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Networked Audio Products 2024

Networked AV Products Surpass 6000!

This year’s report into networked AV products builds on our annual research. We have more data on product totals and supported protocols. With twelve years of audio product research and three years of video numbers, the video trend is starting to become visible.

There are a total of 6,013 networked AV products currently shipping from 602 brands.

Total Audio Products Per Protocol graphic
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 media networking protocol. However, we have not included network switches, remote controls, cables or accessories. We only count actual networked professional audio and video products.

Top 10 Products graphic
Top ten categories of networked audio product

 

Audio over IP

One point to note overall is there may be some consolidation in the number of products on the market. The supply chain crisis has meant that some manufacturers are shipping just as many products overall but fewer variants, so changes in number of products available do not necessarily represent any change in sales volume.

We need to show some perspective on growth for the different protocols. MILAN introduces one new product a month, against one a week for RAVENNA and more than one a day for Dante.

Audio Over IP Graphic
Audio product totals by protocol

 

Dante – audio – 4,131 products

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

They added 420 new products in the past 12 months. This is more growth than all other protocols combined. 45 manufacturers shipped Dante products for the first time.

Overall Dante showed 11% growth in audio products this year.

AES67 – 4,380 compatible products

AES67 goes over 4,300! Our totals for AES67 compatible products work across Dante, RAVENNA, Livewire+, Wheatnet and a few that are ‘raw’ AES67 compatible. We are increasingly confident that the majority of Dante solutions support AES67 but we don’t precisely know how Dante has been adopted into every product so the AES67 figure might be higher.

ST2110-30 (AES67*) – 1048 compatible products

ST2110-31 – 375 compatible products

ST 2110-30 goes over 1,000 – this reflects the increase in ST 2110 products overall.

ST 2110 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 ST 2110-31. It’s likely that these totals are higher but it is difficult to ascertain exact figures.

*Note: ST 2110-30 and AES67 aren’t exactly the same, there are some minor technical differences but we don’t need to talk about that here.

RAVENNA – 344 products

RAVENNA again shows the second highest increase in audio products with steady growth similar to the growth in Dante but from a much smaller product base.

AVB – 119 products of which 45 are MILAN compliant

MILAN and AVB have both increased with some new products. AVB and MILAN are showing some growth.

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.

We note the recent initiative announced by d&b and L-Acoustics to write a software platform for managing MILAN networks.This is good news but like MILAN itself, it is something that should have existed years ago.

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

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

CobraNet and Livewire

We no longer count these products.

 

Video over IP

Video-over-IP is taking 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.

Video Over IP Graphic
Video product totals by protocol

 

Our research into IP video products is currently for AVB, Dante AV, IPMX , NDI, SDVoE and ST 2110. Video-over-IP is still an immature market in comparison to networked audio.

Many networked video products are still simply getting other types video signal on and off the network – encoding HDMI or SDI sources into a networked stream and decoded again further down the line into a display or recorder.

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 of what is essentially the same product. 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.

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

Total Video Products Per Protocol

How embedded or mature is each video protocol?

The sale of encoders and decoders 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.

Percentage of Products Not Encoders Graphic
Higher percentage of products that aren’t encoders equates to a more mature ecosystem

 

NDI – 494 products (49 encoders/decoders)

NDI leads the pack in product numbers for video-over-IP but we have not differentiated between the different NDI formats at this time. Different formats would have different use cases but this survey is about networked connectivity and not the minutiae of which is better.

It was difficult to verify NDI products so we suspect that there are a few more out there.

SDVoE – 364 products (315 encoders/decoders)

SDVoE showed a small over decline this year and encoders and decoders continue to dominate the product offer. This is not a rich ecosystem of video-over-IP products.

ST2110 video – 344 products (55 encoders/decoders)

ST 2110 showed significant 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 – 62 products (36 encoders/decoders)

The first Dante AV-over-IP products were launched a little over 18 months ago so this is a tripling of product numbers in a year with 17 new Dante AV manufacturers. As with NDI we have included all three variants of Dante AV together at this time as there is not enough product spread currently to count them separately.

IPMX ‘ready’ – 7 products (7 encoders/decoders)

IMPX is the AV flavour of ST 2110. Strictly speaking this isn’t a fully released protocol but the products we found already describe themselves as IPMX. We assume if there are minor adjustments when the standard is finalised, then these products will automatically be compatible or will become so with a minor firmware upgrade.
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 with other AVB video products. These two products are included within the AVB Audio-over-IP total.

NDI has the largest number of products, ST 2110 had the largest numerical increase and Dante AV showed the largest percentage growth – can you decipher a trend from that?

 

Control

We were unable to reliably count control. We just couldn’t find the numbers for Ember +. NMOS is inextricably tied to a lot of ST 2110 implementations, so you can draw your own conclusions for the popularity of that by looking at the ST 2110 numbers.

We did however get the numbers for AES70 (OCA). Incidentally OCA have just announced a new version of AES70, which includes the ability to help patch some networked audio streams.

AES 70 (OCA) – 93 products – up from 74 in 2023

 

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 2024.

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
  • For protocols that have variants (e.g. NDI and Dante AV) we have counted all the variants as one for simplicity but this does not mean that every NDI or every DanteAV product can connect to each other
  • 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 and we are emerging well from the supply chain crisis.

For audio, Dante is by far the market leader as it has been for the past eight years. It has added more new products than all other protocols combined, and then some.

RAVENNA is a long way back but in a solid second place. The number of products for all other protocols is frankly inconsequential.

For video, we now have three years of data but there is still a long way to go. The product numbers are still small in comparison to audio and there are still all the signs of a relatively immature market. Some very major players in video have not yet adopted one of the video over IP standards that we survey. Is it time for them to jump off the fence?

NDI still leads the product numbers. NDI and ST2110 added a very similar number of actual products but the highest percentage growth was from the relative newcomer DanteAV.

Roland Hemming – February 2024

 

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 advisors, technical experts and researchers: Richard and Julija, along with our colleagues
at Copper Leaf Media.

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