What is HDMI over IP? 4 Reasons to Use it

What is HDMI over IP?

Are you familiar with "HDMI over IP" or "AV over IP" in recent years? What it is all about?

It is a transmission technology that processes (compress/ uncompress) signals and transfers them over a network.

With this technology, you can integrate multiple network devices and manage them without geographical limits.

In fact, HDMI over IP is already around you. You can find its applications in daily life, such as streaming, broadcasting, and more.

However, another argument in recent years is how this technology can be applied to the professional audio and video market and need to be considered on your next project.

Differences between Traditional System Structure and HDMI over IP

Firstly, we have to clarify the differences between traditional HDMI and HDMI over IP. Both systems may seem similar at first glance, but they're different in many ways.

We can explore in two aspects.

  1. System Infrastructure
  2. Functionality

1. System Infrastructure

Both matric systems achieve the same goal but in a different layout.

1.1 A traditional AV system will require:
  • Source

Devices like NVRs, Blu-ray DVD players, PC, and HDMI cameras.

  • Transmitter

Processing signal and sending it to the remote end.

  • Receiver

Receiving a signal from the local end and send it to a display.

  • Display

Devices like TVs, LCD monitors, and projects for display video sources.

1.2 An HDMI over IP system will require:
  • Source
  • Encoder

It can convert an AV source into chunks of digital data called packets and send them through a network.

  • Decoder

It can convert packets back to an AV signal and send it to a destination.

  • Ethernet Switch/ Network Switch

It can organize Ethernet devices and use packet switching to send packets from one/ multiple sources to different destinations.

  • Display

2. Functionality

In the traditional AV system, each device is designated for a specific function, such as an extender for signal extension, a switcher for signal switching, but in the AV over IP system, all functions are combined into encoders and decoders.

2.1 Extension
Every end-point between an encoder, a decoder, or an Ethernet switch can be 100 meters (300 feet) apart.

2.2 Distribution
Use an encoder, an Ethernet switch, and multiple decoders to distribute an HDMI signal.

2.3 Switch
Use multiple encoders, an Ethernet switch, and a decoder to switch multiple HDMI signals.

2.4 Routing
Use multiple encoders and decoders thru an Ethernet switch to route various HDMI signals.

4 Reasons to Use HDMI over IP

1. Greater Distance

HDMI cables can reach up to 20 meters, but it's usually not enough in most projects. When HDMI signals are converted to IP, you can quickly take advantage of standardized Ethernet protocol which can be transmitted thru regular ethernet cable for 100 meters long. You can also consider daisy chain more ethernet switch or use fiber to have more distance.

2. Highly Scalable

Scalability is a crucial factor for an AV system. Before converted audio & video signals to IP, we usually install the devices that are most suitable for the current environment. However, sometimes the requirement changes over time. For example, a 4x4 HDMI matrix is installed but suddenly needs to intergrade another monitor and video source into the system. The pricey matrix becomes insufficient and needs to be replaced. In the same scenario but under an AV over IP system structure, an additional encoder and a decoder are the only two devices needed to complete the upgrade.

3. Cost-effective

Nowadays, most enterprises have existing network infrastructures. You can easily integrate Ethernet devices into the existing network instead of building a new one. The high scalability of HDMI over IP may also save you some costs in the near future from re-cabling and upgrading devices.

4. Flexible Controls

Due to the flexibility of Ethernet. Every device within the network can be controlled via not only a keyboard and a mouse, but also PC software and mobile APP. This feature gives users access to intuitively control a large-scale AV system without getting confused by a vast amount of inputs and outputs.

Circumstances to Use HDMI over IP

Typically, HDMI over IP can apply to a variety of scenarios. You can see the application in daily life, such as sports bars, department stores, churches, and control centers. They all share a common demand which is frequently switching video sources on multiple displays. In these cases, building up a system with individual extenders, matrix, and other designated devices may still remain as the most effective solution.

SC&T's AV over IP Products



Ethernet or IP technology brings opportunities to every corner of the world. The professional audio and video industry is no exception. Building your AV system over IP creates the possibility to integrate multiple AV devices, expand the system whenever is needed, and have more intuitive control over a complicated system. Nonetheless, with all the benefits, we should also be alert to cybersecurity, and the cost of the initial setup in order to have the best outcome for your projects.

Related Products

No items found.
No items found.