For many audiophiles and home cinema buffs, if a product, Blu-ray disc or cinema presentation has the THX badge applied, it will offer the best video and audio performance possible.
The company, set up as an off-shoot of George Lucas' Lucasfilm, is possibly best known for certifying high-end and mid-range AV amplifiers, home cinema speaker systems, and, more recently, PC speakers and, even, flatscreen TVs. Now, as Pocket-lint has exclusively learnt, it is to turn to mobile phones and tablet devices.
Speaking to us in a one-to-one briefing, senior vice president of THX (and chairman of the 3D@Home Consortium), Rick Dean, explained that as smartphones and tablets, such as the iPhone and iPad, are becoming more and more important for content delivery, his company needs to look at ways to improve the experience for users: "We are actively going down that path right now," he said.
"Five years ago, I said that we should really get into the mobile audio world, but they said, 'You can’t get a theatrical experience out of that, you’re listening to it with earbuds.'
"But look at the way that music is consumed today," he added. "And it’s got to the point where I know I can work with a company who makes phones like these here [iPhone 4s]. Maybe produce an app that will improve the user experience.
"Although, there’s only so much you can do with a screen this size."
More important to the company, then, is the fact that modern mobile devices now hook up to a big screen, and more and more consumers are using them as media players.
And it is here that THX hopes to help manufacturers improve performance: "There are things that can be done that can enhance that experience – the clever use of compression technologies, the clever use of DSP (digital signal processing) which can sense the effect of compression on audio and video and try to restore a little of that sharpness," Dean told us.
However, at present, how THX works with smartphone and tablet manufacturers to bring about better audio and video quality is open. Ideally, it would like to both certify handsets and provide licensed software - such as Media Director (metadata stored within content to tell a device to choose optimum picture and sound settings) - to companies: "Whether it’s certification, or whether it’s technology licensing, we’re very much working on both of those worlds," said Dean.
No timescale has been mentioned, but, if you're as big home cinema fans as we are on Pocket-lint, we're sure that you too will be as excited that THX is readily turning its attention to phones and tablets.
Would you use your mobile device as your prime video source if it could guarantee a cinematic experience? Let us know in the comments below...