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THX certification worth nothing?

DELUCAS

Distinguished Member
I remember watching a dvd film which was thx certified and in 2 screen shots there was a hair of sorts hanging in the middle of the screen !! :eek:

Pearl harbour film so much for thx etc :rolleyes:
 

mikelj

Prominent Member
That for me is the truely shocking part of the Lexicon player, which naturally leaves you wondering whether THX certification is worth anything.

However, I believe that THX display certification may be one of best things to happen in recent years wrt educating people how an image should look (or at least a HD image). For someone who wouldn't consider a full ISF calibration (or for displays that have no kind of CMS) then at least the THX mode enables you to get close to the HD standards.

Edit: That's assuming of course that the THX mode is anywhere near meeting the standards.
 

paulr2006

Distinguished Member
I would say stop reading articles like this & enjoy THX mode like I do :D all I can say is it's pretty impressive on my set :)
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Interesting subject and one that we may actually have some videos on soon ;)
 

encaser

Distinguished Member
I suppose the obvious question is; how can certain tvs/blu-ray units etc. (dodging bullets here!) have THX certification when reviews, like on here, demonstrate that a particular set can't even perform wholly to the standards? And thus don't attain that supposed/mythical one button remote pitstop for men, women and children and, of course, the family pet. It kinda smacks of that nasty and all-to-familiar manufacturer cop out of 'within tolerance' - which many dissatified customers love to hear.
 

zofinger

Established Member
Guys, kinda new to this so forgive the potentially stoopid Q. Which is: is the THX cert. simply a preset on the panny V10 series which set's the contrast, brightness etc to what the film maker would want you to view his film at (i.e.: you could set it manually if you knew? Or is there something tangible inside the V10 which means it can have the THX cert.?:confused:

Does that question makes sense?!:D
 

paulr2006

Distinguished Member
Guys, kinda new to this so forgive the potentially stoopid Q. Which is: is the THX cert. simply a preset on the panny V10 series which set's the contrast, brightness etc to what the film maker would want you to view his film at (i.e.: you could set it manually if you knew? Or is there something tangible inside the V10 which means it can have the THX cert.?:confused:

Does that question makes sense?!:D

No it's deeper than anything you can set yourself, none of the other modes can reproduce the THX settings. Take a look at post #7 Here :)
 

zofinger

Established Member

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
But if lexicon is able to obtain THX certification without meeting its requirements, it's also possible that panasonic, lg, etc., can obtain it with a so-so calibration as long as they pay THX :(

Ok, couple of things. David and I have seen the THX facilities and met the people who spend vast amounts of time and effort testing the kit sent for certification. I have been told and seen for myself that strict testing procedures are in place and it's a pass or fail testing process. Usually kit is submitted a few times before it is passed - all at the expense of the manufacturer. They have testing procedures for all different types of equipment and that includes Blu-ray players. The guys working for THX are real professionals with a love of what they do and going against popular held beliefs the certification process is not a huge money spinner for them. The certification process means that kit tested has to meet strict guidelines and once certified it means that those items reach a certain level of performance. I personally think this is a welcome way of doing things IF the certification does what it is supposed to do, and I have personally not yet found any kit that has had issues and a badge attached for what it is supposed to do. That's not to say that THX is perfect - I think they would be the first to acknowledge that it's impossible to be perfect. That's the same with kit - it is not perfect and never will be. But at least if its tested properly, (be it THX or some other body) and those tests and procedures are of a high quality and independent, then what you can then give the consumer is a bench mark that the kit has to achieve and offer. That has to be a good thing and in terms of displays is long overdue.

It's the same for items such as PC speakers. Why do they certify them? Well I asked that very question of a few engineers and THX employees and the answer was the same. It means that those items reach a certain performance level that ensures that the kit can reach or surpass the laid down certification rules for that sector and offer a great performance level.

I have seen loads of comments about the fact that now that THX certify lower home theatre products and not the high end exclusively, then THX is worthless. Well I happen to personally think that's a rather elitist attitude to have, why can't equipment in different market sectors offer great performance and have testing and certification to show that? What THX happen to have is criteria for differing sections of the market and aim for the same goals possible with that kit. I fail to see what could be wrong with that. It is a marketing goal for companies and I don't think anyone has said otherwise, but it is marketing a useful level of performance in my opinion. It's basically saying that the company involved has faith in their product and has sent it to the THX labs for certification so consumers then have a bench mark. It doesn't mean non-certified kit is bad or is different, just that a consumer can look and see that the THX badge product has reached a certain level. Like I say, that's got to be useful to the consumer - especially with TVs as it's hard to get a picture that is close to the standards out of the box - THX mode does just that and about time someone did.


Whether the Lexicon a straight clone or not, that's not really a problem for THX though, as all they have done is test the player against their performance requirements for certification and it passed (we don't know what that certification process requires. Maybe the question should be what do THX include for the tests and if that covers the bass management or not. Although, I do understand the reasoning why the certification process is secret. It stops claims that some kit not certified reaches the same levels - just like silly contrast claims it would soon become a mess). Oppo have never sent theirs (that we know about) so that kind of makes the whole THX argument redundant in my opinion.

I'm not going to start arguing about the costs and clones etc as that's not what the OP was getting at; it was whether THX is worthless and from what I have seen I would say that it is a valuable, but not fool proof process. I guess it depends on how far the testing can reasonably go and that includes man hours and costs if you start looking at it from a business point of view.

In terms of the picture preset and certification of panels, I have also seen the lab and the process they use. In terms of measuring and evaluation they use exactly the same approach as we use for the reviews (albeit with more expensive and slightly more accurate kit). The THX mode is also determined during this testing process and the TV must be able to display the mode correctly and accurately to gain certification. I cannot say who's TVs were being tested when we were there, but the testing procedures were easy to follow. I can honestly say after my experience seeing this done in person that the THX certification process is very in-depth and does what it sets out to do. That is to add a mark of approval to kit that meets or exceeds their testing and gives a seal of assurance that it has been tested fully to a certain level. Why every manufacturer doesn't send kit for testing and certification is really down to them, but those who have - certainly with TVs - offer a performance level that benefits the end user in terms of picture quality. (Which we have measured in our reviews and found to be as accurate as possible.) That's not to say that manufacturers who don't send kit for certification cannot meet the same preset performance, but in our experience that is rare. At least with the certification process the consumer can have some faith that it will reach a certain level or performance towards the industry standards.

I happen to think that THX certification is useful and now that I have seen what they do with my own eyes, I think it is a valuable bench mark for consumers to use. That doesn't mean that kit not displaying the badge is any less capable or indeed inferior, but it does give an indication that it has been tested to a certain level which is important for consumers - especially with the TV and projector market where standards are hard to get.

What we don't hear about are those who have tried to get certified and given up because they couldn't match the criteria - that's more interesting but of course political and obviously will never be in the public domain.

And if you can give me a week or so to edit them, we will have a series of videos taking you behind the scenes and show you what we saw on our THX visit.
 
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Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Phil, thank you for your detailed and thorough reply, but how could you explain this:



mind you, I'm not doubting your word, but these are hard numbers, not opinion (unless they're wrong about the 80Hz crossover being a THX requirement).

Although THX do not publish their certification details, I do believe that analogue audio is not included and it only covers the HDMI and video performance for the Blu-ray certification. I could be wrong on that, but it's what I believe they have said. I'm all for objective testing that Audioholics normally do, but I believe that the reviewer (has rightly) got a bee in his bonnett over the fact Lexicon are charging so much money for what is an Oppo, that he has bundled the THX certification in there without knowing what they look for in Blu-ray. I don't blame him for his strong opinion over the pricing and pushing for answers out of Lexicon and making the type of scene he has, but I don't quite agree with his attack on THX without knowing their Spec which is not public knowledge. Just my thoughts.
 

mikelj

Prominent Member
In a sense that's also a problem with the THX certification, hinted by the comments on the slashdot discussion: not only the certification details are not public, it's also not clear what they are certifying.
We know that THX certification on a plasma set refers to the calibration of the picture, yet many people, even here in this forum, assume it certifies the loudspeakers and the THX sticker does nothing to avoid the confusion.

That's a very good point and one THX should try to address. I suspect the vast majoirty would assume that a THX certfied Blu-ray player would have an 80Hz crossover for the analogue outs (which is not the case with the Lexcon).
 

DELUCAS

Distinguished Member
Okay have found out why they have added $3000.00 extra on the LEXICON player

ended up putting a darker blue filter over the Oppo’s VFD display to give it a slightly deeper hue. :facepalm:
 

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Padawan72

Established Member
Having owned a Lexicon RT-10 it was the best DVD player I have had, to boot it could also play CD and SACD at a quality as good as the best CD players FMJ etc. So I guess the extra £3k goes toward build quality (chassis etc.), DAC's, better quality analogue terminals, the kind of things you would expect from a reasonably high end CD player.
I now regret selling my RT-10 as the CD playback on my blu-ray is'nt in the same league as the Lexicon.
 

Phill1978

Established Member
Okay have found out why they have added $3000.00 extra on the LEXICON player

ended up putting a darker blue filter over the Oppo's VFD display to give it a slightly deeper hue. :facepalm:

the amusing thing is the oppo looks better :D

apart from the logo... which is kind of the point. some people will buy an Audi (A4) instead of a Seat (Exeo) just because of the logo :rolleyes:

thing is with hi-fi and cinema do people really care about badge ? its not like anyone else will care when they see your kit
 

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