article last updated on 6.5.2002
What is THX?
And how does it relate to Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround?
First, it is important
to realize that THX
is a quantitative measure of quality that
works in conjunction with the different surround
sound formats (e.g., Dolby
Digital and DTS)
bring the quality of the sound presentation to the highest
To ensure the highest possible
quality in home cinema, THX defines stringent picture and sound
track criteria for film-to-DVD (and film-to-VHS) transfers.
Such DVD titles are labeled as "THX Digitally Mastered for
superior sound and picture quality" or simply "THX
Certified". THX also defines stringent performance
standards for audio/video source and processing components.
These include strict performance standards for DVD players,
receivers, preamplifiers, power amplifiers, speakers, interconnect
cables, speaker cables, and even the room's acoustic characteristics
(for dedicated home theater environments).
For the "everyday
consumer", the "THX" label means that the highest
standards have been used, whether the product is a DVD-Video title,
or an audio/video component.
What is the
difference between "THX Select" and "THX Ultra"?
For receivers and loudspeakers, the THX Select certification is for components that are
certified to perform in a mid-sized home theater environment of up
to 2,000 cubic feet. The volume of a room, expressed in cubic
feet, is computed by multiplying the length by the width by the
height of the room. (For example, a room that is 18 feet wide
by 14 feet wide by 9 feet high, has a volume of 18 x 14 x 9 = 2,268
cubic feet.) The more stringent THX Ultra
certification (which is equivalent to the original, plain THX certification) is given to components that meet the THX performance
standards for larger home theater environments (up to 3,000 cubic feet). Theoretically, if you have a home theater
environment that is 2,000 cubic feet or less, THX Select
receivers and loudspeakers should deliver about the same presentation standards as
the higher-end THX Ultra components.
Read the THX web page on the differences
between THX Ultra and THX Select.
For other components such as preamplifiers, power
amplifiers, DVD players, the certification is just known as THX Ultra (or equivalently just
certification. There are no THX Select
certification for these types of components.
What are some
"THX Certified" DVD titles?
There are many -- they
include: "The Mask of
Zorro", "Titanic", "True Lies",
"Tarzan", "Mulan", and
many, many others.
So what does
"THX" stand for?
Some say that "THX" was named after George Lucas' first movie, "THX
1138" (1971). Others say that it was an acronym for Tomlinson
Holman's eXperiment. Tomlinson Holman was the
premiere audio engineer that George Lucas hired to develop the
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