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A fairy story – End of the AVnu

The following is a work of fiction. I repeat, a work of fiction:

AVB is coming soon I swear

The year was 2008. I was at an event focused on professional audio, sitting in on a roundtable discussion with several folks from key companies in the industry. One gentleman was from The AVnu Alliance. The Lake Processor had launched the previous year, famously without any support for AVB. A lot of folks were up in arms about this — including several at this table. The guy from the AVnu Alliance assured everyone: AVB would be coming soon. And it was going to be wonderful. The notion that Lake wouldn’t include it on the Lake Processor because of performance issues was pure hogwash.

The same thing was said in 2009.

The same thing was said in 2010.

The same thing was still being said in 2011.

So you’ll forgive me when I snicker a bit at the news tonight that the AVnu Alliance plans to cease development of AVB for professional audio devices. Jason Perlow has the scoop for ZDNet, and it’s a doozy. Here’s the apparent forthcoming announcement from the AVnu Alliance on the matter:

‘We will no longer adapt AVB for professional audio device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Harman and Meyer configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.’

This announcement, along with talk of a focus on X192 protocol interoperability, should be out in the next day or so, according to Perlow. Yes, the AVnu Alliance is ending their efforts to get AVB onto professional audio devices.

But again, that’s odd, since all we’ve heard out of the company for the past 3+ years was either how AVB was coming, or how it was just about to be perfected. While it did finally come — in June 2010 for Harman — it was far from perfect. That’s putting it nicely. Put less nicely, it sucked.

The technology on professional audio devices was never ready for primetime. As Harry McCracken put it this past February: AVB: Always Exciting, Always Not Quite Here Yet. In that post, McCracken noted that BiAmp was touting full AVB support as a big selling point of their then-new Tesira. But there was an asterisk. AVB would not ship with the device itself. It would come later. It would always come later.

Things got really heated in April 2010, when Roland Hemming took to RH Consulting’s website to write a missive against AVB. Simply titled, Thoughts on AVB, Hemming destroyed the technology in 1,700 or so words. Perhaps most damning were his thoughts on AVB in particular. The key parts:

  • “In addition, AVB has not performed well on professional audio devices. We have routinely asked The AVnu Alliance to show us AVB performing well on a professional audio device, any audio device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.”
  • “The AVnu Alliance publicly said that AVB would ship on an audio device in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath.”

This letter prompted an ill-advised advertising campaign (which they ran all over the web, even on TechCrunch) by the AVnu Alliance in which they proclaimed: “We Love Roland”. It was transparent and lame. Worse, it was just about the weakest response possible. The AVnu Alliance didn’t address any of the issues Roland brought up. They tried to be cute. They brought an advertisement to a gun fight, as I noted at the time.

When pressed, the AVnu Alliance would only call Hemming’s dismissing of AVB “a smokescreen“. And they would continue to promise that the technology would soon be perfected. Better, the AVnu Alliance’s platform evangelist summed up his feelings with: “Go Screw Yourself Hemming“.

It’s sad that Hemming is no longer with us to see this day. But the truth is that he probably didn’t need to see it — he knew he was right. In his post, he outlined the need for a move towards technologies like X192 protocol interoperability, and now that’s exactly where The AVnu Alliance is heading.

Roland gets the last laugh.

This fictional article is taken from a real article by MG Siegler from Tech Crunch and changing the words ‘Adobe’ to ‘The AVnu Alliance’ .‘Flash’ & ‘Mobile Flash’ to ‘AVB’, ‘iPhone’ to ‘Lake Processor’, ‘mobile’ to ‘professional audio’, ‘smartphone’ to ‘audio device’, ‘Apple’ to ‘Lake’ or ‘RH Consulting’ dependent on context, ‘Android’ to ‘Harman’, ‘Playbook’ to ‘Meyer’, ‘Motorola’ to ‘BiAmp’, ‘Xoom Tablet’ to ‘Tesira’, ‘HTML5’ to ‘X192 protocol interoperability’, and ‘Steve Jobs’ to ‘Roland Hemming’!

With thanks to

Its just a bit of fun, so please don’t take this seriously.

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