THX Begins HD Certifications

THX Ltd. introduced its performance benchmark and certification program for HD displays at CEDIA Expo 2006 last weekend in Denver. The THX Certified Display program, a concept for benchmarking first envisioned by "Star Wars" producer George Lucas, is designed to enable manufacturers to create HD products that deliver a specified minimum high threshold of quality.

The new HD certifications address LCD, plasma, DLP rear- and front-projection, LCoS, SED, laser, and other emerging applications, THX said. The certifications are designed to simplify the HD purchasing process for consumers, as they confront myriad technologies, product designs, formats, and marketing claims. And sometimes compounding the problem, THX said, is that evaluation techniques and benchmarks often differ between manufacturers and product categories.

The firm said with the THX Certified Display program, "We are challenging display manufacturers to make better-performing products, and deliver a level of quality that's being demanded by their customers and the artists who create the content." THX said it's involved at each step of the development process, working closely with display makers from early design concepts to final product rollout.

Displays are sent to THX test labs during the prototype stage, where they're run through a series of performance tests, including "front-of-screen" evaluation and video signal processing analysis. THX said it evaluates how each type of display responds to various playback materials to identify and minimize sources of motion artifacts, ghosting, dropped frames and picture noise.

After initial testing is complete, reports are submitted to the manufacturers with recommendations for product modifications. Testing is repeated until the display meets all THX performance requirements.