Lucasfilm THX® together with Dell today announced the availability of the first THX certified PCs under a newly created THX program designed to deliver the best picture and sound to-date on a personal computer. With consumers increasingly turning to the PC for entertainment content, a THX certified PC ensures that movies, music, games and more will be enjoyed with a sound and visual impact that will satisfy the most demanding multimedia user. The first PCs to be available with certification from THX under the new program are the 8100 and 4100 Series from Dell, which combine THX certified multimedia speaker systems and Dolby Digital surround sound with state-of-the-art PC subsystems. In addition to the performance enhancements, THX PC certification also brings with it a software-based program that simplifies setup and allows users to easily switch between the THX settings optimized for audio/video performance and settings for other PC applications.
“Our objective with this new program is to do for the PC what we did for the movies and home theatre – provide standards to ensure the best possible picture and sound,” said Monica L. Dashwood, Lucasfilm THX General Manager. “We see the PC rapidly expanding its role as an entertainment content delivery device, so it’s natural for THX to apply our two decades of experience and expertise in sound and image reproduction to this new category.”
Commenting on the announcement, John Hamlin, Vice President of Dell’s U.S. consumer division, said, “Our direct relationship with customers and suppliers allows Dell to provide the latest technology to consumers and the THX certified PCs will offer the best multimedia experience available from a PC.”
THX PC certification covers the entire system, and it is the system as a whole that is certified. THX research showed that it isn’t just the quality of the various components and PC subsystems that affect performance, but that the interaction among them also critically affects sound and picture quality. THX and Dell engineers collaborated over an 18-month period to ensure optimum picture and sound quality among the selected subsystems, and that process is a key element in the THX certification program.
“A key issue is compatibility – it’s the biggest technical challenge in optimizing PC audio and video performance,” said Laurie Fincham, THX Director of Engineering. “There are complex interactions among PC components and between PC hardware and software. That is why we certify the complete system rather than the individual components. Our focus is on the result – top quality audio and video performance – rather than on specific product specifications.”
The new THX PC certification program was designed to deliver unprecedented PC sound and image quality. To accomplish that mission, every component that can affect sound and picture quality is assessed, including the display, sound card, video card and speakers. For easy system setup, certified systems also come with a THX-developed software utility – the THX Picture and Sound Optimizer – that guides the consumer through connections, sound card adjustment, speaker placement and other items to ensure that performance is optimized. Once setup is complete, that same utility allows for quick verification of the THX settings, including adjustments for color balance, brightness, contrast, aspect ratio and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital decoding.
The first THX certified PCs to be available are the Dell Dimension 8100, starting at $2,599.00, and the Dell Dimension 4100, starting at $1,999.00, available directly from Dell. Each system comes with a DVD that contains the THX Optimizer software and THX trailers for a powerful demonstration of the systems’ superior audio and video performance.
The THX Group of Lucasfilm Ltd. is dedicated to achieving superior presentation quality in theatres and homes through its unique certification program and services. The THX Theatre Program works with the exhibition and post-production community around the world to deliver the ultimate cinema experience by building certified theatres that adhere to comprehensive and proprietary THX standards. Home THX allows consumers to replicate that experience at home through Certified THX home theatre and multimedia products available from leading audio/video and PC manufacturers. For studios and filmmakers, THX provides comprehensive quality assurance services for theatrical film releases through its Theatre Alignment Program (TAP), and for DVD, laser disc and videotape releases through its award-winning THX Digital Mastering Program.