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THX Unveils Speaker Bar Program, MD Partners

Indianapolis – THX (booth 1543) is announcing at CEDIA Expo a
home-theater technology certification program for soundbars, and it revealed
that Analog Devices, Sigma Designs, Silicon Image and Quantum Data will provide
silicon solutions and HDMI protocol testing to support implementation of THX
Media Director  technology into system

THX Media Director (MD) is a system that enables a home-theater
system to automatically select the most appropriate playback settings and modes
specific to each piece of content and source device.

The new silicon solutions and testing solutions will help
manufacturers of Blu-ray Disc players, A/V receivers, TVs and projectors more
easily implement the MD system into their devices, THX said.

The system transforms movies, music and other digital media into
metadata or “smart content” that lets A/V components auto-select the most
appropriate audio and video playback settings to preserve the content creator’s
artistic intent.

“With support from worldwide leading chipmakers Analog Devices,
Sigma Designs and Silicon, THX is further extending the foundation of its THX
Media Director platform,” said Rick Dean, THX senior VP. “CE manufacturers will
now be able to source these chips for THX Media Director enabled devices, such
as Blu-ray players, A/V receivers, TVs and projectors.”

THX said Analog Devices, Sigma Designs and Silicon Image have
enhanced their products to support industry standards CEA-861 and HDMI and
features multiple Vendor Specific InfoFrame processing (VSI) for easier
implementation by CE manufacturers.

Analog Devices’ ADV7850 HDMI complete A/V front-end chip supports
the implementation of MD in all commonly used interfaces associated with HDTVs
and home-theater applications, the companies said.

Sigma Designs has similarly developed several system-on-a-chip
(SoC) designs for Blu-ray players, set-top-boxes and AVRs that enable CE
manufacturers to rapidly introduce MD products.

Silicon Image has announced MD support in seven HDMI port
processors and transmitters that can be implemented into end-to-end solutions
for a variety of digital TVs and home theater consumer devices.

Quantum Data joined MD’s growing list of partners to implement Media
Director compatible tests that will verify, test, simulate and validate
that  manufacturers’ products are in full
compliance with THX’s technology.

Meanwhile, THX announced that “Star Wars: The Complete Saga on
Blu-ray” will be the first MD enabled Blu-ray Discs.

The six-disc collection will implement MD as the titles roll out across
several territories, including USA/Canada.

THX and Lucasfilm worked closely to identify and preserve the
best picture and sound playback settings, THX said. THX said additional MD
titles will be introduced in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, THX’s new Speaker Bar Certification program was said
to have been developed to enhance home display audio within integrated speaker
and subwoofer combination systems.

Teufel, Europe’s leading direct seller of loudspeaker systems,
will distribute the industry’s first THX Certified speaker bar, the Cinebar51
THX, across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, THX said.

“With the speaker bar market growing so quickly, it is critical
that THX defines a performance benchmark for both quality and simplicity,” said
Mike Del Santo, THX certification testing manager. “As with all THX Certified
speakers,  THX Certified speaker bars
undergo a rigorous testing process to ensure they deliver production studio
reference level sound pressure and fidelity with low distortion and noise, and
only the top 10 percent of today’s A/V components have what it takes to be THX

THX said it has developed customized standards and benchmarks
specific to meet the growing market demand. With a recommended viewing distance
of up to 6 feet from the screen, THX Certified speaker bars deliver optimized
sound for flat-panel displays. This includes improved spatial acoustics for
wider listening area, flatter frequency response for improved dialog clarity, higher
acoustic output with minimal compression and limiting for decreased distortion
at higher volumes, proper acoustic blending between satellite bar and subwoofer
components, and lower crossover point to minimize voice/instrument location

The new THX Certified Teufel Cinebar 51 speaker bar features two
4-inch woofers and a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter per side integrated into a
sleek, wall-mountable aluminum enclosure.