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Definition - What does THX mean?

THX is a standard as well as a certification for high-fidelity audio/visual reproduction for cinemas, theaters, screening rooms, home theaters, consumer-grade and professional speakers, car audio systems as well as many others. Contrary to popular belief, THX is not an audio/video or encoding format, but is a standard which ensures that the audio/video presentation is reproduced exactly as the original creator intended, so it has nothing to do with how the media was created but deals extensively with the equipment and environment used to present the media.

Techopedia explains THX

THX was originally conceived at Lucasfilm studios when George Lucas asked Tomlinson Holman to develop a way to ensure that the soundtrack of "Return of the Jedi," the third "Star Wars" film, was accurately reproduced in the best screening venues. It was both named after Tomlinson Holman with the "X" standing for crossover or experiment, and the name was also homage to Lucas' first film, "THX 1138."

It is important to note that THX is not a recording technology, but rather it is a quality assurance system. It is meant to tell people that a particular venue, product or system is capable of giving the audience a quality audio/visual experience. To be compliant with THX certification, a cinema, for example, has to follow best practices and standards from THX in terms of environment and equipment performance, acoustic quality of the location through reverberation control, measurement and control of background noise, screen placement and many other criteria. This goes the same for other venues such as home theaters and car audio systems. There is even a certification system for professionals to indicate that they are THX experts in testing and calibration of THX-certified equipment for public venues and homes.

THX certification for venues can be achieved by paying the company and going through the following process:

  • Evaluation and licensing
  • Design
  • Approval
  • Construction and renovation
  • Testing
  • Certification
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