What is THX?
THX is not an encoding standard like Dolby Digital or DTS. It is a seal of approval which represents certification by the company LucasFilm LTD, both for theaters and for equipment.
The term THX means "Tomlinson Holman's eXperiment", Tomlinson Holman was the technical director whom George Lucas hired to create a seal of approval during the filming of Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi.
THX's audio equipment certification criteria are, generally speaking:
- Sound quality, i.e. the bandwidth and frequency ranges supported;
- Structural quality (flooring, chairs, etc.), size, position, and orientation of speakers depending on the volume of the theatre.
Only Lucasfilm can grant THX certification to quality sound equipment which meets its criteria for approval. For this reason, THX is a mark of quality, but due to the price of certification, few audio devices receive this certification, and they are priced higher as a result. Therefore, some devices may be higher in quality but lower in price because their manufacturer did not want to pay for THX certification.
THX Ultra is an extension of THX used for ensuring a higher level of sound quality: 105 dB with no distortion.
Equipment which meets THX Ultra standards carry this logo:
This seal of approval, though originally intended for professional installations, is also available on consumer electronics.