In this pervasive future where devices are disposable, voice assistance is ever-present, and users are augmenting their reality more and more, what’s the role of THX in it all? And why have I chosen to join a company mainly known for assuring that creative content is presented true to the artist’s intent?
I’ve spent the majority of the past 25 years of my career building tools and services to democratize the creation and fair distribution of products that help preserve the creator’s vision. Now, at THX, I’m excited to continue this work, extending the work of others to continue assuring consistent, high quality experiences.
The Future of Devices
Following the last 50 years of riding Moore’s law, at least one Valley VC firm is calling the inversion of this economic law and presaging a future of nearly free, pervasive computing. This future will be supercharged with AI interfaces that anticipate our actions, and keep the most relevant information in front of us with familiar and friendly user interfaces. One recent adventure to an electronics market in China showed just how close we are coming to realizing this condition.
While many of the forms and formats we use to record, process, and play creative works are now widely supported, the fidelity with which this occurs is highly variable. THX is working to ensure that the various ways content is delivered and consumed is true to the artistic intent, being mindful of common errors like dropped packets that could cause a downshift in delivered quality.
A recent search for 4K UHD TVs on Amazon shows a price range of $350 to over $9,000. Are these all the same? How is the consumer to know? THX certification can help the consumer determine which televisions, audio equipment, services, content, and other accessories will best preserve the artist’s original intent.
How THX Fits into this Future
Going beyond certification, THX will continue to shape the industry through new services like THX Live! and seed the industry with innovative technology such as our AAA amplifier design, which is already opening new possibilities in audio experiences.
THX is seeking to play an important role in assuring the best quality AR, MR, and VR experiences — just as we have in theatrical reality for over 30 years. VR presents new problems and we will be working to certify that the care the content creator has taken to eliminate problems like stitching distortion, parallax errors, occlusions, and other artifacts is preserved by the delivery and playback system.
We can verify that these systems do not degrade the experience with respect to geometric accuracy. For instance, keeping straight lines straight and not warping as the viewer moves her head, maintaining horizon stability in the experience with respect to the viewer to ensure comfort, and ensuring that under stereoscopic experiences, that the chroma, luma, and dynamic range are consistent across left and right eyes.
We’re just at the beginning of this exciting new technology with much more work to be done in tooling, formats, interchange, preparation, distribution, and playback/interaction. I’m honored to join this company and be a part of shaping what’s to come!
by Scott Francis, Chief Technology Officer, THX Ltd.