The good ship SDVoE sets sail

Like two ships on a foggy sea, IT and AV have been aware of each other’s presence for many years. Their courses parallel but converging, they’ve always known that at some point they must meet. Brief messages are sent, the crews wave cheerily to one another, minor navigational corrections are made and collisions avoided. But neither sees the other clearly.

And the two ships are very different. The good ship AV is packed with people we know, old friends and comrades who we can rely on in a tight spot. The motor vessel IT on the other hand has a different crew, they think a little differently, solve problems in different ways – but they have powerful engines and the wind in their sails.

Setting a new course

Down in the engine rooms, and up on the bridge of both vessels, things are changing and a new course is being set. For it’s become clear to all in AV and IT that only collaboration can avoid collision and bring everyone safely home to port.

And so they have joined forces – an armada sailing together under the SDVoE flag. (Software Defined Video over Ethernet). Announced at ISE 2017, this non-profit consortium of fourteen companies has a shared mandate to standardise delivery of AV-over-IP networks. There are industry stalwarts on board; Christie is a founding member as are Sony and ZeeVee. So are the networking specialists Netgear and chipset experts Aquantia and AptoVision.

An end to messy, complicated and expensive

SDVoE recognises that professional AV systems now make demands that exceed the performance, scalability and budgets of standard approaches – and that building an environment where uncompressed AV signals seamlessly transmit over IP is often messy, complicated and expensive. That limits the potential scale, scope and user-experience of what’s possible – and nobody wants that. What everyone does want is a robust standardised platform and the affordable IP network delivery and processing of uncompressed, zero-frame latency, artefact-free 4K@60Hz video content – and that’s what SDVoE aims to do.

Meanwhile, in the engine room

So that’s what’s happening up on the bridge. The Captains and the Navigators have set their course, but what’s happening down in the engine rooms – where the real work will have to be done?

Well quite a lot actually…

Christie® Terra

Christie have just announced Christie® Terra. Terra allows the transport, processing and control of content over 10G Ethernet networks and is built on that standardised SDVoE technology. It can deliver uncompressed, zero-frame latency, artefact-free 4K@60Hz video over 10G Ethernet. It comes in three parts, a transmitter, a controller and a receiver.

The Transmitter processes the audiovisual sources and control signals and accepts multiple content and control connections that include HDMI 2.0, USB, HDCP 2.2, DisplayPort 1.2, serial RS-232, and EDID. It needs no additional devices to process signals.

The Receiver then relays that uncompressed audiovisual data and control to displays and other devices. There’s full-signal management and processing, magnification, downscaling, KVM, PiP, image compositing and multi-viewer applications. All you need for high quality, onscreen experiences on both large format and standard displays and all over IP.

Then there’s the Christie Terra Controller. This gives complete, secure operational control and management of SDVoE systems using a web-based programming interface, that’s easy to learn and use.

Plain sailing?

And other members of the SDVoE Alliance have been just as busy – so don’t be surprised by a slew of new product announcements from them in the coming months.

This means is that AV’s cargo of transmitters, receivers and controllers, and IT’s consignment of 10G Ethernet switches will soon replace everything. All those matrix switches, those cables of different flavours, those encoders, transcoders and decoders, processors and extenders. Everything that previously impeded easy navigation will become so much flotsam and jetsam.

Indeed, it seems that the mists are at last clearing and that the long-promised convergence of IT and AV now has a clear course. The navigational charts are no longer marked ‘Beware – Here Be Monsters’.