In the ever increasing world of media rich applications, the markets which desire robust AV (audio / video) which can take advantage of the many benefits of AVB are many. While there is debate the lines between and the definition of the various markets, we have chosen to use the “top level” market names: Professional, Automotive, and Consumer.
Professional applications require the highest of performance and reliability, as well as often have very large node counts (number of sources or sinks of content). There are a number of sub-markets which fall under Professional. This include (but are not limited to): Broadcast, Commercial / Engineering AV, Corporate AV, H.O.W. (House of Worship), Live / Touring AV, Recording, Telepresence / Video conferencing, Theater / Fixed performance, Theme Parks, Transportation Systems, and more.
As Ethernet has emerged as the dominant networking technology, and as it has continuously pushed the boundaries of speed–with the current state-of-the-art Ethernet moving to 100Gbps, Professional applications can benefit immensely from AVB.
Additionally, given the enormous cost savings in cabling and other infrastructure over analog cable, it natural that networked AV would be very widespread in the professional applications. Pre-AVB, only the largest facilities routinely employ networked systems because applications have been hampered by two main problems: high per-node cost and daunting technical expertise required to deploy a networked AV system. These issues could not be tackled by the proprietary solutions that emerged over the last decade. The extreme economies of scale realized by standards-based silicon will change the equation in the professional market, providing the necessary enhancements for the highly-reliable delivery of low latency, synchronized audio and video. AVB provides the capabilities and functionality to construct affordable, high performance professional media networks.
Step into any modern automobile and it is readily apparent that our media rich world is invading vehicle “Infotainment” systems. Once luxury options, mainstream automobiles now routinely contain DVD (soon Blu-Ray) playback, backup cameras, navigation systems, and Rear Seat Entertainment units. Additionally, driver assist and safety applications utilizing multiple cameras are rapidly emerging and being deployed in new vehicle models.
While automotive OEMs around the globe have embraced the concept of low-bandwidth vehicle communication networking with Controller Area Network (CAN) being adopted most universally, the unique and varied challenges in vehicle multimedia networking (e.g. bandwidth, QoS, scalability, cost, economies of scale, open vs. proprietary, and supplier choice) has left the door open for much debate over the best solution for multimedia from both a technical and commercial perspective.
AVB enable Ethernet solutions are being finding interest in the automotive markets due to simplified cabling (and corresponding weight reduction, resulting in fuel efficiency) and reliability of a hard-wired solution.
By far the largest market is Consumer. Previously technology was developed and perfected in professional applications and then trickled down into consumer, however of the past decade a technology “inversion” has occurred whereby emerging technology is driven from the consumer side.
The growing thirst and expectation for AV content of ever increasing quality is being driven from the consumer market segment. These continued needs for distributed AV for the consumer will be improved via AVB through the reliability, resilience, and accuracy required in professional studios which allow low complexity implementations allowing them to be deployed in mass market home/CE applications. In addition to the ever-increasing raw bandwidth enhancements in networks, AVB standards provide new services to the network which improve media streaming applications. These new network services include 1) accurate time synchronization, making it possible for multiple devices to render audio and/or video in-sync in a standard way, 2) a reservation protocol which ensures that all devices in the path of a stream have agreed to allow the stream, and 3) a mechanism for ensuring that the requested latency and bandwidth of reserved streams is achieved (over links which do not significantly degrade). Thus, AVB is ushering in a new generation of professional quality audio/video streaming within the consumer market.