THX Ltd. is an American company headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 1983 by George Lucas. It develops the "THX" high fidelity audio/visual reproduction standards for movie theaters, screening rooms, home theaters, computer speakers, gaming consoles, car audio systems, and video games.
The current THX was created in 2002 when it spun off from Lucasfilm Ltd. THX was developed by Tomlinson Holman at George Lucas's company, Lucasfilm, in 1983 to ensure that the soundtrack for the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, would be accurately reproduced in the best venues. THX was named after Holman, with the "X" standing for "crossover" or possibly "experiment" as well as in homage to Lucas's first film, THX 1138. The distinctive glissando up from a rumbling low pitch used in the THX trailers, created by Holman's coworker James A. Moorer, is known as the "Deep Note".
The THX system is not a recording technology and it does not specify a sound recording format: all sound formats, whether digital (Dolby Digital, DTS, SDDS) or analog (Dolby Stereo, Ultra Stereo), can be "shown in THX". THX is a quality assurance system. THX-certified theaters provide a high-quality, predictable playback environment to ensure that any film soundtrack mixed in THX will sound as near as possible to the intentions of the mixing engineer. THX also provides certified theaters with a special crossover circuit whose use is part of the standard. Certification of an auditorium entails specific acoustic and other technical requirements; architectural requirements include a floating floor, baffled and acoustically treated walls, non-parallel walls (to reduce standing waves), a perforated screen (to allow center channel continuity), and NC30 rating for background noise ("ensures noise from air conditioning units and projection equipment does not mask the subtle effects in a movie's soundtrack").
In 2002, THX was owned by sound card manufacturer Creative Technology Limited, which held a 60% share of the company. The company has had a long history with Creative, which was responsible for the creation of the first THX-certified audio card for computers, the Sound Blaster Audigy 2.
In 2016, THX was acquired by videogame hardware company Razer Inc., with Razer owning all of THX and its intellectual property.
THX Certified Game logo commonly used on some THX-certified video games.
THX has created a certification process for additional products including home audio, home theater, video, and automotive sound components and products. THX certification extends to home audio receivers, speakers, desktop systems, soundbars, acoustic materials, microphones, and HDMI cables.
THX's Ultra2 certification is given for home theater components said to be good enough for a large home cinema of 3,000 cubic feet (85 m3) or more.
THX's Select2 certification is given for home theater components said to be good enough for medium-sized rooms, up to 2,000 cubic feet (57 m3) in size, with a 10–12 feet (3.0–3.7 m) viewing distance from the screen.
THX's I/S Plus systems include an AV Receiver + Speaker Bundle and are certified to fill a small home theater or dorm room where the viewing distance from the screen is 6–8 feet (1.8–2.4 m). These THX certified home theater in a box systems are so far exclusively made by Onkyo.
THX Certified Multimedia Products are designed and engineered for PC gaming and multimedia on the desktop.
THX-certified video displays (plasma display and LCD or LED flat panels and projectors) include a THX mode which allows users to see a program or movie as the creator intended.