1GB Versus 10GB – Is There Really a Debate?

An article in AV Technology Feb/March 2019, “1Gb Versus 10Gb” states that the market is migrating from central matrix switching to employing generic Ethernet switches while desiring the same values of HDBaseT – uncompressed video and zero-latency switching. The author felt the SDVoE should be compared more with HDBaseT – and that’s not wrong. Both are IP solutions, with one using an internal 10G switch, while the other uses an external switch. But the story never really delves into the 1G side of the debate.

It’s ironic that the same publication features a full-page Crestron NVX ad that states,”YES. The 1GB VS 10GB Debate is Over.” Obviously, there is some debate, especially between the two statements that are essentially ads.

Let’s face it – all 4K-capable switching systems are using compression – it’s the only way to fit the signal into the pipe. If the audience can’t see the difference between 3:1 compressed (10G) and 20:1 compressed (1G) 4K video – then there is no debate. Well, of course, there is debate – one would expect quality and latency differences between 3:1, 20:1, or 8:1 compression . The importance of those differences depends on the application.

Crestron believes there is a place for both 1G and 10G switching, and is the current leader of the pack. There are several key reasons for this:

  • On the 10G side, new Crestron DM systems (and other 18G HDBaseT systems) feature VESA DSC compression for 4K60 4:4:4 video, while lower resolutions are uncompressed – a more common-sense way to keep HDBaseT values intact.
  • On the 1G side of the switch, Crestron’s NVX compresses all streams by 20:1, which will pass all variations of 8-bit and 10-bit 4K. As with most other IP Switch systems, NVX employs Motion JPEG 2000 (MJP2).
  • On the 1G side of the switch, Crestron’s NVX compresses all streams by 20:1, which will pass all variations of 8-bit and 10-bit 4K. As with most other IP Switch systems, NVX employs Motion JPEG 2000 (MJP2).
  • 1G applications are popular as existing Category wiring is likely 5e/6 UTP, so 1G switching is the only way to go without running all new cable (10G can be run over Cat 5e/6, but over a short distance) or fiber.
  • NVX is more than video, it’s designed as part of the full Crestron ecosystem, including control, audio, XiO Cloud, and Air Media.

But That’s not the Only 1G Option

Aurora Multimedia’ also supports both 10G and 1G IP switching solutions, both based on the same SDVoE technology. The VLX system is an interesting contender for 1G Cat 5e/6 video distribution. Its design philosophy rests on the reality that commercial video systems will never employ entertainment-level 4K content. By limiting resolution to 4K60 4:2:0/4K30 4:4:4 resolution, the system can offer SDVoE signal quality, a host of key integration features, and simplified 1G networking – all at a low transceiver cost. Features include:

  • Low 8:1 compression, 1.5 frame latency
  • Compact transceiver boxes and wall panels
  • 1G POE networking (9W)
  • 2-way IR and 1-way RS-232 control (An internal channel list can be created for simple IR wireless control)
  • Host and device USB 1.1/ 2.0 ports
  • Optional Dante audio routing

Aurora Multimedia and Crestron are only two of many providers of 1G IP Switching systems. I’ve mentioned the NVX and VLX systems as they represent two different approaches to the same application.

Is the Market Transitioning?

In terms of competitor’s hopes to gain a piece of Crestron’s market share – not so much. Crestron’s reputation, relationship and integration is a high hurdle to jump over. Talking with integrators, many systems are self-contained switching applications that work perfectly well with DM HDBaseT. If the IP switch is in the same rack as the video sources – it’s the same thing, anyhow.

Not that there aren’t good options available from others. AMX SVSI and Extron NAV enjoy solid control ecosystems as well. Kramer has a 1G system driven by cloud-sourced control. WyreStorm offers a surprising array of MPEG, JPEG 2000, 18G HDBaseT, and SVDoE switching systems.