Question on THX movies

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  • 10-22-2004, 03:59 PM
    Jack in Wilmington
    Question on THX movies
    Was looking into buying the Star Wars trilogy that was just released on DVD and had a question about THX. Since my system does not support THX certified movies, what am I actually getting when I watch a THX movie. With the Indiana Jones series, when I load a movie, I click on the THX logo and it goes thru all the THX little promo and the movie starts. So am I getting what is actually Dolby Digital 5.1, since my receiver doesn't support THX. Just one of those questions that I never really thought about. Thanks
  • 10-22-2004, 05:26 PM
    Gotta quash those misconceptions early -- you're way overprojecting what THX actually represents!

    It's nothing more than a set of standards and specs. Companies pay THX in order to participate in the program, and have their equipment tested and approved. If the equipment meets their specs, then the companies pay a royalty and slap the THX label on the equipment. However, in a lot of areas, the THX specs do not represent the state-of-the-art and there are plenty of companies out there that produce equipment that way exceeds the THX specs and don't participate in the program.

    As far as the "THX movies" are concerned. ALL that the THX approval means in the case of DVDs is that the audio and video signals meet specific standards. It says NOTHING about the quality of the video and audio sources, nor does it say anything about how good the playback will be. In addition, there's no special encoding or signal flagging that's exclusive to THX DVDs.

    Star Wars is a perfect example of how little the THX approval actually means. If you've not been following the news, the Star Wars Ep. IV DVD has the music in the surround channels reversed. If THX was actually about approving the quality of the final product, I would assume that someone would catch this and not let that DVD wear the THX badge. But, all that Lucasfilm and THX have done thus far is make excuses about how reversing the surround tracks was a "creative decision". Add to that numerous flaws in the voice track and freezing problems with several different DVD player models, and you see how THX is dominated by a purely marketing driven focus.

    Just because you don't own a THX approved home theater system does not mean that you're missing anything when playing back a THX approved DVD. It's no more than saying that a Good Housekeeping approved cake mix will bake in an oven without the Good Housekeeping seal every bit as well as in an oven that is approved.
  • 10-23-2004, 06:26 AM
    Jack in Wilmington
    Thanks that clears up that misconception
    I was always under the perception that THX was just another format that a movie could be offered in, like Dolby Digital, DTS, etc. I know Sound and Vision magazine just did a review on the Star Wars box set, but I left it at work. I thought about waiting on the Star Wars box set, in the hope that they might release a "Directors Edition" like they do on some other movies, with a DTS soundtrack. But I doubt Mr. Lucas will do that, as he's shown no such tendency to do that in the past.
  • 10-23-2004, 07:58 AM
    N. Abstentia
    No, THX is just as Wooch described....just a 'standard'. It was nice back in the 80's when you didn't know what you were getting, but now most any equipment or DVD release far surpasses the THX requirement. Now, you're just shelling out extra money for that THX sticker on there. To me, it means nothing...especially since the Star Wars sound is so mucked up and they still put a sticker on there. Anything to sell more DVD's I guess!