Networked Video – Is it right for you?

Networked video solutions are becoming a serious consideration for many education, corporate and government institutes to share work, train and collaborate.  But what is networked video?

In short, there are three general classifications of networked video and each has its positives and negatives. These are: uncompressed video; proprietary compression and; standards based compression.

Typically better quality images and reduced latency will require higher bandwidth across the network.

So uncompressed networked video, currently has the highest bandwidth requirement 10G, but of course you picture quality is not compromised and the latency is relatively low (some claim zero). However, it’s unlikely to go on your existing network infrastructure so some significant investment in your network hardware and potentially cabling is going to be required.

Proprietary compression uses a manufacturers own compression algorithm, this is both a positive and a negative. It can provide good picture quality and latency however your solution is proprietary and it’s expansion is a limited not only by the manufacturers algorithm but also their liquidity and continued investment in that product.

Lastly, we have standards based compression, this uses Standard network compression algorithms which is great for future expansions and typically has the smallest impact on the network, however this solution can have reduced video quality and high latency dependent on the solution and network capacity.

So, in summary it’s a balancing act between network capacity (and associated costs) and video quality and latency.

Of course this raises other questions: What quality do I need? What latency will be noticeable? Is networked video the right solution for me/us?

The short answer it depends completely on your application and what network capacity or investment you are willing to consider.  But the basic answer is if your presentations are typically slideshow or similar, then quality and latency are not going to have a big impact so standards based compression could be a good cost effective solution.  Alternatively, if use typically show spreadsheets or lots of text quality is going to have an impact and you may consider some proprietary based compression or uncompressed video.  But if you do lots of video conferencing or live video networked video may not be right for you at all.

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