After revolutionizing the movie experience, THX realized that it needed to also focus its attention to the burgeoning home entertainment industry in the early 1990s. Why? There are a number of challenges that go along with presenting movies in the home. For example, movies are created in large mixing studios for playback in large, powerful cinema auditoriums. However, when played back in the home with just a couple of surround sound speakers and a receiver, a movie soundtrack does not sound the same.
With that knowledge in mind, THX began developing playback technologies and design standards to improve the way home audio and video products translate movies from the cinema and studio to your living room.
If you have a THX Certified AV receiver, you will notice that “0” represents a very loud volume level. This is what THX calls Reference Level. The goal of this setting is to mirror the exact volume level used by the filmmaker in the professional studio. So, when you are watching a movie and set the playback volume level at “0” on a THX Certified receiver, you will experience the soundtrack exactly like it was produced in the studio—with the same fidelity.
We’re not just an audio company. THX has been working with video for years with its DVD mastering business, certifying hundreds of the world’s top DVD and Blu-ray disc releases—including the Star Wars trilogies and many Disney films. However, THX started playing a more visible role in HD consumer products with the launch of the THX Certified Display program in 2006. This certification program defines video quality and performance thresholds for plasma, LCD and projection HDTVs.
Much like THX audio certification, the THX Certified Display program provides the first true quality benchmark that consumers will be able to easily recognize when shopping for a new HDTV. THX display certification with THX Movie Mode recreates the cinema experience at home with vivid color and the deepest blacks. In fact, the certification is designed to recreate the same color levels used in the Blu-ray mastering studio, allowing you to experience every jaw dropping vista and explosion exactly like it was produced in the studio.
Regardless of the technology or price point, candidates for THX certification must meet or exceed acceptable performance thresholds. It’s either pass or fail. So, when you see an HDTV, home theater speaker or car audio system with a THX Certified logo, THX promises that it will be a truly great sound and video experience.
THX certification programs have defined quality and performance for a wide range of products and playback venues. Now, THX is developing technologies, such as THX Slot Speaker, THX Loudness Plus and THX Media Director™, that reach beyond its traditional product certifications to streamline content delivery and simplify AV setup and operation.
As new innovations shape our digital lifestyles and change the way entertainment is created, delivered and experienced, the expectations for high quality experiences will go hand in hand. Through collaborations with partners to produce and certify new products and venues, technologies for improving device usability, and training to spread knowledge throughout the world, THX will continue the quest for delivering the very best entertainment experiences—in the cinema, the home and on the go.