Crestron Rumored to Be Starting an AV-over-IP Alliance with Microsoft and Intel

Update: I spoke to Robin van Meeuwen, president and CEO of Crestron EMEA, at ISE 2018, where he confirmed this story to be true.

I think it’s possible that Crestron is, behind the scenes, forming an “alliance” of sorts of AV-over-IP companies that focus exclusively (for now) on the 1Gig method of sending AV signals over an IT network. Sources from at least two big display manufacturers have told me that Crestron contacted them to join a new alliance that it’s forming with Microsoft and Intel. Here’s one reason I think this could be true.

Microsoft and Intel? Yes, that’s what both of the sources told me and that site, if real, certainly indicates that.

Apparently, Microsoft wants to standardize the security of an AV-over-IP network and Intel is providing the chip technology. Crestron apparently provided the engineering to create the platform of a combined input/output board that they would OEM to manufacturers to put inside monitors and projectors. I use the term input/output intentionally as Crestron is supposedly telling manufacturers that one board would serve as both.

The Intel chip technology used in the 1Gig platform is based on an Altera chip that compresses up to 4K60 4:4:4 video to 1Gig — Intel purchased Altera back in late 2015. The chip actually being used is the Arria 10 that supposedly has the CPU processing power to encode/decode (and scale) UHD (3840×2160) content.

But, the big news here is that Crestron, a manufacturer, would be forming an alliance with Microsoft and Intel to, conceivably, complete with the SDVoE Alliance — started originally by AptoVision who has since been purchased by SEMTECH. SDVoE is the only 10Gig AV-over-IP system on the market right now and is supported by over 25 companies who are making AV-over-IP gear (and switches in NETGEAR’s case) for the AV market. And the SDVoE Alliance includes control companies like Kramer and Savant as well as switching and AV distribution companies like DVIGear (Disclaimer: I am the founder of DVIGear, though I no longer hold any ownership in the company.), AuroraZeeVeeIDK and iMAG Systems and display manufacturer, Christie Digital.

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For the naysayers out there that might not believe this is possible, I’ve included some screen-shots of what I was told is in a PowerPoint presentation given to the two display companies. Both of them sent me similar screen shots. And, if it does include Microsoft and Intel (both IT companies), and they help promote it, it will carry more weight than if Crestron tried to do this alone.

Crestron seems to have taken a very offensive approach with their NVX product line, lately, by not only lowering the pricing, according to both manufacturer reps and dealers I spoke to recently, but they told us they plan, at the ISE show in Amsterdam next week, to do a side-by-side of their 1Gig solution in a sort of a shoot-out with the SDVoE 10Gig solution and AMX’s own SVSi products — the current market leader.

I will let you know what I hear (and see) at ISE as I will be there.

One last note: AV-over-IP is at the beginning of its growth curve — at most, innovators and early adopters. This is all new. The industry is going to switch from HDMI and traditional matrix switching, eventually, but not all at once in 2018. 2018 will be the launching-pad year for the technology and AV integrators will likely see every major manufacturer enter the space in one format or another this year. But the idea of an all-of-a-sudden switch all AV to move all our signals across a network is a decade-long-process before it truly pervades the early majority. Not a one-year thing.

(We contacted Crestron to see if they would confirm the rumored alliance, but they did not want to comment at press time.)

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (www.amx.com), a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (www.extron.com), rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at gary@ravepubs.com..

  • Very well possible for more than just the few following ideas:
    a) Crestron pulled it off before with Crestron Connected. Many will remember that Crestron Connected in the Panasonc projectors were there before HDBaseT was a AV house hold name. Crestron did not make any money on Crestron Connected but this could now change with actually selling these hardware modules
    b) Their Mercury has lots of Microsoft IOT cloud stuff in there, so Crestron already invested heavily in this MS technology. To my knowledge no other big AV manufacturer did follow until now, so no wonder when MS will present Crestron as their AV-IoT poster boy. Happend before with other IoT-verticals getting the MS PR hug.
    c) Intel is on the active lookout getting more into vertical markets as they expect their PC business to not sustain. One of their chips being the center piece of something “industry wide” is certainly appealing.
    d) Microsoft’s adventure with MIRACAST was, well, not that great. It followed Apple’s Airplay and other similar consumer technologies, which are mostly OK-ish, but were never really PRO. Technologies like this could now be the PRO-Airplay or Miracast v.next or whatever you wanna call it leaving their limitations behind.
    e) The slide mentions “software implemenation”. This makes me think of something like DANTE Via or so, where a PC can send content on its own without any transmitter hardware being needed. So instead of connecting a notebook via HDMI to a hardware transmitter box, one installs a (cool-name-here)-display driver on the PC and bingo.

    BTW: If scaled down to work over (slower) WLAN this wipes all the AirMedias/ClickShares/etc off the table.

    All in all, this one could be big, but lets wait and see if this is just hot air PR or something really big.