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THX Adds Blu-ray, ‘Big Room’ Standards

Professional and home-theater standards developer THX revealed at CEDIA Expo, held here earlier this month, that it has added a new set of performance criteria for Blu-ray Disc players.

The first two Blu-ray Disc players to earn the THX stamp are Lexicon’s first Blu-ray Disc player (BD-30), which makes its debut at the show prior to shipping in November, and Pioneer’s Elite BDP-09FD.

Measurement criteria for Blu-ray players are very similar to the standards THX has set for display technologies, covering nearly 400 data points.

The firm strives to offer manufacturers, installers and consumer sets of performance levels for displays and devices in home-theater systems to as closely as possible duplicate the THX-certified performance.

In addition to covering how the player presents HD content from a Blu-ray Disc, the THX Blu-ray standard covers how a player presents standard-definition images and SD images up-converted to HD formats, including 1080p.

“What’s on all the various discs the Blu-ray player plays — Blu-ray and DVD as well — has to come out unblemished and free from all distractive artifacts — some of which can be quite hard to quantify,” explained John Dahl, THX senior fellow and education director.

Meanwhile, THX also showed in its Omni Hotel suite, here, its Big Room concept, which is described as a new product design and certification program that brings professional audio quality and performance to prosumer amplifiers, pre-amplifiers and loudspeakers.

“THX Big Room bridges the gap between the consumer and professional audio worlds, offering custom installers more hardware choices for designing large, multi-row media rooms and home theaters,” the company said.

THX showed the new concept using THX-certified concept products from Snell Acoustics, Parasound, Diodes Zetex Semiconductor and Integra.

The THX Big Room certification builds upon the THX Ultra2 Plus program, ensuring speakers, amplifiers and preamps are designed with the performance necessary to deliver studio Reference Level volume (85dB) and headroom in large home theaters where the viewing distance from the screen is 20 feet and beyond — rooms 660 square feet or 8,000 cubic feet in size, THX said.

THX explained that most consumer-grade speakers and receivers are designed for average sized residential home theaters and living rooms — 1,000 to 3,000 cubic feet in size. When used in rooms that exceed this size, consumer components are often overdriven, causing clipping, distortion and physical damage to loudspeakers.

THX Big Room systems include at least two rows of monopole/bipole side surround speakers and four individually calibrated and delay-adjustable subwoofer outputs to ensure enveloping coverage throughout the seating area.

THX Big Room systems require higher power transducers and speaker bi-amplification.