Developing video interface technologies, signal converters, digital video recording solutions, streaming technology, and color management and conversion tools that perform reliably in the field requires a dedicated test and measurement (T&M) approach, which is why AJA has come to leverage T&M solutions from PHABRIX, a leading T&M innovator, in recent years. Most recently, AJA invested in multiple PHABRIX Qx and Sx devices, which it will use for T&M at every stage of the manufacturing process from initial R&D through to final product testing.

AJA’s investment in PHABRIX devices has quickly grown as its engineering departments have unlocked their value. Eric Gysen, Vice-President of Engineering for AJA, recalls: “Everyone internally is happy with our PHABRIX equipment, so acquiring more devices like the Qx advanced rasterizers made sense; they’ve freed up our time to focus on more important tasks.”

The changing nature of T&M needs

AJA’s investment in the Qx is significant and speaks to the evolving nature of broadcast T&M needs. The device – which provides rapid fault diagnostics, compliance monitoring and product development – is the ideal solution for an industry in transition as it supports both SD/HD/3G/6G/12-SDI and IP ST 2110/2022-7/2022-6 environments.

Initially, AJA focused its PHABRIX investments on SDI T&M tools, given existing 3G/6G-SDI workflows and the spike in demand for 12G-SDI physical layer analysis that has accompanied the proliferation of 12G-SDI workflows. The company had already invested in the handheld Sx line for 3G, which Gysen says was “very useful and popular” with its team before adopting the Qx to address 12G-SDI requirements.

With the Qx able to support IP workflow testing as well as 12G, the company can now use the tool to ensure its T&M workflow meets the diverse needs of an industry landscape in which both technologies will co-exist for the foreseeable future. Gysen comments, “There was a time where some thought everything would go IP and SDI was on its way out. But that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it’s pretty clear that large sections of the market still rely heavily on 12G-SDI – and it will remain so for a long while.”

At the same time, however, “more broadcasters and a lot of high-end clients are wanting to begin the migration to IP and the use of ST 2110 standards,” he added. “So, it’s ideal for us to have a device that is both SDI and IP-capable – which the Qx delivers on.”

Reliable and feature-rich

Whilst the Qx has been the focus of recent AJA T&M investments, the company has purchased multiple products spanning the entire range of PHABRIX and parent company Leader, which acquired PHABRIX in 2019. Rack-mount, standalone, and handheld units have all been added to its inventory – a testament to what Gysen describes as the “most reliable and feature-rich” qualities of the PHABRIX equipment. Among the features used most frequently are the SDI video generation elements and an advanced HDR toolset including a signal generator, CIE chart, Luma false color heat map, waveform monitor, and vectorscope.

Today, AJA utilizes PHABRIX devices in its Engineering lab for product development, as well as its Quality Assurance (QA), Manufacturing, and Customer Service departments. Providing insight into the prototype development phase of AJA’s SDI products, Gysen says, “every engineer’s cube is set-up with a lab bench and a facility router for SDI. They can then employ one of the PHABRIX devices to test their prototype and carry out the full range of analysis tasks.”

When it gets to the QA stage, AJA engineers also write Python and other command scripts to enable the PHABRIX tools to undertake automated testing. This means the team can cope with multiple formats in a streamlined and time-efficient manner. “What we’ve done is write software to run through all the formats and test our products in an automated way,” confirms Gysen. “This works really well for us, and when we need to carry out retesting or regression testing on new software and firmware of existing products, it’s a very quick process.”

Customer support and problem-solving

In addition to commenting on the durability and versatility of the PHABRIX products, AJA also commended the support PHABRIX has provided over time – an essential requirement when AJA aims to provide top-notch support and quickly solve client challenges.

“AJA has developed a very good reputation for providing exceptional customer support,” says Gysen. “Maintaining that level of support would be challenging without the right personnel and equipment in place. Inevitably, as the business has evolved and new technologies have come into the marketplace, we’ve had to acquire more technology. Partnering with PHABRIX has helped us maintain an excellent T&M equipment inventory and stay one step ahead of new formats and requirements. Consequently, if an issue arises with our PHABRIX equipment, tech support has been able to dial up the required format or feature right away.”

Martin Mulligan, COO of PHABRIX, comments: “AJA is a hugely trusted brand that has been integral to the development of video technology in broadcast and media for many years. Providing the extensive testing and measurement capacity they need to ensure that their customers’ workflows are reliable and robust calls for highly-specified, powerful T&M solutions. We are delighted that AJA has repeatedly chosen PHABRIX solutions – most recently the hugely popular Qx rasterizer – to support its testing processes as formats evolve. With today’s hybrid industry landscape, in which both 12G-SDI and IP are in strong demand, they remain fully-equipped to support and validate the most demanding of workflows.”

To find out more about AJA’s use of PHABRIX T&M tools over the years, please schedule a quick demo.