PHABRIX SxA n part one of a two part article, freelance video engineer Steve Uzochukwu reviews PHABRIX's revolutionary PHABRIX SxA. The revolution in screen technology has seen a massive miniaturisation of most test equipment in the last ten years, and this coupled with a large increase in the amount that can be fitted into a small package courtesy of VLSI has meant that a new breed of hand held test and measurement devices have come onto the market. I connectors at either end, which are slightly recessed. This helps to protect them and both ends of the unit have rubber overlays which should help in the event of the unit being dropped. Within the two protectors the case is rugged aluminium with a high resolution screen central to the main face and a row of buttons (soft keys) under the screen. The power on/off is to the top right hand side of the main face, with navigation and selection buttons for menus underneath. At one end of the unit are the five main signal processing inputs and outputs. The SDI output will The PHABRIX Sx range is just such a family of devices. generate SDI and HDSDI (720, 1035, 1080 at or The PHABRIX Sx family will generate test signals below 1.5 Gbps in all frame in all the digital domains rates, with interlace or PsF) (SDI, HDSDI, 3GSDI, AES) and 3G HDSDI (3 Gbps, and will also measure and p50/60) all with embedded analyse the same range. audio. The AES output will The SxA has additional generate a single AES pair features to support AES in unbalanced format. The audio, the SxD specialises inputs will monitor signals in in dual link HD (usually 2 the same formats, but the x 1.5 Gbps streams) and input and output do not have the SxE adds eye and work in the same format, jitter measurements to the being totally independent specification of the SxA. of each other, and this is one of the great strengths I was supplied with an SxA of the SxA, especially to test over a week on an when configuring up/down HD build, putting an HD converters, as the signal can shoot into a studio with be generated in one format already existing SDI, with then checked coming back some SDI remaining in in the converted format, place for monitoring. The all on the same hand held PHABRIX is supplied with a instrument. The final BNC padded bag with separate connector is an input for compartments for the unit genlock, which can be itself, the mains charging unit and a CD with manuals bi-level, tri level or SDI. This and some extra patterns genlock can also be used to load if desired. The unit to check for the presence itself is made to the highest of an analogue signal, but it standard, with top quality can't be viewed or analysed. 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE simple, powerful and easy to use without having read a manual. That rule is the extreme left hand soft key always (with one or two obvious exceptions) takes The LAN connection allows you back to the home page control of the SxA remotely, or main menu, from which and Javascript allows the you can easily select one unit to be controlled from a of the key options. There is web browser independent one main layer below the of the operating system home page with virtually hosting that browser, so all the options for that area the connection will work of the generation/analysis with Windows, Linux process on one screen, all or Mac OS X with the of which can be accessed minimum of configuration. via the up/down/left/right/ OK keys to the extreme right Bearing in mind the unit is of the unit. It's this powerful actually computer based, it boots up very fast from cold. yet simple user interface that allows the engineer working The initial start up screen against time pressures to has a small Linux symbol become familiar with the (Tux the Penguin) but then disappears to offer the home unit in minutes and then to screen, or main menu page. be able use it easily and intuitively in the field without This screen summarises any additional thinking taking the complete state of the away from the solving of unit, with descriptions of the main problem. Over the the formats of the incoming week I used it, I got into and outgoing signals, an easy pattern. Get the symbolically linked by lines unit out, turn it on, select to the BNC sockets which generator or analyser, use it. those signals are on. The Steve describes individual buttons at the bottom of menus control next month the unit are soft keys, with as he puts the PHABRIX the legend for those keys to task on his HD install. on the screen just above each button. One key rule makes the user interface The opposite end of the SxA has the charging connector, USB and LAN connections, plus an audio monitoring output on a 3.5 mm jack.