THX comes to the living room

Lucasfilm THX, developer of the THX audio specification, has been broadened to cover PCs and home multimedia speaker systems.

Dubbed THX Home, the specification now covers user interface, sound performance and construction quality.

Lucasfilm THX is launching the specification on the back of what it believes will be an explosion in home cinema, due in part to the continued success of DVD. The specification has been expanded to ensure Lucasfilm has a strong presence in the burgeoning use of PCs, which are increasingly used for watching DVDs, and video-based games. "THX certified multimedia speakers will allow consumers to experience feature films, games and music on their PC with the same quality of sound found in cinemas or home cinema systems," said a spokesman for Lucasfilm THX.

However, although many UK home cinema manufacturers offer THX certified products it seems it will take a while longer before the THX certificate becomes ubiquitous: Although the first certified system, Klipsch ProMedia v.2-400, is featured in Compaq Presario PCs, there was little interest from other manufacturers. Speaker manufacturer Pine claimed home cinema is a niche market, with Samsung and Philips claming they had no plans to seek certification.

The first THX Theatre specification was issued for the first two American cinemas to show The Empire Strikes Back.