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Getting Creative With AV over IP

Written on June 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm, by

 

One of the interesting things about AV over IP is that it offers a unique way to accomplish AV communication goals.  The rules change when your sources and end points are routed over a network; and this offers a great deal of flexibility.  An integrator recently presented some design requirements that allow an advantage with this flexibility.

 

The system called for 16 IP cameras on a network that needed to be routed to and controlled from a separate network without any Ethernet connection between the two networks.

 

The 16 cameras are connected to a layer-3 switch.  The IP addresses of each of those cameras are entered as a proxy on the decoder which has an RTSP license for hosting 3rd-party streams.  Each IP camera can provide different resolutions; and by using lower-resolution streams, the decoder does not to scale the video.  With the decoder hosting these RTSP Streams, the decoder now becomes the source into the encoder.  Usually we think of the decoder as the end point, but not in this scenario.  The connection between the two is an HDMI cable.  This addresses one of the primary requirements of the system which is security.  The customer does not want the IP cameras accessible from the network on which they are being viewed.

 

The encoder that is connected to the switch has an RTSP license that allows it to send RTSP streams to 3rd-party devices.  Viewers with access to the “viewing” network can use a soft decoder like VLC to pick up the stream via a URL.  The viewer sees whatever is on that URL which could be any of the 16 camera feeds or a combination of multiple cameras in a layout created in the VIEW® Pro Panorama Software.  The switching between these sources and layouts is accomplished using our VIEW Virtual Matrix software (see links to sample videos below) or our free Virtual Control software.  This GUI can even be accessed via a mobile device.  For more extensive control we offer free modules for all of the popular control systems.

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0sUvEZJUaAMMnhIOThUTmRtVWc

 

From the ClearOne side, all this requires is a single Encoder with and RTSP License and a Single Decoder with both and RTSP and a Composition license.  While it’s not something you run into every day, it is a unique way to solve a problem.  The end result is a very flexible, scalable and certainly a very cost effective solution.

 

 

 

See all of our VIEW® Pro Streaming solutions.

 

 

 

We Have a Facebook Contest Winner!

Written on June 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm, by

 

We know that you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting in anticipation for the announcement of the winner of the ‘MEDIA COLLABORATION KIT’.

 

Ladies and gentleman with out further ado, we give you the winner, Colby Cox!!!!

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

 

All of these awesome prizes are yours! You’re now the talk of town and super famous.

 

Thank you to all who entered our Facebook Contest. It was really fun and was a raving success.

Be on the look our for the next contest with even more great prizes to give away and you too can be cast into the limelight of the Pro AV industry.

 

 

 

 

Video Walls Cannot be That Simple

Written on June 8, 2017 at 10:15 am, by

 

It can seem daunting – creating content on such a large canvas for public consumption. Video walls make a huge impression (pun intended) for lobby areas, informative signage, or even retail use. Even with the hardware setup, just configuring the sources to appear as desired can be a time-consuming task… at least until now.

 

Auto-discovery of sources can be key to saving time — and sanity — with a video-wall project. The foundation of a fully expandable mesh network of sources and endpoints makes the concept nearly nirvana, and VIEW® Pro delivers. It’s really that simple, with one screen or many, and the PANORAMA software license, you can add a video wall to your existing network, and configure it literally in minutes.

 

Watch these examples, to see just how easy it can be with our latest VIEW Pro Features and Tips:

(4 videos in Playlist)

 

 

Corporate AV Should Be Exceptional

Written on May 26, 2017 at 11:35 am, by

 

Corporate AV has become ubiquitous in almost every setting, as digital devices seem to be constantly in-hand, and the expectations of immediacy and flexibility in sharing information is driving our business decisions more than ever. Meetings with remote participants have evolved not only to include video with an unfailing audio foundation; but also the flexibility to share content from multiple people— and multiple devices —with an assumed ease-of-use.

 

Flexible Cloud and Room systems are the key to true adoption, and efficient remote meetings in which key decisions can be made. Users require the full gamut of media collaboration from rich video and web conferencing Cloud-only services, to total solutions for huddle spaces and conference rooms that also include Cloud plus multi-user wireless presentation, recording and streaming, traditional video conferencing— all with audio conferencing & PTZ camera endpoints. Solutions for “bring-your-own familiar app” are a new necessity for true adoption of conferencing spaces.

 

For conference spaces to truly be used to their full potential, systems need to include Cloud access, as well as flexible and intuitive room systems with built-in Cloud collaboration; the foundation of ClearOne’s COLLABORATE® Pro and Spontania. With true ease-of-use and flexibility, conference spaces become busy and utilized for small ad-hoc meetings and large, formal meetings alike. User needs are satisfied- from the ability to share content from more than one person simultaneously, to more flexibility for content sharing with smartphones and tablets. The ClearOne lineup delivers a host of features that are right-sized for any collaboration space or need.

 

This InfoComm International infographic (used with permission) hits some key points in this burgeoning age of video collaboration, the need for flexible systems that can handle audio conferencing, traditional video conferencing, Cloud video collaboration with familiar web applications, BYOD, wireless presentation, and even the needs for recording and streaming. We’ve become so attuned to video, that we stay more focused when non-verbal visual cues are present in meetings – with a higher likelihood of watching video or visual content than reading documents.

 

 

 

 

 

Wireless Presentation Gone Mainstream

Written on April 5, 2017 at 10:58 am, by

 

You probably get this familiar type of call quite frequently:

 

Mr. Customer is searching for a wireless data-sharing solution – and the strangest part is that he may reference a specific brand-name of solution instead of the technology itself.

 

Those of us who are not quite so young anymore might remember those types of calls, in the end of last century, when customers were inquiring about a specific brand of conferencing solution when a more general executive phone was actually needed for simple audio-conferencing activities.

 

That is a sign that a technology has “made it.” It has gone mainstream!

 

One vendor discovered and delivered a much-needed new product concept in the market, found a new intuitive and natural way in which people can collaborate. A new niche, a new opportunity for business has surfaced.

 

Wireless data sharing became a fundamental component in meeting rooms of the new millennium. Employees and business guests expect it…it should simply be there for agile and productive collaboration.

 

And now Mr. Customer calls in, knowing he should be prepared to spend a couple thousand for even the most basic configuration – all his budget will allow.

 

What Mr. Customer does not know yet, and you may want to inform him, is that the wireless-data-sharing-box concept he is looking for has been by far surpassed by the new outstanding ClearOne COLLABORATE® Share!

 

For almost the same price, Mr. Customer would receive so many features that a sophisticated sales pitch simply isn’t needed. With COLLABORATE® Share, he is not only increasing the potential of his buy, but he is also getting, basically for free, a state-of-the-art H.323 codec and cloud collaboration suite – all three fully integrated in one, simple, intuitive user and administration interface.

 

Help your client take their media collaboration to the next level.  LEARN MORE about ClearOne COLLABORATE® Share.

 

 

What is 4:4:4 color and why should I care?

Written on March 15, 2017 at 5:45 am, by

 

In the AV industry we pride ourselves on providing the best-quality audio and visual communication to our clients.  One way in which we can do that is to offer video solutions in 4:4:4 color.

 

 

When digital video was first introduced, video files sizes were large in relation to storage and transmission capabilities.  One of the ways to address these larger file sizes was to introduce “chroma sub sampling.”  In digital video there are two main components; Luminance and Chrominance.  Luminance (or contrast) is the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of an image.  Chrominance is the color saturation of an image.  The human eye is very sensitive to small changes in contrast (Luminance) and is less sensitive to changes in color saturation (Chrominance).

 

 

To make digital video files more manageable, compression was introduced.  A true-color video signal (4:4:4) includes all of the red, green, and blue color information of each pixel.  In a 24-bit system, there are 8 pixels for each color and thus 24 bits in true color.  Chroma subsampling reduces file size by removing color.  In the AV world, the most common color space is 4:2:0, which is DVD quality. However, with 4:2:0 quality, the viewer is only seeing 50% of the available color.  To make up for that loss of color, the pixels that were removed are recreated by borrowing or “interpolating” from the adjacent pixels.  In some instances 4:2:0 quality is perfectly acceptable.  In other instances however the chroma sub sampling provides the viewer an experience that is less than optimal.

 

 

I can think of at least three instances in which 4:4:4 color is required:

 

  1. Telemedicine:  Surgical procedures streamed over a network require extremely accurate color information on the receiving end.
  2. Spreadsheets: Small text on a spreadsheet in color is virtually unreadable at anything other than 4:4:4 quality.
  3. Corporate Branding: Accurate color representation in a company logo.  Think of how some iconic brands might appear if the colors were not accurate represented.

 

 

If two video streams with identical content are placed next to each other, one at 720P 4:4:4 color and the other at 1080P 4:2:0, chances are extremely high that the average viewer will choose the lower resolution image with the true color as the more impactful.  Color trumps resolution pretty much every time.  So the next time you are specifying a streaming solution make sure to factor in which color space is most appropriate for the application.

 

Learn More about our VIEW® Pro streaming product lines and see the difference.

 

 

 

Visit Us and Take a Look at What We’re Showing at ISE 2017

Written on February 8, 2017 at 4:48 pm, by

 

What to See at ISE 2017 – Booth 3-C98!

 

 

We continue to meet with Value-added Resellers and end-users on the ISE show floor; finding new ways to implement solutions and support end-users with the technologies and applications that really help them to succeed. A busy show means many notes to bring back to the people behind ClearOne- real feedback from  AV practitioners – creating solutions that keep people connected. We value this time and this input to continue pushing ahead for innovation and real problem-solving with integrated solutions that make organizations and voice and visual communications that simply work.

 

See the videos of ClearOne’s newest products- on display now at ISE.

 

 

Stop by our booth 3-C98 and let us show you all the latest updates and product developments!

 

We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

 

 

A better Video Conference User-Experience with Spontania’s Simultaneous Four-Camera Support

Written on February 1, 2017 at 7:30 am, by

 

With video conferencing becoming a necessity for most corporate, SMB, education and other organizations, how do the various Video Conferencing solutions really differentiate themselves from one another?

 

They all make the promise of being simple and intuitive; allowing you to save money and time by avoiding hundreds of miles of travel. They offer popular features like content sharing, recording, and even whiteboarding.  But despite the promises, the reality was, for many remote participants, these solutions just weren’t maximizing on the video conferencing experience. Many participants found that by being remote, it was easier for them to become distracted and lose focus. Some users were so busy, they often found themselves multi-tasking and weren’t even focused on the meeting. And for others, doing a remote video call was just plain boring.

 

 

So how can you eliminate that feeling? What if you were able to provide your remote users a feeling of being on-premises, of actually being there in that conference room or classroom with everyone else,so that they could see everything and everyone, and truly feel like part of the meeting?

 

How do you create that feeling for remote users, all hundreds of miles away?

 

 

We do this with Spontania’s ability to capture 4 simultaneous camera views. Far-end participants now see everything that’s going on, giving them the feeling of actually being there in the classroom or conference room.

 

Here’s a training scenario for using 4 cameras:

 

One camera is pointed toward the front of the room, to see the instructor’s every move.

 

A 2nd camera is pointed at the attendees, so if a question is asked, the remote participant can see who’s asking it instead of just hearing it.

 

A 3rd camera can be pointed at a whiteboard for instructors who prefer to make quick notes by hand, an ASL interpreter, or any other angle that adds to the overall experience.  The participant now can see what’s written in real time and take notes accordingly.

 

The 4th camera can be a document camera. So, if the instructor needs to show an object to the class, the far-end participants won’t struggle with just having a minimal view. The instructor simply positions the object under the doc cam and the remote participants see it up-close; as if they were there in the room.

 

spontania-4-camera-use-case-diagram-v2

Click to Enlarge

 

 

This is just one use-case example ; you can use 4 cameras to provide a multi-view product demo or even set them up for a full 360 degree views.

 

The possibilities are endless.

 

Whether you’re a business, a university, a law firm, or just have a huge conference room, the 4-camera support included with the Spontania Video Collaboration platform is an instant professional experience for your participants, clients, students, colleagues, and end-users.

 

Video conferencing software and hardware is an investment, so why not take advantage and get the best value with that investment?

 

Your far-end participants will thank you.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Spontania as a video collaboration solution, contact us today and let’s discuss how we can help you and your organization be the best video collaborators on the planet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Case for Audio Making or Breaking Video Communications

Written on January 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm, by

 

It’s easy to see video conferencing and collaboration as the “next step” in communications, something beyond the world of audio conferencing. However, the truth is, a video conference is only as good as its audio. The occasional dropped frame or even severe video issues can still be forgiven in a conference without interrupting the flow.

 

However, if audio becomes choppy, it quickly becomes fatiguing to listen or to repeat statements or questions… and worse, if audio is missing, there simply is no conference to be had.

 

Tune in an find out why great video collaboration can only be built on a solid foundation of superior audio. Ron Lynch, ClearOne’s Supervisor Technical Trainer, provides an overview of why strong audio is an absolute necessity in video conferencing and collaboration, in conjunction with Commercial Integrator:

 

 

See the original post from Commercial Integrator here:

The Case for Audio Making or Breaking Video Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of AV over IP

Written on November 2, 2016 at 11:04 am, by

 

Traditionally, AV content is distributed using fixed hardware matrix solutions – a method still being used in some projects. This method will have one piece of hardware with fixed number of inputs and fixed number of outputs; all the sources and destinations being connected to this same box.

 

 

There are some major disadvantages in using this traditional method. To name just a few:

 

a) Multiple racks of equipment and more footprints are needed
b) Expensive, specialized, and source-dedicated cables are  needed
c) Complex installation and maintenance is required
d) Cable restriction for length limitation is a consideration and even it may pick up noise and distortion
e) Rigidity is a reality – the system is neither scalable nor flexible. For example: Starting with one 16×16 (sources x destinations) unit, a customer would face purchasing another entire 16×16 system should they need to add just two more channels…a 32×32 system in which only 18×18 are being used.

 

The modern and new way of distributing AV contents is through TCP/IP Ethernet network. To explain simply, the source devices are connected to a device called an “Encoder.” The destination devices are connected with a device called a “Decoder.” The Encoders and Decoders are connected with an Ethernet Network Switch.

 

 

There are countless advantages in using this new method. To name just a few:

 

a) Highly scalable: Any source to any destination in any combination of the inputs/outputs can be connected in the system. Add a device when needed and if needed.
b) No distance limitation in the network.
c) Highly flexible, including video, audio, data, and control – all in the same network. Can extend the system by increment of 1 unit (unlike the purchasing scenario above!)
d) Highly reliable with high-quality signal transmission over standard Ethernet networks, using standard CAT5e/6 cables.
e) Internet Protocols are matured and standardized for interoperability and are future-proof.
f) Highly affordable, using the existing IP network infrastructure that includes the switches and cables.
g) Ease of installation and maintenance.

 

 

ClearOne’s StreamNet technology – a high-quality, AVoIP streaming solution that provides digital media distribution with unmatched scalability and ease of deployment on existing IP networks. It supports all types of AV sources to be distributed through existing Ethernet networks to all types of endpoints – from video wall screens to single, large-display screens and laptops or mobile devices.

 

ClearOne’s VIEW® Pro delivers the highest-quality multimedia streaming & distribution on an existing IP network with 1080p60 resolution, and an H.264 codec with ultra-high-quality 4:4:4 color-space video, ultra-low latency, low & adjustable network bandwidth, self-discovery, built-in control, RTSP/UDP streams for 3rd party products interoperability.