For our latest HARMAN Innovator Spotlight, we’re looking at Philip Buchholz, Principal Engineer of the video processing technology used in HARMAN’s AMX brand. A circuit-board-level engineer and designer, Philip has been vital to a variety of AMX video products.
Video technology has been a core part of Philip’s expertise for a long time. After obtaining his BSEE from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1995, Philip started work in the Texas Instruments’ research department called the Digital Imaging Venture Project, which later transitioned to TI’s DLP business unit. During this time, Philip helped prototype video processing technology used to drive the DLP mirror device in TI projectors. After a while, Philip eventually moved on from TI to work on networking technology for Alcatel and Gnubi. Finally, Philip returned to his video roots, coming on board at AMX on February 27th, 2004.
Philip has one of the strangest hiring stories I’ve heard. As he tells it, another company acquired Gnubi (the company he was working for at the time) and moved everything to Toronto, Canada. An Engineering Manager at AMX heard that Philip was becoming available due to the acquisition. He called Philip on a Friday morning and asked him if he would be available to attend a product requirements meeting that very afternoon. Philip said yes and showed up at the meeting. Afterwards, he went through a brief interview, and then showed up the following Monday, reporting to HR for onboarding as a Sr. Hardware Engineer. Talk about fast!
Philip’s first job at AMX was developing video scaling technology for “Project Mordor,” an innovative new touch panel that became the AMX Modero® VG Series. Philip’s work with scaling technology continued with the AMX Total Presentation Interface (TPI-PRO), a device that transforms third party touch screens into interactive displays with up to four fully-scalable video windows. This innovative product—for which Philip’s scaling technology was a key component—was years ahead of when other, similar products became mainstream.
Some of Philip’s most influential work at AMX, however, was as one of the engineers that helped develop SmartScale™, the innovative scaling technology within the AMX Enova video switching + control line. SmartScale, which appeared first in the AMX Enova DVX Series presentation switchers, automatically detects the optimal resolution for each output display and then scales the video signal to match it. This eliminates the integration challenges that can occur when sources and displays have different optimal resolutions—making the Enova DVX easy to specify, easy to install and easy to use.
Philip was quick to note that technology such as SmartScale really took a whole team to bring to pass, going on to explain, “Most of my accomplishments here were aided by the quality people I am surrounded by.” He continues this team spirit to this day, working with the many brilliant engineers at HARMAN to develop industry-leading products. Philip’s current role is Principal Engineer, where he works on video processing technology for the next generation of 4K and Networked AV products.
Outside of work, Philip serves as Troopmaster for a Trail Life USA troop. Philip told me that he really enjoys working with the Junior High and High School age group boys, including taking them camping and participating in other outdoor activities as well. He said, “It’s really neat to see the transition from little boy to manhood that happens during those years.” I asked Philip if he had any hobbies, and Philip replied, “My wife would say that my chief hobby is collecting hobbies” admitting “I really enjoy learning how to do new stuff.” Some of those hobbies include woodcraft, leather working and even geocaching.
Philip also sings and plays bass guitar for his church worship team. On weekends that he doesn’t play, Philip has filled in as an AV volunteer, where he has taught himself to run a sound board and light board. However, overall, Philip says that when he leaves work for the day, he’s done with technology. In fact, he doesn’t even like to use power tools in his woodworking if he can help it. Philip explained simply, “I get my fill of technology at work.”
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