AVB/TSN Momentum and AES67/AVB Harmony at InfoComm 2016
InfoComm 2016 was an important opportunity for the AVnu Alliance to reinforce the work being done around IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) and Time Sensitive Network (TSN) standards, with new companies joining the consortium, introduction of new reference platforms and tools, and Cisco finally introducing AVB-enabled switches. More importantly, Coveloz promoted a demonstration of deterministic network control of AES67 audio transport running over an Ethernet AVB foundation.  Read More

Successful AES Paris Convention Paves the Way for Berlin in 2017
The audio industry recently celebrated all things audio at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) 140th International Convention, held June 4 through June 7 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, France. With a 61% increase in attendee preregistration and a doubling of the exhibiting brands, AES Paris was 2016's largest professional audio event, so far. Important to note, for a European AES event, the exhibition area returned in full force.  Read More

sonoro audio Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Release the Cubo in US Market
sonoro audio, a German designer and engineer of luxury audio solutions, launched its Kickstarter campaign to deliver the Cubo, its design award-winning sound system, to the US market later this year. Funding sourced through Kickstarter will enable sonoro audio to cover development, testing and production costs for the US market. The campaign is currently in desperate need of some support.  Read More

Sennheiser Presents MobileConnect for Live Audio Streams to Smartphones at InfoComm 2016 
It was all about evolution of concepts, products, and technology for Sennheiser at InfoComm 2016. Among several interesting demonstrations, Sennheiser promoted its MobileConnect assistive listening concept, offering the ability to stream live audio to mobile devices via the MobileConnect app. Sennheiser's solution consists of a streaming server providing the audio stream over Wi-Fi, which users can connect to via the MobileConnect app on their own smartphones. Applications are unlimited.  Read More

NTi Audio Strengthens Americas Office with Appointment of Brian MacMillan
NTI Americas, Inc. announced that Brian MacMillan has joined the NTi Audio team working out of its Portland, OR, office. MacMillan strengthens the regional customer support capability throughout the United States and the Americas. MacMillan already attended the 2016 InfoComm show in Las Vegas, NV, where the company presented its complete range of test and measurement solutions for acoustics, audio, and vibration applications.  Read More

Bang & Olufsen Appoints Henrik Clausen as New CEO
Bang Olufsen has appointed Henrik Clausen as new CEO effective beginning July 1, 2016. Henrik Clausen replaces Tue Mantoni who some time ago initiated a dialogue with the Board of Directors about his long-term commitment as CEO once certain important projects had been completed. The Danish company declared that negotiations for a potential takeover from Chinese shareholder Sparkle Roll have terminated without effect.  Read More

InfoComm 2016 Officially the Largest on Record
A record 1,000 exhibitors, including 211 new exhibitors, filled the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8-10 for InfoComm 2016, occupying 527,105 net square feet of exhibit and special events space - also a show record. Attendees registered for more than 12,000 seats at InfoComm University sessions throughout the week, more than double the number engaged in training and education in 2015.  Read More

Lab Gruppen Unveils New LUCIA and D Series Slimline Amplifiers
Responding directly to the needs of the installation market, Lab Gruppen unveiled two new amplifier families during InfoComm 2016. The new LUCIA amplifiers follow the highly successful launch of LUCIA 70 V output models during last year's InfoComm, now with three new LUCIA 60 W power models, all with configurable DSP features. The company also expanded its D Series advanced install-dedicated amplifier platform with the introduction of three slimline models.  Read More


Editor's Desk

InfoComm 2016. Transition to IP. Video 4K. Bluetooth 5.

InfoComm 2016 was again an HDBaseT world, but the AV industry seems to be moving on toward true IP distribution.
While still digesting all the announcements from InfoComm 2016 on the audio front, 
I couldn't help to underline the fact that the Las Vegas show was extremely impressive on the audiovisual (AV) front, with very impressive presentations of all sorts of projection systems and large displays in 4K and 8K resolutions. It's truly remarkable how quickly this transition took place, making 4K image resolutions the current display standard, compared to the years it took us to get High Definition (HD) images consolidated in both the CE and professional segments. Just consider that in the last 12 months alone, consumers have purchased more than 100 million smartphones equipped with 4K-capable cameras, to which we can add many millions more GoPro and digital cameras, which are also able to shoot in Ultra-HD (UHD) resolutions. For several years, HD video was the realm of professional videographers, but this time consumers are leading this accelerated transition to UHD, with immense consequences in Internet traffic, storage, and naturally a lot of pressure over current technology standards and interfaces.
The AV industry is naturally eager to embrace the impact of higher quality visual presentations (digital signage is clearly reflecting that trend), while at the same time facing the challenges of adopting audio and video over IP. That was clearly the main topic during InfoComm 2016, where the HDBaseT Alliance continued to lead the way on converged solutions for installers and integrators, delivering ultra-HD and 4K uncompressed video to a network of devices or to a single device (both point-to-point and multipoint-to-multipoint). Since the video is passed through the HDMI chipset, HDBaseT is compatible with all HDMI formats, and supports all key features, including EPG, CEC, EDID, and HDCP, supporting also all standard multichannel Dolby and DTS audio formats. HDBaseT supports the transmission of video, audio, Ethernet, power and controls (5Play), while the recently updated HDBaseT 2.0 specification adds USB support and introduces HDBaseT HomePlay, focusing on plug-and-play solutions for the consumer.
On the audio front, InfoComm 2016 was again Dante dominated.
But while HDBaseT is clearly a success story for AV integration, the market is quickly converging on multiple ongoing efforts to establish new standards for video and audio distribution over IP. On the audio front, InfoComm 2016 was once again clearly dominated by Audinate's Dante solutions, now reinforced with greater interoperability enabled by the new AES67 standard. On another front, Meyer Sound, Biamp, L-Acoustics and several other audio companies, united under the AVnu Alliance umbrella, reminded the audio industry about the ongoing IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) and Time Sensitive Network (TSN) standard efforts, while Cisco introduced AVB-enabled switches, and Coveloz promoted a demonstration of AES67 audio running over an Ethernet AVB foundation.
This also sends a confidence message of convergence across the professional audio industry, while the ongoing process to video-over-IP transition will no doubt influence the outcome. It will take a few more years until the industry converges around the different technical proposals and current ongoing development efforts led by multiple industry's standard bodies and technology consortiums. During InfoComm 2016 it was clear there were many video and control companies implementing their own approaches to video over IP - usually focused on signal distribution for displays - while on the production side there was a strong momentum over the adoption of TICO compression (SMPTE RDD 35), a visually lossless lightweight compression specifically designed for the industry with robust hardware and software support for real-time operation with no latency. Developed by French company IntoPIX (pioneers on JPEG2000 solutions) and promoted by an extended TICO Alliance, the codec is creating solid foundations for 4K/8K distribution over current Gigabit Ethernet infrastructures.
The promise of 4K over IP was everywhere at InfoComm 2016, including some specific approaches, such as HDMI over IP from Just Add Power.
With current video codecs - H.265 HEVC, JPEG2K, TICO, etc. - solving the equation for home distribution and transmission, contribution and production, there is now the need for current HDMI, DisplayPort, superMHL and Thunderbolt - all converging over to the same USB-C connector - to evolve in order to support expanded specifications for UHD resolutions (4K/8K) with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and higher frame rates. For distribution and infrastructure, the industry is also converging on video over IP solutions, intended to replace legacy SDI interfaces used in production and professional AV, as reflected in current efforts coordinated by the Joint Task Force on Networked Media (EBU, VSF, SMPTE, AMWA). Technologies currently being considered in this space include the VSF TR-03 and VSF TR-04 technical recommendations, SMPTE 2022-5/6/7 IP encapsulation methods for uncompressed media and all the convergence efforts for audio and video over IP currently being also coordinated by the The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS). 
All this is certain to cause a significant impact on the industry and on the ongoing adoption of audio networking technologies and audio interfaces in the next few years.
The new Bluetooth 5 specification promises to double the working range and quadruple the transmission speed.
Hello Bluetooth 5
While InfoComm 2016 was wrapping-up, we learned about a surprising and very positive announcement on the Bluetooth SIG front. On its organization's blog, Mark Powell, Executive Director, Bluetooth SIG, announced that the consortium is assessing and planning for an exciting update on the future of Bluetooth. The Core Specification Working Group of the Bluetooth SIG is finalizing the next Bluetooth release, which will be called Bluetooth 5 and will be formally announced today, June 16, 2016.
We will post updates on our website and will certainly promise to follow-up next week. For the moment, it was revealed that Bluetooth 5 would double the range (more than 200 m or 1,312 ft)) and quadruple the speed (around 100 Mb/s) of low energy Bluetooth 4.2 transmissions, while also providing significant new functionality for connectionless services like location-relevant information and navigation. "By adding significantly more capacity to advertising transmissions, Bluetooth 5 will further propel the adoption and deployment of beacons and location-based services to users around the world," adds Powell.

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