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Networked Audio Products 2023

The Industry Benchmark for Networked AV Products

This year’s report into AV networked products is the most comprehensive to date. We have more accurate data on product totals and supported protocols.

Last year we added video and control protocols for the first time, this year we’ve added IPMX and NDI. We will add other protocols and technologies in the future.

There are a total of 5,219 networked AV products currently shipping from 552 brands.

Networked Audio Products 2023 Graph of products per protocol
Products per protocol over the years

 

What we counted

We are strict about the things we count. People have claimed that all sorts of items are compliant with a protocol. However, we have not included network switches, remote controls, cables or accessories. We only count actual networked AV products.

Networked Audio Products 2023 by product category graph

 

Audio over IP

Networked Audio Products 2023 - Audio Over IP graph
Audio product totals by protocol

Dante – audio – 3,714 products

Over the past 12 months Dante increased it’s dominance in audio networking technology. An order of magnitude more products and more manufacturers using Audinate’s technology than anyone else.

They added 410 new products in the past 12 months. This is more growth than all other protocols combined. 46 manufacturers shipped Dante products for the first time.

Overall Dante showed 12% growth in audio products this year.

AES67 – 3,921 compatible products

Our totals for AES67 compatible products work across Dante, RAVENNA, Livewire+, Wheatnet and a few that are ‘raw’ AES67 compatible. We can’t be entirely confident of the AES67 total because not all Dante solutions support AES67 and we don’t precisely know how Dante has been adopted into every product. We are working to get better information on that. However, the vast majority of AES67 products achieve that compatibility using Dante.

ST2110-30 (AES67*) – 955 compatible products

ST2110-31 – 120 compatible products

ST2110 is a standard of many parts, so we have started to break it down a little, see below for video. We have listed products that support either of the two supported audio payloads: ST 2110-30 and ST2110-31. Its likely that these totals are higher but it is difficult to ascertain exact figures.

*Note: ST2110-30 and AES67 aren’t exactly the same, there are some minor technical differences but we don’t need to talk about that here.

RAVENNA – 302 products

RAVENNA shows the second highest increase in audio products with steady growth and eleven new manufacturers.

AVB – 105 products of which 33 are MILAN compliant

MILAN and AVB have both increased with some new products. AVB and MILAN are showing some growth but still nothing significant for a technology that is 15 years old.

Note that whilst MILAN products are compatible with each other, almost no other AVB products have interoperability, they simply use the same underlying (AVB) technology. We count all MILAN products as AVB as well, because MILAN is a subset of AVB technology.

I’ve previously explained the difference between AVB and MILAN here as well as giving my personal opinion about the viability of this technology in the AV market.

Livewire+ and Wheatnet (& Gibraltar) 29 and 58 products respectively

These are protocols used only by their creators but are AES67 compliant.

LiveWire

This year we decided to no longer to count Livewire products.

Cobranet

We stopped counting Cobranet products three years ago.

 

Video over IP

Networked Audio Products 2023 - Video over IP graph
Video product totals by protocol

Our research into IP video products is currently for AVB, Dante AV, IPMX , NDI, SDVoE and ST2110 . We’ll consider adding others in the future.

The largest proportion of networked video products are simply getting other types video signal on and off the network. This means that most video networking is based on HDMI or SDI connections being coded into a networked stream and decoded again further down the line.

We show in brackets the number of products that are just video encoders, decoders and their associated control box

The SDVoE number looks better than the reality: there are around 100 encoders and decoders with tiny variations – such as USB, copper, single mode or multimode fibre options. Furthermore there are some identical products sold under different brand names. Our methodology means we count each SKU therefore each one of these counts as a different product but the total doesn’t really reflect a high amount of customer choice.

The fact that encoders and decoders dominate the products reminds us of the early days of audio over IP when there were a lot of analogue-to-network input/output boxes, but this has since diminished significantly with thousands of products now integrating the technology directly.

There is a clear divide between video over IP technologies that are well integrated into many video products and protocols whose products are mostly just encoders and decoders, getting video on and off the network. We consider protocols as more mature if they have a higher percentage of devices that are not simply encoders and decoders.

How embedded or mature is each video protocol?

Networked Audio Products 2023 - Percentage of products not encoders graph

NDI – 387 products (37 encoders/decoders)

Having not counted NDI last year, we can see that NDI is currently the leader in networked video. Furthermore, just like ST2110 video, it shows more maturity by being fully integrated into a good number of products rather than just being a used in converters to get conventional video on and off the network. It was difficult to verify NDI products so we suspect that there are a few more out there.

SDVoE – 377 products (295 encoders/decoders)

SDVoE has shown very good growth this year but encoders and decoders dominate the product choices.

ST2110 video – 197 products (34 encoders/decoders)

We’ve tightened up our count of ST2110 video products and there is good growth. We found this category of product the most difficult to find and we suspect that there are many more products using ST 2110 video.

DanteAV – 20 products (6 encoders/decoders)

The first Dante AV over IP products were launched seven months ago. Audinate have just stated that a further 25 manufacturers have licensed Dante AV technology.

IPMX ‘ready’ – 6 products (6 encoders/decoders)

IMPX is the AV flavour of ST 2110. Strictly speaking this isn’t a fully released protocol and the products we found describe themselves as ‘IPMX ready’
You can learn more about the differences between ST 2110 and IPMX here.

AVB video – 2 products (2 encoders/decoders)

Despite AVB supporting video, other than Biamp, whose AVB products only operate within the Biamp ecosystem, and are not compatible other AVB video products. These two products are included within the AVB Audio over IP total.

 

Control

AES 70 (OCA) – 74 products

Ember+ – 72 products

NMOS – 128 products

The above aren’t necessarily ‘competitor’ protocols – most Ember+ products use NMOS for discovery. The vast majority of all these products also support an AV over IP networking protocol.

Predicting the Growth of IP Video

Video over IP has taken longer to adopt than audio for a number of reasons. On a 1Gbit network we effectively have unlimited audio channels. For video, this bandwidth only allows very few or even just one video channel to pass. Furthermore, audio reached ‘perfect’ quality quite a few years ago, whilst video quality is still on a journey from HD to 4K to 8K with increasing bandwidth demands that most current IP infrastructure can’t handle. Finally, the world of networked video continues to use many single manufacturer, walled garden solutions. We see this approach as unsustainable.

We now have two years of data so we can start to draw a line.

 

Our Methodology

Despite our hard work, we must allow for human error in our results and some manufacturers provide poor product information. Furthermore, counting products is not the most entertaining of tasks! However, even allowing a few percent for human error, our results are still a very realistic indicator and no one else comes close to the work we put into this.

As we mention every time we do this, we set out some rules for counting devices as this proved to be less straightforward than we thought. When is a product a product? When is something a different product? The consensus has always been that we are fair, but we are always happy to discuss. Our perspective is always from the angle of “What can a user actually buy?”.

Can you buy it?

We have investigated products that appear to be shipping. It’s sometimes difficult to tell if products are discontinued or if they are yet on the market. We have done what we can to verify whether each product is available for actual purchase or, in these days of component shortages, is on the market and available to order. We have blogged about component shortages which you can view here.

To be clear, we are NOT including discontinued products. We report what is available now, not a historical record of all networked products.

Our research is a continuously moving target and this round was completed early February 2023.

Our rules for counting products

  • We generally count every Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) of a product. If a company sells a 2x600W amplifier and an otherwise similar 2x1200W amplifier they are counted as two products, because they have a different use.
  • Where the same product is available to purchase in a variety of card configurations, such as a processor that is 16-in/16-out, 8-in/24-out, 24-in/8-out etc., this is counted as one product as the overall channel count and chassis size is the same.
  • Where a similar product is available in different models 8-in/8-out, 12-in/12-out, 16-in/16-out, or a mixer with different input channel counts or chassis sizes, then these are counted as separate products as they would have a different use case.
  • Sometimes a product is sold by more than one brand name from the same owner. In other cases a product is made by one manufacturer and sold by another (OEM product). In either of these cases the products may have the same name or a completely different name. We count every different instance of the products because they are different SKUs.
  • Interface cards are counted in these product totals. Where a manufacturer’s network interface card fits into many audio products we have counted each shipping product, because that interface enables that product to become a networked AV device.
  • Some manufacturers market products as a series or range of similar products, for example ‘xyz’ series microphones. We don’t count the series name, just the individual products in that product line
  • A software driver or program that enables a computer to support a particular network protocol is counted as one product. If there are several versions with different channel counts or capabilities then each one counts as a separate product.
  • Where a loudspeaker or microphone is available in more than one colour, but is otherwise identical, we have counted that as one product
  • Some products that do not have a media networking connection themselves but are very frequently used with a bridging device. This is true for some amplifiers. Also some mixing consoles are simply control surfaces with no connectivity themselves. For now we have only counted the items that have actual media connectivity; in the case of amplifiers, we count just the bridging device and in the case of mixers we count the stage boxes and/or mix engines.

 

 

Summary

The number of networked AV products on the market continues to grow despite the supply chain shortages.

For audio, Dante is by far the market leader with RAVENNA a long way back but in a solid second place. The number of products for all other protocols is pretty inconsequential.

For video, we are still at the start of a journey that is currently lead by NDI, not only in numbers of products but in the highest percentage of products embedding the technology inside, not just using encoders and decoders.

Roland Hemming February 2023

Disclaimer

RH Consulting presents its information as is. We have made best endeavours to provide the most accurate information. We take no responsibility for any loss or damage as a consequence of the information given in this report.

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Significantly more detailed data from this research is available on request.
Thanks to my team of advisors, technical experts and researchers: Richard, Valeriy, Will, Hannah, Sander, Julija, Nicoleta and Bojana along with our colleagues at Copper Leaf Media.

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