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What does THX certification mean for HDTVs?

Some HDTVs get to display THX certification like a merit badge (for example, the Panasonic Viera TC-P50G10), but what does being THX-certified really mean?HDGuru got the chance to tour the THX facilities where they put sets to the test, and while the company would only make a few of their tests public (view PDF of the list here), it still provides some valuable information for consumers to know when they see the certification.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Some HDTVs get to display THX certification like a merit badge (for example, the Panasonic Viera TC-P50G10), but what does being THX-certified really mean?

HDGuru got the chance to tour the THX facilities where they put sets to the test, and while the company would only make a few of their tests public (view PDF of the list here), it still provides some valuable information for consumers to know when they see the certification.

None of the seven tests that the HDGuru Web site highlights should come as a surprise, and these include panel reflectance (to determine image quality with a light source like a lamp on in the room), panel uniformity (to make there are no bright or dark spots on the set), four-point viewing angle (to judge how much image quality is affected by off-axis viewing), and image retention recovery (to detect residual images). While viewing angle and panel uniformity are more issues for LCDs, panel reflectance and image retention have been traditionally a concern for plasmas.

One thing THX-certified HDTVs must have is a THX Mode, which provides automatic calibration for movies based on THX criteria. This is done to provide a simple way for consumers to guarantee excellent image quality without having to mess around with the setttings, especially since picture quality "out of the box" isn't always ideal for home viewing.

For oodles of more tech info, HDGuru details more about the trip to the THX labs on his site. If you have a THX-certified set, let us know how it's working for you in our comments section.

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