Using the Analog Sunset to Your Advantage

Posted by Chris Stephens on 09/16/2014

All of the sudden, routine designs changed, prices were increased and signal flows between source and sink became completely different. Needless to say, not every organization flipped the digital switch early-on, and many are faced with an uphill last minute sprint to catch up and outfit their presentation systems to be digitally compliant.   

Electronics manufacturers deciding to no longer equip units with analog outputs, in hopes of curbing copyright infringement, has forced AV professionals across the globe to adapt. For many existing institutions, whether corporate, education or government the likelihood is there is still a significant number of analog presentation systems in place that will require a complete overhaul, or they will become obsolete quickly, if they aren’t already.

This paradigm shift forces AV professionals and users alike to approach systems completely differently.  After all, everyone in the industry knows you can “fake it” in analog systems; not so with digital. The margin of error doesn’t exist in a binary system. Where it’s either on and perfect, or completely off; not to mention the raised level of difficulty when discussing High Definition Content Protection (HDCP).

Fortunately, for users, the analog sunset has the potential to be more of a benefit, than a curse. It allows technology managers to hit the ‘reset’ button on their design and support strategy. Instead of just ripping and replacing analog gear for digitally compliant technology, removing 5-BNC cable in favor of category cable; it’s important to take the time to craft a new strategy for audiovisual system design, and what is necessary to meet your needs both now and ten years in the future.

It’s likely the adoption of technology, among the average user, has changed drastically since the installation of the first presentation systems within an organization. Perhaps the more pressing need in the organization’s audiovisual systems is collaboration, instead of giving a “lecture” style presentation from a podium. With the increase in adoption of lecture capture and videoconferencing systems extra inputs and outputs become critical in systems. Designing systems that are scalable, and agile becomes necessary when designing a system that will be contemporary for a decade to come.

Users continue the trend of using their own devices, often handheld, instead of a traditional PC located in the rack. Making key adjustments to the design process during the analog sunset, in addition to simply performing lifecycle replacement of the equipment, can save technology managers the headache of having to retool systems in two years when the company finally adopts the Bring Your Own Device BYOD policy they’ve been working on for a few years.

When approaching equipment end of life, and lifecycle refresh, work with your partners to develop systems that will be contemporary at least ten years into the future, strongly consider whether 4k/Ultra High Definition (UHD) is right for your application.

Now is the time to embrace the paradigm shift, and to throw status quo out the window. Take a moment to decide what your needs are moving forward, reevaluate the usage of your existing, legacy, systems.