What is HDMI® over IP? 4 Reasons to Use It

Functionality of HDMI over IP: Control HDMI over Ethernet Switch

You may be familiar with extenders and matrices that transmit HDMI over Ethernet cables, but do you know that video over IP technology is now taking over complex application scenarios?

What is HDMI over IP?

HDMI over IP, or AV over IP, is a transmission technology that processes a compressed/uncompressed signal and transfers it over a network. With HDMI over IP, you can integrate and manage multiple network devices without distance limits.

As HDMI over IP is extensively applied to professional audio-visual projects, we will explain this technology and compare HDMI over IP with traditional HDMI matrix, switching, and extension systems in this article. You may consider employing an over-IP system in your next integration project.

HDMI over IP, or HDMI to IP, utilizes IP protocols, sends HDMI over Ethernet cables, and passes through Ethernet switches to achieve powerful video distribution and switching.

What's the Difference Between HDMI over IP and Traditional AV Systems?

First, we need to clarify the differences between traditional HDMI matrix switching and the HDMI over IP system. Though they appear to be similar at first glance, they are distinct from each other in several ways. We can compare HDMI over IP and traditional AV systems from two aspects:

  • System Infrastructure
  • Functionality of Devices

System Infrastructure

Here we draw a comparison between HDMI over IP and HDMI matrix switching systems. Both aim to achieve the goal of distribution and switching between AV sources and displays but with different infrastructure layouts.

HDMI over IP diagram. How to set up HDMI over IP matrix? Comparison with general video matrix switch systems.

Traditional HDMI Matrix Switching System

Traditional matrix system consists of the following elements:

  • Sources

AV sources from NVRs, Blu-ray DVD players, PC, or HDMI cameras.

  • Transmitters

Processes the signal and sends it to the remote end.

  • Receivers

Receives the signal from the local end and sends it to a display.

  • Displays

Devices like TVs, LCD monitors, and projectors.

‍‍HDMI over IP System

HDMI over IP system, on the other hand, comprises source devices and displays but with different transmission kits:

  • Sources
  • Encoders

Converts an AV source into chunks of digital data called packets and sends them through a network.

  • Decoders

Converts packets back to an AV signal and sends them to the destination.

  • Ethernet Switches / Network Switches

An Ethernet switch is used in the IP system to organize Ethernet devices and uses packet switching to send packets from one/ multiple sources to different destinations.

  • Displays


In the traditional AV system, each device is designated for a specific function, such as an extender for signal extension or a switcher for signal switching. In constrast, an HDMI over IP system has only encoders and decoders, which means the same devices perform all the extension, distribution, and switching in one system.

HDMI over IP Extension

HDMI over IP Extender can extend HDMI over Ethernet for 100 meters.
Every end-point between an encoder, a decoder, and an Ethernet switch can be 100 meters (300 feet) apart.

HDMI over IP Distribution

HDMI over IP is used in video over IP distribution.
Use an encoder, an Ethernet switch, and multiple decoders to distribute an HDMI signal.

HDMI over IP Switching

HDMI over IP is used to switch multiple HDMI sources.
Use multiple encoders, an Ethernet switch, and a decoder to switch multiple HDMI signals.

HDMI over IP Matrix Switching

HDMI over IP Matrix Switching system diagram.
Use multiple encoders and decoders through an Ethernet switch to route various HDMI signals.

4 Reasons to Use HDMI over IP

We summarize the benefits of HDMI over IP that distinguish it from traditional AV systems. Let's explore the powerful and flexible HDMI over IP that changes the game!

1. Greater Distance

HDMI cables have a limited length of up to 20 meters, which is often insufficient for many projects. By converting HDMI signals to IP, you can leverage the standardized Ethernet protocol, which allows you to transmit HDMI over Ethernet cables for up to 100 meters. You can also extend the transmission distance by using a daisy chain topology with multiple Ethernet switches or by using fiber optic cables, which can reach up to 10 kilometers.

2. Highly Scalable

Scalability is a key advantage of an AV over IP system. Unlike traditional AV systems that require specific devices for each environment, AV over IP systems can easily adapt to changing requirements. For example, suppose you have a 4x4 HDMI matrix installed, but you need to add another monitor and video source to the system. With a traditional AV system, you would have to replace the expensive matrix with a larger one. With an AV over IP system, you would only need to add an extra encoder and decoder to the network, and you can configure the system as you wish.

AV/KVM over IP system infrastructure diagram.

3. Cost-Effective

Nowadays, many companies already have Ethernet-based network infrastructures. You can easily integrate Ethernet devices into your current network without building a new one from scratch. The high scalability of AV over IP also allows you to avoid costly re-cabling and device upgrades.

Scalable and cost-effective AV over IP: Connect to multiple encoders/decoders instead of replacing the existing HDMI switcher/splitter.

4. Flexible Controls

Ethernet offers great flexibility for controlling your AV devices. You can use a keyboard, mouse, PC software, and mobile apps to manage your AV system. This feature enables you to easily control a large-scale AV system, without getting overwhelmed by the numerous inputs and outputs.

HDMI/KVM over IP Systems offer flexible control across different devices.
HDMI extenders offer point-to-point control.
HDMI over IP can be controlled via computer software and mobile apps.

HDMI over IP Applications

HDMI over IP is a versatile solution for various scenarios. You can find applications in sports bars, department stores, churches, and control centers. All these scenarios require frequent video source switching and streaming on multiple displays. In this case, building a system with HDMI over IP transmitters and receivers can be more effective than using individual extenders, matrixes, and other dedicated devices.

HDMI over IP Applications: Sports bars, department stores, churches, and control centers.
HDMI over IP systems for control centers to send signals from server rooms to monitoring rooms.

SC&T AV over IP Products

HDMI over IP Extender specification chart.

4K HDMI over IP Extender (PoE), USB, KVM over IP.

HDMI over IP Extender, VGA over IP and DVI over IP Extender.


Ethernet or IP technology opens up new possibilities for various industries, including the professional audio and video industry. By building your AV system over IP, you can integrate multiple AV devices, scale up the system as needed, and control the system more easily. However, you should also be aware of the challenges, such as cybersecurity and the initial setup cost, to ensure the best outcome for your projects.

AV over IP Case Studies

AVoIP with RS232 Environmental Control System Case Study

Roadside Assistance Center - AVoIP with RS232 Enablement, Customizing an Environmental Control System

Have you been to a roadside assistance office? When your car gets stuck on a road, you call for help and a tow truck is coming over to take care of your vehicle. This is what a roadside assistance center is all about. Now, let's go through how A/V professionals helped the assistance center build a user-friendly A/V system.

AVoIP Application in Traffic Control Center Case Study

Traffic Control Center, New Taipei City, Taiwan

As one of the biggest cities in Taiwan, the city has millions of vehicles and scooters traffic on a daily basis and more than 27,000pcs of CCTV cameras had been installed around the area with only 2,053 km²...

Integration of CCTV Cameras and AVoIP System for Interrogation Training Center Case Study

Integration of CCTV Cameras and AVoIP System for Interrogation Training Center in the UK

In order to obtain evidence/ information used in criminal proceedings, the UK police department has been delivering professional training like PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence) and ABE (Achieving Best Evidence) to UK police officers.

AVoIP in Emergency Response Center Case Study

Emergency Response Center in Taiwan Transport Hub

It's common that two or more organizations operate businesses in one establishment and each organization has its property and sensitive information. However, this becomes a challenge for system integrators.

5-Minute Setup Video for SC&T AV over IP

2023-11-24 4:00 pm

Cable Used

Product Name


Power Source



1080p Distance

4K Distance

Optical Fiber Cable

HDMI Fiber Cable


(Reflection of Light)

Power From Source

Video/ Audio




HDMI Fiber Dongle Extender

Mini USB


300M/ 1KM

300M/ 1KM

Network Cable

HDMI CAT5e Dongle Extender


Power From Source

Video/ Audio




HDMI CAT5e Extender

External Power Supply

Video/ Audio




HDMI over IP Extender

Internet Protocol

External Power Supply

Video/ Audio




HDMI KVM over IP Extender*

Video/ Audio/ Keyboard/ Mouse



HDMI Cable

HDMI Repeater


External Power Supply

Video/ Audio




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