Will you consider adding support for AVB Audio Video Bridging

Many network based streaming devices run today into problems relying on regular networks serving more than one streaming client playing in sync in various rooms. With problems I mean dropouts or latency. Will AVB, the only IEEE Standard that guarantees real streaming without the need for buffering in the devices be suppoerted by roon. Roon could be an ideal “Talker” for AVB which stands for Audio Video Bridging. Many current developments of in car entertainment are today based on AVB and it is a question of time till this technology comes to consumer systems or Multiroom Audio Systems. All you would need is an AVB enabled active loudspeaker - and roon.

We are familiar with AVB–we investigated it a few years ago as a potential solution to some engineering problems, and ended up going another way.

AVB has a very narrow band of support in the consumer marketplace. Commodity ethernet switches don’t support the extensions, and the AVB guys chose to basically ignore WiFi (a mistake given where the world is going, IMO). Compared to dominant interconnect methods (USB, AirPlay, UPnP), there are comparatively very few choices out there for AVB speakers and DACs.

Another consideration with AVB: the main thing it enables when compared to other protocols is reliable low-latency operation. We have very little to gain here: music playback is not a particularly latency-critical activity as long as you handle transport controls like pause,stop,next out of band of the audio stream and build the protocol to support faster-than-real-time buffer priming.

Not all extant streaming protocols handle this right (AirPlay is only about 40% of the way there), but Meridian’s protocol is pretty good at accomplishing the level of buffering needed for reliable operation over commodity WiFi networks without adding latency to the transport controls. Our RoonSpeakers protocol is intensively engineered around solving this use case as well.

We’ll be keeping an eye on AVB to see where it goes. At the moment, it looks like a better fit for embedded environments (like cars) where someone can control every aspect of the hardware configuration.