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  • 1.  Crestron vs. AV over IP

    Posted 04-19-2022 18:19
    Hello All,

    I am looking into bringing our main venue space back up to its former glory. We can keep working with Crestron or "upgrade" to AV over IP. In my experience, and the experience of others in the ACUI community, Crestron has been a bit of a headache for everyone at some point.

    AV over IP is new, and I haven't had much experience with it, if you have had any experience with, suggestions, horror stories, or success stories I'd love to hear them!

    Andrew Mangum
    Production Services Coordinator
    West Texas A&M University
    Canyon, TX

  • 2.  RE: Crestron vs. AV over IP

    Posted 04-20-2022 10:37
    Hi Andrew,

    AV over IP has a lot of benefits, such as being able to troubleshoot an event space from home using a VPN. I'm not sure if every campus IT is the same structure as ours, but one reason I haven't had any AV over IP equipment installed is because it would need to run on a separate submask network than the rest of our building, which means running a lot more cable, buying gigabit network switches, and then configuring the network to work the way you need it to. 

    AV over IP technology has been around for a while, just under different names. Cobranet was one but that's an old standard, as well as Dante and a number of proprietary systems like Roland's Reac network. If you were looking to do a full upgrade of your audio system and video system, and integrate them all together, you might be limited to one or two companies such as Crestron or Extron. Troubleshooting equipment from either of these companies usually means you have to bring in someone who is certified by these companies, and if equipment fails in the middle of an event, you could be out of luck. 

    My recommendation would be to bring in a couple companies who do AV system design and installation and ask for two or three quotes with different configurations, upgraded Crestron like you currently have, AV over IP solution, or pieces of equipment in a more a la carte style that would work well for your venue and the types of events you run in it.

    Parry Lopez
    Assistant Director, Kent Student Center
    Kent State University
    Kent OH

  • 3.  RE: Crestron vs. AV over IP

    Posted 04-25-2022 02:11

    Hi Andrew,

    There is a lot of unpack with this topic.  I don't see Crestron or "AV over IP" as an either or.  Creston is a hardware manufacture that specializes in control and switching.  "AV over IP" would only refer to how the single moves from point to point and could be supported by many different products.

    The thing to keep in mind is that there are a few standards for audio and video that all have their place depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  On top of this not all manufactures will adopt all standards, making it hard to find a simple path.  I try to stay away from terms like AV as they really don't mean anything.  As an example, the contemporary meaning is "audio video" but in many cases this only refers to video and not audio only.

    If you are looking for conference room usage Dante is a good choice for audio.  They do have a video option now, but it is new and there isn't much hardware encode/decode support yet.  Most decent conference room video over IP solutions can typically support Dante for audio transfer in addition to video/audio.  Check out what Visionary Solutions is doing.  They have a few installs in Vegas where they are running hundreds of hotel room TVs and other spaces purely on their gear on the network.  The draw back here could be latency, but for conference rooms this isn't a big deal.

    For live usage NDI is pretty powerful for video(embedded audio).  With Dante again being the audio choice.  Some manufactures, more high end audio PA, will use AVB.  AVB has it's benefits but is a bit more work to integrate and typically must be on its own VLAN.

    I think one of the difficult design issues you run into is managing different spaces, however having one company do an install.  By this I mean many times you will have conference rooms and a large event space and an integrator will put Creston or Extron in all spaces.  While it works, the event space will typically not be outfitted with live sound type of equipment and be designed somewhat as a bigger conference room. 

    I am a Qsys programmer and use it daily in several types of spaces.  They use their own audio over IP protocol called Qlan, based on AES67 which is what Dante is based on, however can also be compatible with Dante.  Their control system is pretty easy to program compared to Creston.  The reason I bring up Qsys is that I have been seeing a ton of Qsys being installed for audio only and then Crestron or Extron there just to control it.  This is very redundant and adds a ton of extra cost.  If you see any Qsys on designs from integrators that also have Creston or Extron, make sure they sell you why they want to install two control systems.

    The last piece and perhaps more important than the actual product you use is understanding the network needs.  All these protocols use the network standards to their absolute maximum.  This means that if your network is not setup correctly they will not work reliably.  9 times out 10 audio and video over IP problems are network related.

    I have some other thoughts that could help.  If you would like to chat some more please reach out.


    Chris Jensen
    Technical Coordinator
    California State University Northridge
    Northridge CA

  • 4.  RE: Crestron vs. AV over IP

    Posted 04-26-2022 11:01
    Chris is 100% spot on.  I'll add that we are currently in the works of updating our main venue as well.  It's a divisible ballroom that is getting some good upgrades.  Control and Video distribution will be Crestron/NVX, live streaming is NDI and audio is mostly Dante with a splash of QLAN.  All of which will be on the campus network (separate VLAN). While I will agree that Crestron has been a bit of a headache for everyone at some point, my kid can be a headache too, but that doesn't mean I need to trade in my child. I can pretty much promise you that you'll have worse and more frequent headaches if you try to piece together a budget system that mimics the Crestron system.  In my past life, I have installed millions of dollars of Crestron equipment. It didn't all work but Crestron has a great warranty.  Generally speaking, I find that if your Crestron equipment makes it past year 2, it'll likely last until it's obsolete. Crestron warranty lasts 3 years and does advanced replacement.

    If AVoIP is new to your campus, start talks with your IT department now and let them know that it is something you are considering using. Whether it be NVX, NDI, Dante, QLAN or any of the other hundreds of flavors out there.  Especially NVX or the like. NVX is really taxing on a network so make sure you have good switches and a good topology to support the equipment.

    I don't know your situation but many universities have people on site that do a great job of designing, installing, and programming classrooms and meeting rooms.  Event venues can house much of the same technology but it is used differently enough that you may want to hire an AV integrator that has a good reputation of deploying AV in event spaces.  Go to your integrator with what your needs are and let them design the system and support it.  If they can put in the technology that they want to support, you likely won't need to call them much as they will be putting in stuff that works.

    Michael Gjesdal
    Event Services Operations Manager
    South Dakota State University
    Brookings SD