A Peripheral in the Palm of Your Hand: Testing AJA’s Thunderbolt-Enabled T-Tap

creative PLANET network by Oliver Peters

Thunderbolt is the latest protocol for peripherals used by Apple on its computers to carry audio, video, data and power over a single cable. The protocol combines Apple’s DisplayPort technology and PCIe into a single connectivity path. The technology can be used to daisy-chain numerous devices, including storage, monitors and broadcast I/O hardware. Thunderbolt ports are currently available on Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac computers. Manufacturers such as AJA Video Systems, Blackmagic Design and Matrox have embraced Thunderbolt technology and have engineered a number of capture and output devices for it.

The newest Thunderbolt unit to hit the market is the T-Tap from AJA. T-Tap follows AJA’s previously released Io XT, which delivered much of the power of AJA’s popular KONA cards in a Thunderbolt-enabled external unit. While Io XT packs a lot of punch in a small, lightweight unit, there was market demand for an even smaller product. Thus came the T-Tap, a small, robust external adapter designed only for broadcast output and monitoring. Without having to accommodate input electronics, engineers were able to reduce the unit’s dimensions to that of a deck of cards. It is ideal for the editor who just needs to connect his laptop or iMac to an external monitor or recording deck.

The AJA T-Tap is a bus-powered, end-of-chain Thunderbolt product. This means it has to be last in a series of Thunderbolt devices. For example, if you were using a Thunderbolt-enabled Promise Technology Pegasus RAID storage array, T-Tap could be connected to the Pegasus’ looped Thunderbolt output port. Both storage and T-Tap would be connected in a serial path from the single port on a MacBook Pro. In the case of an iMac with dual Thunderbolt ports or when using FireWire, USB 3.0 or internal storage, the T-Tap would be directly connected to the Mac. Neither type of connection is significantly faster at getting video out through the T-Tap due to Thunderbolt’s bidirectional 10 Gb/s throughput. read more...

Check out these items featured in this post and available now at Videoguys.com.
AJA T-TAP Thunderbolt powered SDI and HDMI output $295.00 AJA IoXT Professional Thunderbolt I/O for Mac $1,499.00 PROMISE Pegasus R Series 6-bay, 12TB RAID with Thunderbolt $2,230.00

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