THX Technical Program Director, Chris Armbrust, was chosen to present at the South by Southwest (SXSW®) 2012 Film Conference and Festival.


THX was selected from several thousand proposals this year submitted via the SXSW PanelPicker™. The 2012 panels feature the immersion between filmmaking essentials and emerging trends in technology.

THX Panel: Tweaking Your Living Room to Director Standards

When consumers sit down to enjoy a film in the cinema versus at home, the content experience at home varies in A/V performance due to pre-set playback settings on most consumer devices. In cinemas, most films are optimized for the appropriate playback so viewers get the ideal experience and exactly what the director intended. Due to the number of devices used at home, including Blu-ray players, TVs, surround sound systems and others, consumers are overwhelmed with playback choices and are forced to navigate through a sea of menus, in order to gain the optimal A/V experience that was intended. Each film has its own customized A/V settings that are needed to reach the ideal playback experience determined by the director. For example, Pixar’s UP and Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd have very distinct playback settings to how the director intended the film to be viewed and heard. However, most consumers do not know the optimal settings and attempts to address this problem have been made through specific modes and settings on devices, but this approach does not capture the intent of the director. Technological advancements are needed in current devices, because without it, content is and will routinely be misrepresented, developing a gap between what is intended by the director and the actual playback.

Questions Answered by THX:

  1. How do films differ in optimal playback settings to enjoy the ideal experience as the director intended (3D vs. HD and an animation vs. a dark thriller)?
  2. How can consumers easily get the director’s exact playback settings at home for the perfect sound and picture?
  3. Why is it important to bridge the gap between the director and the consumers’ experience?
  4. What is THX working on to address these issues through a technology that enables content (i.e., theatrical, broadcast, packaged, streaming) to communicate with consumer electronic equipment for an optimal entertainment experience in the home?
  5. What are other technologies used by creators and consumers to ensure the optimal experience?


The SXSW Film Conference and Festival will take place March 9-17, 2012 in Austin, TX at the Austin Convention Center. The 60-min. THX presentation slot/timing will be announced closer to the show.


The SXSW Film Conference and Festival features a dynamic convergence of talent, smart audiences and industry leaders in a uniquely creative environment. A hotbed of discovery and interactivity, the event offers invaluable networking opportunities and immersion into the art and business of independent film. The Film Conference buzzes with world-class speakers, creatives and innovators in a productive social atmosphere. Simultaneously the internationally acclaimed Film Festival program celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent, featuring provocative documentaries, comedies, genre standouts and more.

Notable SXSW 2011 Film Quotes:

“South by Southwest has long been considered more of a collaborative environment or conference than a buyers’ festival. The mainstream industry is increasingly taking notice: a calmer, more inclusive festival attracts still developing talents, which means a savvy distributor or agent can get in on the ground floor with the next big thing.” —TIME, April 1, 2011

“Though it’s mellower than Sundance’s feverish marketplace, cheaper and younger than a bring-your-own-yacht event like Cannes, and much less Oscar-oriented than Toronto’s film festival, South by Southwest has emerged as a key event on Hollywood’s calendar…For filmmakers and studios, a major attraction of SXSW is its mixed audience — rowdy young Austinites, hard-core film fans and the early adopters who attend SXSW’s influential music and interactive technology events.” — Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2011