Wow I never knew that THX was not a format at all

Sorry for the long post...but i am such a doofus i didn't know this. The common assumption is that THX is simply another movie sound format, but it turns out THX is not a sound format at all but something else entirely. THX, named after "THX 1138" (George Lucas' first feature film), was developed at Lucasfilm in the early 1980s. George Lucas wanted a way to ensure a movie would look and sound exactly the same no matter where it was played. Tomlinson Holman, former corporate technical director for Lucasfilm, and a team of THX engineers took on the challenge of developing a baseline set of standards.

They noted several theater shortcomings that might negatively affect an audience's enjoyment of a film:

Outside noise (from the lobby or other auditoriums)
Inside noise (from the projector or air conditioning)
Audio distortion
Obstructed or uncomfortable viewing angles
Reverberation in the auditorium
Insufficiently bright images
Unequalized or poor audio
The essence of THX is a set of guidelines that resolve these problems. To display the THX logo, a theater must adopt this set of standards and then be certified by Lucasfilm's THX division. The first movie to be shown in a THX-certified auditorium was "Return of the Jedi" in 1983. There are now more than 2,000 auditoriums around the world that have been certified.
Before a theater can be certified, a number of things must happen:

Licensing & Evaluation
The first step in the process is for the theater owner and THX to take care of the licensing agreement. The theater owner agrees to lease the THX crossover equipment and pay for the right to use the THX logo. Once the theater owner signs the agreement, THX reviews either the architectural plan of the auditorium or, in the case of existing auditoriums, a survey of the current conditions.

The theater owner and a THX team then develop a design for implementing the infrastructure needed to meet THX specifications. After the theater owner has incorporated the design changes, THX will assist him or her in selecting equipment from the THX equipment list. The final design and equipment list is submitted to THX for approval. Once THX approves the list, the owner can begin actual construction or renovation.
Ahh yes, but where did the THX in THX 1138 come from? I thought Tomlinson Holman was the TH in THX. Don't know where the X came from, or if the information I heard is right to begin with. By the way, if you watch THX 1138 you can see that Lucas brought a lot of his successful ideas--like the stormtrooper-like police--from that movie over to Star Wars (also, see the film The Hidden Fortress, where Lucas got his actual inspiration for Star Wars. I believe the DVD has an actual interview with Lucas)
THX in home theatre is very misunderstood. In real basic terms, THX certification means that the amplifier or other component meets specific requirements, mainly output DB at a certain distance for sound , or in the case of speakers, the ability to handle THX type load. (Video is a bit different and is more "quality oriented" with respect to THX spec). It also means that those advertising "THX Certified" have paid a liscensing fee.
But it does not, I reapeat, does not, mean the product is of audiophile quality or necessarily better sounding than a component without that certification.

In low and mid-fi receivers and speakers, THX certification is probalby a good thing, as it ususally means the amp and speakers have the guts to put out the DB of a sound intensive (i.e explosions) movie in a moderatley sized room.

However, you won't find high end manufactures (Krell, Levinson, Classe, ARC or BAT) paying THX for certification of their high end amps -- they don't need to, as their equipment far far surpasses THX specs.

If you are in the market for a sub $500 receiver, THX certification is probably good. But on high end stuff, IMHO it means didily squat and is just a case of big marketing dollars chasing the wallets of uninformed mid fi folk. --Lorne
Hi, guys. As an "FYI", the letters "THX" were said at the time to stand for "Tomlinson Holman's X-periment". That may be apocryphal, but the explanation was mentioned in a number of audio mags some 20+ years ago.
THX = Marketing Hype

If not hype, then I want to know who decided that Lucas and Holman are the the gods of audio, and gave them the power to decide what perfect sound is for the rest of mortals.

quoting "Sugarbrie
THX = Marketing Hype

If not hype, then I want to know who decided that Lucas and Holman are the the gods of audio, and gave them the power to decide what perfect sound is for the rest of mortals."
- True. Very True. HiFi just like any other industry has been pretty badly twisted around by the big fish and monopolist. Look at Sony, Bose...even so-called audio magazines like stereophile are twisted and rate products based on advertising costs. I stopped buying Sony after doing an internship with them. But, I feel sad that I cannot stop buying Microsoft even though I hate them, used to work for them and know that all they do is steal code and sit around @ starbucks 3 hours a workday
Of course its marketing hype. Everything is marketing hype. The whole point is for you the consumer to buy something you want, not something you need. If we only bought what we needed then most companies would go out of business. I for one don't mind the THX certification, even though everything I own surpasses its qualification specs. It took someone with Lucas's clout to force the issue (THX certification of theaters) so that we can enjoy the stadium seating theaters that we have today--just as he is now forcing those digital theaters for picture quality. Granted, the kids shining laser pointers and babies screaming or those idiots who answer their phones during the picture have driven me to spend 30K on my own home theater, but I am still happy to see the industry now focused on sound quality. Just my 2cents.
Lucas has no real clout. If the theater owners (who's trade group has the real clout) were not making more money with the upgrades, THX would have been long forgoten by now. The big thing just before this was Dolby this and that in Theaters. Some day it will be something else.

The actual person originally behind stadium seating is Douglas Trumbell, the guy who coordinated the special effects on 2001 for Kubrick and Close Encounters for Spielberg. He started it in the mid 1980s. Trumbell was the premier special effects creator before Lucas.