I designed my first product using the Serial Digital Interface (SDI) back in 1996, and little did I know that this fledgling coax-based video interface standard would dominate my career for the next 20+ years. Back then, SDI was limited to carrying Standard Definition (SD) digital video at 270 Megabits per second (Mbps), but would evolve to higher and higher data rates to carry High Definition 720p, 1080i and 1080p, and most recently 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video, at cable lengths that were not thought possible. The convenience of a low cost single conductor coaxial copper cable, capable of carrying 4K video up to 100m has meant that SDI has become the de facto AV connectivity of choice in markets such as broadcast, Pro AV, medical and surveillance.
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’s BlueRiver® products are optimized for both high-performance AV-over-IP for Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVoE™) network-based applications and low cost point-to-point HDMI extension. Taking advantage of standard Ethernet technologies, typically operating at 10Gbps, BlueRiver devices support transmission of high bandwidth 4K60 video with uncompressed image quality. However, when video bandwidth does not require the full 10Gbps, BlueRiver devices can operate at the 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps Ethernet rates. The benefits at operating at these lower data rates include significantly longer cable reach over high performance category cable, or reuse of existing network cable infrastructure designed to carry lower data rate Ethernet.
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.
With the launch of the BlueRiver® ASIC at the beginning of 2020, the AV over IP landscape is being redefined by products offering new levels of cost, performance and interoperability. As the core technology for Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE™), BlueRiver is recognized as the only IP-based technology capable of providing true video matrix-level performance, with pixel-perfect image quality and ultra-low latency. Supporting a broad range of markets and end-applications, such as live events, esports, medical, high-end residential, and command and control, system designers can take advantage of the powerful SDVoE Applications Programming Interface (API) to develop application-specific software running on a common BlueRiver-powered hardware platform.
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.
All Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE™)-type AV distribution endpoints are interoperable, regardless of vendor or origin. But why are these endpoints interoperable? What is it that helps guarantee this interoperability?
In my 20 years at Semtech, I have been fortunate to have worked on many interesting products and experienced many market successes along the way. However, being a part of the first BlueRiver® ASIC development was certainly a career highlight in many ways. First, it was a treat to be immersed in the amazing and innovative technologies that are the backbone of BlueRiver: 10G Ethernet, IP networking, advanced video processing, and high speed video to name but a few! Second, I was able to explore the broad applications and plethora of use cases in the exciting Professional AV market that will be enabled by, and benefit from, the BlueRiver ASIC. And finally, I had the pleasure of working with a world class team of engineers and professionals dedicated to growing the video business in Semtech’s Signal Integrity Products Group.
The world of computer gaming has come a long way since those distant days of challenging friends to beat the Frogger high score on my TRS-80 32k color computer. Back then, I could only imagine the possibilities this next generation of computer technology would enable. If I recall, back then I also wanted to be a rock star… the next Paul Stanley (don’t laugh!). Fast forward to 2019, and thanks to the Internet and social media, in the heady world of gaming and esports, you can be a “rock star” or at least as famous as one.
this two-part blog series, I touched on the Codec Triangle and several factors that make up a complex relationship between bandwidth, latency and quality in Pro AV. Additionally, I discussed video image compression and the harmful effects it can have on your picture. SDVoE™-based Pro AV solutions, built on Semtech’s BlueRiver® technology, are transforming the matrix switch and allowing uncompressed, low latency AV content up to 4K60 over standard Ethernet infrastructure. SDVoE-based solutions are uniquely equipped to fight the harmful effects of compression by leveraging Ethernet. In this blog, I will break down common compression codecs used in the AV space today and offer insight into the pros and cons of each for your application.