These days it means jack ****, it used to be that the manufacturer of the THX certified kit has had their kit certified because it meets certain standards, but manufacturers have to pay to have their kit certified so that is open to abuse, or more commonly the manufacturer is "in" with the people that own THX so they automaticly get rubber stamped.
I also thought the same as you guys, the THX meant that the products were just certified, a kinda thumbs up sales tool, I own a well known eletrical retailer and was recently invited to a private seminar in Surrey, where we met the guys at Lucasfilm and the designers behind THX Ultra2, believe me, i was completely wrong, THX means so much more then passing a test, the additional technology required in THX certified products is huge and the list of benefits endless.
I believe that this is one thing THX (lucasfilms) have got amazingly wrong, they have not promoted what THX is all about, just that it means it's good, a recent survey showed that a third of the population in USA, UK etc recognised the THX logo, but know one know what the F*** it means.
They don't sound crap for the price- in fact, it's only recently that they've had any real competion in the PC speaker market for about £150. About a year ago they were head-and-shoulders better than anything else in that bracket. If someone buys them because they are THX-certified and expects them to be something they are not, then that's their problem.
Besides, THX-MM (a la Logitech Z560, Z680, Audigy 2 etc...) is not the same certification given to audiophile-grade gear. I do agree that the phrase "THX certified" holds less weight than it used to, but it isn't exactly worthless. I believe companies do have to make significant changes to their products in some cases in order for them to pass the certification process.
Surely the Audigy 2 is THX certified because Creative own part of THX and no other reason? They refused to give details of what they had to change to make it THX certified according to several web site reviews, so i'm being skeptical. Still, it is a nice logo - I wonder how many people buy stuff with THX on it because they like the logo/george lucas/street cred etc?
Good point. Then again, think about how many things in life we all buy because some important standards body has put their seal of approval on it. Would you buy a car that didn't meet European standards on safety and emissions?
Also bear in mind that THX Consumer gives us something that no-one else in the industry does - a third party quality testing scheme for hi-fi goods. Admitedly it's a minimum standard therefore there are bound to be uncertified products out there that are better, but if you are going to spend £2000+ on an integrated amplifier, wouldn't you rather have the peace of mind of knowing that it is THX approved? The top of the range boxes from the brands that have moved away from the THX camp seem to be a lot cheaper and less respected than the ones still in it.