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Extron announces it will join the AV over IP marketplace with disruptive new platform

I’m talking to Andrew Evans, Manager of Product Marketing at Extron and there are two topline points he wants to make very clear: AVoIP doesn’t have to be an either/or choice between 1G and 10G, and Extron’s patented wavelet-based PURE3 codec was built natively for this industry. 

Those two assertions represent a material change to the way the industry has been thinking about and deploying AVoIP. (The platform is scheduled to ship end of Q1 2019; design support is available now.)

There is certainly an argument for adapting standards-based codecs to our industry, and several of our industry manufacturers have done that–using their considerable industry expertise to bridge mainstream codecs into the AV/IT ecosystem through their platforms. These implementations have produced successful designs and installations (and happy customers). They have also produced a passionate debate about 1G vs. 10G, and the relative tradeoffs around latency, image quality, and bandwidth management.

Evans says that NAV grew in part out of feedback from AV pros who didn’t want to have to choose between 1G and 10G. He says Extron was in a position to set a new paradigm because of the PURE3 codec and the engineering that proceeded from that starting point. What that means, he emphasizes, is that Extron has control all the way down to the codec level.

Extron describes PURE3 as ultra-low latency, visually lossless, and efficient. Resolution up to 4K@60Hz, Chroma sampling is 4:4:4. But beyond the buzzwords, the codec was developed (and the platform engineered) to not only allow for 1G or 10G deployment and interoperability, but also to optimize, Evans says, for the image quality and latency compromises of 1G, while delivering the the full benefits of 10G when that is available.

Intelligent Selective Streaming

The image quality argument will be made with demonstrations backed by a bandwidth meter for those who want to see for themselves. I’m looking forward to that myself. Evans is using the phrase “intelligent selective streaming” to describe the unique frame-comparison compression that underpins NAV’s capabilities. The IP is distinct from the way comparative compression has been done in the past. But honestly I cannot tell from my notes how much I am allowed to say because we talked in part off the record. So more on that when I have that clarification.

On the systems side, Evans cites the example where a facility may need both 1G and 10G for various different applications; certainly being able to deploy across either or both infrastructures and maintain interoperability is on the industry wishlist. We’ll get into more about how the NAV platform hands off between 1G and 10G in a future story.

On the audio side–it’s AES67 compatible (no Dante at this point). More on that as well.

In the meantime, with a focus on today’s annou, here’s what Extron is saying about their disruptive entry into AV over IP.

Here’s the PR language:

NAV is a no-compromise Pro AV over IP solution for distribution and switching of ultra-low latency, high quality video and audio signals over an Ethernet network. Utilizing Extron’s patented PURE3 codec, it delivers groundbreaking performance with real-time, visually lossless video over IP at resolutions up to 4K @ 60 Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling and ultra-low latency.

The NAV Series is the only solution that offers both 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps encoders and decoders while providing full interoperability across both systems. NAV can be deployed as a high-performance IP-based video and audio matrix, combining the flexibility of an IP-based system with the integration friendly video and audio switching features found in Extron conventional matrix switchers. The optional NAVigator System Manager offers a user-friendly interface for centralized management and control of any size NAV system. It allows easy setup and configuration, plus extensive features for monitoring, diagnostics, and troubleshooting.

Full Interoperability between 1G and 10G infrastructures

It is the only solution featuring seamless, complete interoperability between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps devices, NAV leverages the PURE3 codec to stream video from 1 Gbps encoders to 10 Gbps decoders or reduces bitrates from 10 Gbps encoders for decoding by 1 Gbps decoders.

Distribute HDCP 2.2 protected content

HDCP 2.2 compliant, ensuring display of content-protected media and interoperability with other HDCP-compliant devices.

Integrate with AES67 audio devices

Supports AES67 for transmission of audio over IP networks, facilitating integration with DMP 128 Plus DSPs or other IP-enabled audio components. The AES67 standard provides interoperability between the predominant network audio over IP products in use today, ensuring flexibility in the distribution of audio signals.

Future-ready highly scalable solutions

With the ability to manage thousands of endpoints, NAV solutions are highly scalable and able to expand with your organization.

Transmit real-time visually lossless video

Streams professional-grade video with ultra-low latency using Extron’s unique wavelet-based PURE3codec, guaranteeing exceptional user experience and response time in mission critical applications.

Use with USB 2.0 devices for KVM and data

Built in USB 2.0 and Ethernet expansion facilitate connection to peripheral USB and Ethernet-enabled devices over the same cable as video and audio. Ideal for installations that require LAN connectivity to Ethernet-enabled devices and KVM applications.

Manage from a single point

Optional hardware appliance to securely manage and control large deployments, NAVigator offers bulk setup and configuration as well as easy switching, and extensive features for monitoring, diagnostics, and troubleshooting.

Control securely

The highly secure NAV platform supports 802.1x port-based Network Access Control and MicrosoftActive Directory to simplify user management and group authentication, helping to maintain strong security policies. In addition, NAV supports SRTP – Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol, ensuring the encryption, message authentication, and data integrity of video and data streams.

Management Tools

Extron NAVigator is a hardware appliance for the secure management, configuration, and control of NAV Pro AV over IP systems. Use the user-friendly web-based NAV System Manager to configure, monitor and control, backup and restore, run diagnostics, and troubleshoot. An entry level NAVigator system supports 16 endpoints and can expand with LinkLicense to support 48, 96, or 240 devices. Multiple NAVigator devices working together can support thousands of endpoints.

NAVigator has two independent, isolated Ethernet ports to connect both AV devices and a public LAN. This facilitates management and control from a default network, isolating AV devices on a separate Pro AV over IP network. With Extron Pro Series control integration, the NAVigator acts as a centralized communication bridge for secure control of all attached devices. The NAVigator System Manager can be PoE powered over the network.

Pro Series Control

NAV endpoints have a built in Pro Series control port for CEC, RS-232, and IR, effectively expanding Extron Pro Series control systems beyond the physical location of the control processor. This unique Extron feature eliminates the need for additional control processors by the endpoints. Pro Series control ports ensure encrypted control of connected devices at any location. NAV solutions are an ideal solution for any application requiring device control, flexible video and audio switching, and reliable transmission of high-quality content.

See the lineup of NAV product here

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