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THX Ltd. is an American company headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 1983 by George Lucas. It develops the "THX" high fidelity audio/visual reproduction standards for movie theaters, screening rooms, home theaters, computer speakers, gaming consoles, car audio systems, and video games.

THX Ltd.
IndustryMotion picture industry
FoundedMay 20, 1983; 35 years ago (1983-05-20)
FounderGeorge Lucas
Tomlinson Holman
United States
Key people

The current THX was created in 2002 when it spun off from Lucasfilm Ltd.[3] THX was developed by Tomlinson Holman at George Lucas's company, Lucasfilm, in 1983 to ensure that the soundtrack for the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, would be accurately reproduced in the best venues. THX was named after Holman, with the "X" standing for "crossover"[4] or possibly "experiment" as well as in homage to Lucas's first film, THX 1138. The distinctive glissando up from a rumbling low pitch used in the THX trailers, created by Holman's coworker James A. Moorer, is known as the "Deep Note".

The THX system is not a recording technology and it does not specify a sound recording format: all sound formats, whether digital (Dolby Digital, DTS, SDDS) or analog (Dolby Stereo, Ultra Stereo), can be "shown in THX". THX is mainly a quality assurance system. THX-certified theaters provide a high-quality, predictable playback environment to ensure that any film soundtrack mixed in THX will sound as near as possible to the intentions of the mixing engineer. THX also provides certified theaters with a special crossover circuit whose use is part of the standard. Certification of an auditorium entails specific acoustic and other technical requirements; architectural requirements include a floating floor, baffled and acoustically treated walls, non-parallel walls (to reduce standing waves), a perforated screen (to allow center channel continuity), and NC30 rating for background noise ("ensures noise from air conditioning units and projection equipment does not mask the subtle effects in a movie's soundtrack").[5]

In 2002, THX was owned by sound card manufacturer Creative Technology Limited, which held a 60% share of the company.[6] The company has had a long history with Creative, which was responsible for the creation of the first THX-certified audio card for computers, the Sound Blaster Audigy 2.

In 2016, THX was acquired by videogame hardware company Razer Inc., with Razer owning all of THX and its intellectual property.[1][2]



Norris Cinema Theatre, on the University of Southern California campus, where THX was first developed and installed.

The first theater THX was used in was the University of Southern California's Eileen L. Norris Cinema Theatre, a part of USC's film school.[7]


THX Certified Game logo commonly used on some THX-certified video games.

THX has created a certification process for additional products including home audio, home theater, video, and automotive sound components and products. THX certification extends to home audio receivers, speakers, desktop systems, soundbars, acoustic materials, microphones, and HDMI cables.[8]


THX's Ultra2 certification is given for home theater components said to be good enough for a large home cinema of 3,000 cubic feet (85 m3) or more.[8]


THX's Select2 certification is given for home theater components said to be good enough for medium-sized rooms, up to 2,000 cubic feet (57 m3) in size, with a 10–12 feet (3.0–3.7 m) viewing distance from the screen.

I/S Plus SystemsEdit

THX's I/S Plus systems include an AV Receiver + Speaker Bundle and are certified to fill a small home theater or dorm room where the viewing distance from the screen is 6–8 feet (1.8–2.4 m). These THX certified home theater in a box systems are so far exclusively made by Onkyo.[9]

Multimedia ProductsEdit

THX Certified Multimedia Products are designed and engineered for PC gaming and multimedia on the desktop.


THX-certified video displays (plasma display and LCD or LED flat panels and projectors) include a THX mode which allows users to see a program or movie as the creator intended.[10]

The logo and the Deep NoteEdit

THX first appeared in theaters, in which their logo would show before the start of a film. Since THX was originally created for motion picture quality, the very first film to show THX was Return of the Jedi, in its theatrical debut on May 25, 1983. THX had certified home media releases beginning in 1993 with The Abyss on Laserdisc, 1995 with the original Star Wars Trilogy on VHS, and 1997 on DVD. In 2000, based on the long-lasting "Broadway" trailer, a new trailer called "Broadway 2000" could be seen in theaters and DVDs.

The "Broadway" trailer on the DVD releases has a lower-pitched Deep Note, while the VHS/Laserdisc logo has a higher-pitched Deep Note that was similar to the "Wings" logo from its theatrical debut in 1983. The Deep Note was remixed and "pitched" a number of times between its debut in 1983 and today. While the long-well known crescendo was used as well, it became shortened once THX had "graduated" to VHS/DVD/Laserdisc releases of certified features, along with the Deep Note, and its pitch. However, beginning in 2007, with the introduction of the "Amazing Life" trailer, the Deep Note was cut to just one pitch (where both synth notes are in one pitch), following a variety of instruments that shape like flowers, mushrooms and other plants playing a short tune that plays in the trailer. In the same trailer, the mushrooms make drumbeats while the flowers and other plants vibrate other musical-pitched noises. With the release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day on DVD and Blu-ray, the Deep Note was slightly remixed, which was also in the same form in the Broadway 2000 logo. When the THX Calibrator Blu-ray disc debuted, two new versions of the original Broadway trailer were released. One which is an HD restoration of the trailer, the other which is the 3D version of the trailer.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Razer buys audio-visual firm THX to cash in on growing Chinese cinema market". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  2. ^ a b "A New Beginning for THX: Why I Sold My Company In My First Year - Medium". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  3. ^ Crabtree, Sheigh (2002-06-12). "Lucas' THX stakes out new galaxy". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2002-08-11. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  4. ^ Rinzler, J.W. (2010). The Sounds of Star bors. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-8118-7546-2.
  5. ^ "THX Certified Cinemas". THX, Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  6. ^ Hoppel, Adrian (2013-03-20). "Law & Apple: iFone Defeats iPhone, THX Targets Apple". MacLife. Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2016-10-25.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ "Self-guided tour" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013.[not in citations given]
  8. ^ a b "THX Certification Performance Categories". THX Ltd. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Onkyo HT-S9300THX Integrated System review". Sound and Vision. Sound and Vision. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  10. ^ "THX Certified Plasmas, LCD TVs & Projectors". Home Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-09-11.Template:Date=May 2015
  11. ^ "THX Calibrator Blu-ray Disc Explained". THX Test Bench Blog. Retrieved 2012-09-11.

External linksEdit