were guilty of doing “AVB vs. HDBaseT” articles, seeing which one would “win” in the next evolution of AV technology. It struck me as I looked at how each technology was put into practice at the various vendors that the answer was clear; they both would.

See, AVB and HDBaseT both send video over category cable. They both digitize the information into 1’s and 0’s. That is where the similarities end. It is also where the comparisons should end. This is not a battle royal for supremacy in the AV world. These technologies can, and probably should, coexist with each other. There are good use cases for deploying AVB as well as HDBaseT. It all depends on what you need to get done.

So, my apologies to both camps for putting you in a fight you did not belong. The more I learn about both, the more impressed I become. Do both of them have a ways to go? Most certainly. There are only a few video products currently being offered for AVB (the “V” in AVB) but seeing a Sennheiser mic into a Shure processor into a Yamaha board all over a sing category cable in Orlando this summer was impressive. HDBaseT is trying to transport power over their cable, with some success, but they have some work to do as well.

The bottom line is, they are both great products for the industry and a sign that we are not going the way of the dinosaur, or unicorn.

A big thank you to my friend, Craig MacCormack, for writing an excellent piece on this for Commercial Integrator magazine. You should check it out.

Thank you for reading my blog. Have a great week.

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