Interview: Vanco President Discusses A/V-over-IP Adoption, HDMI 2.1, More

Mark Corbin talks with CE Pro about some of the connectivity challenges integrators face and the future of A/V-over-IP adoption.


CE Pro recently spoke with Mark Corbin, president of Vanco International, to discuss some of the biggest connectivity challenges for integrators, preparing for HDMI 2.1, and more.  

What are the biggest connectivity issues for integrators today?

From a video standpoint, we’ve noticed that 4K has settled down and as a result we anticipate seeing increased sales in 2019. In our experience, integrators either have a networking mindset, or they have a video mindset.

However, we are seeing massive growth in demand for video-over-IP products, and these require both mindsets working in sync to be successful.

From an audio standpoint, we see integrators continuing to struggle with installations where smart devices and voice control devices need to work together with traditional devices in an audio system.

If integrators don’t carry the right mix of traditional, smart and crossover products designed to communicate with one another in a larger A/V system, they’ll continue to run into connectivity issues.

Do you expect more A/V-over-IP adoption by integrators, and do you anticipate more affordable solutions?

Yes, we foresee A/V-over-IP continuing to be a solution for residential integrators, especially given its capabilities compared to what a matrix or anything else in the market can do.

An installer who can design, sell and install an A/V-over-IP system creates an open door for recurring revenue because of its flexibility and capabilities.

Even with an increase in adoption, we do not see the price dropping for a while simply because of the capabilities of current A/V-over-IP products and what the chipsets are capable of.

For example, our EVO-IP HDMI over IP system is already priced aggressively given what it can do. What the industry may see is the introduction of more generic or stripped-down A/V-over-IP products, which may result in lower priced solutions.

How has Vanco been preparing for HDMI 2.1 to enter the market?

We’re working hand-in-hand with HDMI and have some passive HDMI 2.1 cables in development that will be shipping by the end of Q1.

A lot of the specifications such as 4K60, 4:4:4, HDR, and high-bit color depth have already exceeded HDMI 2.0, so we feel it was most important to incorporate those specifications first, while looking into the future.

Read Next: 15-Zone Wireless Audio System Too Much for DIY

Our focus for the second half of 2019 is to move from HDMI 2.1 in passive cables into the active market and to push the HDMI 2.1 specifications even further.

That said, the impact right now is minimal. There are only a handful of devices that can utilize the technology, so it will take some time and a major switch of technology from products like media players, streamers and Blu-ray players, for it to cause a major impact in our industry. 

What can dealers expect from Vanco brands such as Beale Street and Pulse Audio in 2019? 

Beale Street Audio is getting a marketing refresh in 2019, including new packaging and marketing materials, along with the launch of some new patented Sonic Vortex speaker lines, commercial amplifiers, and volume controls.

PulseAudio will also be adding additional speaker lines, and a few new amplifiers.

How does Evolution fit into the Vanco brand family? 

Evolution evolved as our professional A/V line and has a more limited distribution because it requires a higher knowledge base, in-depth training, and commitment, due to the complexity of the products.

Evolution products are designed for distributors and dealers working on more complex installations and thus are looking for premium pro A/V products to complete the job.

Related: Vanco Evolution Switches and Extenders Handle 4K, HDBaseT

The products are 100 percent QC tested at Vanco International headquarters and include HDMI over IP, HDBaseT and HDMI matrix selector switches, HDMI splitters, video wall and digital signage, extenders, IR kits, and other accessories complete with drivers, IR routing, and access to our software-based platform.

The targeted line split between Vanco and Evolution is similar to our PulseAudio and Beale Street Audio product lines. PulseAudio offers inexpensive, easy-to-install wireless and wired audio solutions, and Beale Street Audio provides high-quality architectural audio solutions with Sonic Vortex technology

Recently, Vanco won a silver Quest for Quality Award for its shipping policies. Mark Corbin provided the following statement:  

“We can confidently say that Vanco’s free freight policies are some of the most competitive in the industry. We work hard to proficiently expedite shipping orders for urgent installation needs on any of our 3,000+ product SKUs. To eliminate the possibility of errors and delays, we have implemented a rigorous scanning and tracking process, which allows us to provide distributors with live shipping updates on all orders.

With this new, innovative, state-of-the-art tracking system, our authorized resellers are protected because orders are manually screened by a trained group of individuals who pick, scan and compare each serialized product against the corresponding purchase order numbers.

This process guarantees order accuracy while also ensuring that distributors are not selling to any unauthorized resellers who may violate MAP pricing.”