THX certification has long been regarded as the reference standard for audio equipment. If a set of speakers, amplifier or subwoofer display the THX logo, they have passed through some of the most stringent testing procedures in the AV industry.
More recently, the company, which was co-founded by George Lucas, has turned its eye towards video and, specifically, movie playback. TVs and other video kit are scrutinised for picture perfection. The idea is that the home experience should match, as closely as possible, that of the cinema.
Now certification of 3D Blu-ray has been introduced by THX, in co-operation with one of the Blu-ray Disc Association's own official testing labs, BluFocus. It aims to address 3D picture quality, interoperability and the physiological effects of 3D, meaning discs that have met the tough criteria will be able to include dedicated icons on their packaging.
According to THX's own specifications, to earn the "AV" icon, a disc must ensure that "left and right eye images retain the sharpness and detail of the original master video elements". The audio also has to meet studio reference levels and remain faithful to the master recordings.
Creative Certification, as represented by a "C" icon, looks at all of the 3D elements of a film, including characters, graphics and subtitles. They need to "enhance the storyline and visual experience, not distract from it". The presence of this badge on a Blu-ray will also guarantee that a 2D-to-3D conversion is free of "creative errors and flaws that deviate from the director’s intent or may cause 3D viewer fatigue".
Finally, the "I" icon stands for Interoperability Certification. During this phase of the testing, THX and BluFocus make sure that a disc works fully on both 3D and 2D Blu-ray players without problems.
Of course, not all studios will submit their discs for certification and there's no indication on whether the process of doing so will delay release dates, but true AV-holics will, no doubt, be looking for the badge in future.
What do you think? Will you only buy discs that have THX/BluFocus certification? Or are you not bothered by 3D at all? Let us know in the comments below...