Posted Tue May 1, 2018 at 05:30 AM PDT by Steven Cohen
The new website tests and rates various performance attributes for popular displays, amps, and speakers.
Building upon the company's expertise in cinema and home theater certification, THX has announced the launch of its new THX Standard website. The site is designed to serve as a consumer electronics rating resource for a variety of AV products, offering objective and data-driven out-of-box performance evaluations to help buyers make more informed purchases.
"For over 35 years, THX has set the industry standard for the audio and visual fidelity of entertainment experiences," said Min-Liang Tan, CEO, THX Ltd. "The launch of THX Standard exemplifies our commitment to helping our industry partners better understand what factors influence the audio and visual fidelity of products and bring better products to market faster. THX Standard reinforces our mission to make home and mobile entertainment come alive for consumers around the world."
The site features sections for Displays, Amplifiers, and Speakers with detailed evaluations for various products from numerous manufacturers in each category, rating each component's out-of-box performance using industry standards and a proprietary testing methodology. The individual test scores for each attribute are then displayed along with an overall performance score. Likewise, users can click on the different evaluation elements to learn more about them and the testing processes used, along with the option to see detailed measurement results. In addition, visitors can also directly compare different models to see how performance contrasts across the board.
To coincide with the launch, Peter Vasay, GM and SVP of THX Labs, was kind enough to speak with us about THX Standard and let us test drive the page. And after checking out some of the team's initial evaluations, the site looks like it's shaping up to be a very handy resource for consumers and manufacturers alike.
With that said, THX stressed that the website's listings are not meant to act as traditional "reviews." Instead, the results are designed to serve as unbiased, purely data-driven measurements compiled to help educate buyers on product performance and various AV attributes.
Likewise, the company made sure to distinguish its THX Standard site from its existing THX Certification program and logo. Though similar testing is used, a high THX Standard score does not actually provide or signify THX Certification on its own, as that is a separate process with spec/performance evaluations that manufacturers have to specifically opt into. If an included model does happen to have THX Certification, however, that will be detailed on the listing. On that note, both services have been designed to complement one another, and the THX Standard site does offer consulting services to help manufacturers improve their product scores and enter into the THX Certification program.
(Color Gamut Accuracy u'v' for Sony XBR-55X900E)
When it comes to evaluating THX Standard picture and audio performance, the site's engineers are currently focusing strictly on out-of-box results, with measurements conducted based on default settings without professional calibration. For displays, however, the team evaluates and takes into account a TV's Standard mode and default Movie/Cinema mode (which typically offers better accuracy). Scores based on full calibrations along with detailed settings are also a possibility for the future.
At launch, THX Standard features about 39 products across TV, Stereo Amp, Multi-Channel Amp, Powered-Studio Monitor, and 2.1 PC Speaker System categories, with models from manufacturers like Sony, LG, VIZIO, TCL, Marantz, Anthem, Emotiva, Klipsch, Yamaha, JBL, Focal, Bose, and Harman Kardon. The initial lineup has been selected based on popularity, and THX purchases the units it uses for evaluation. More devices and product categories will be added over time with user and company requests set to be taken into consideration.
When it comes to TVs, the overall score is broken down into 11 equally weighted categories, including individual scores for factors like Color Accuracy, Black Level, Gamma, HDR Performance (just HDR10 for now), Off-Axis Viewing, Uniformity, Artifacts, and more. Clicking on each section offers a description of the element and a break-down of what the engineers look for, along with applicable data and graphs with the results. For instance, the HDR performance section features a rundown of luminance levels for different object sizes, and a graph showcasing the display's RGB balance in HDR10 mode when transitioning from dark to light.
(HDR Performance for Sony XBR-55X900E)
Meanwhile, Amps are rated across 11 individually scored categories as well, including factors like Frequency Response, Crosstalk, and Noise, though, unlike displays, some of these elements are weighted differently based on importance. Finally, Powered Speakers are broken down into six scored categories and 2.1 PC Speakers are broken down into seven scored categories, with included elements like Frequency Response, Listening Window, and Low Frequency Performance. Again, clicking on each section brings up detailed info on the category with relevant data and graphs.
In addition, users can select multiple models within the same product category to access handy comparisons, allowing visitors to view scores and data/graphs for each section side-by-side. Navigation is pretty simple and intuitive, with the top three highest scored products for each category highlighted on the main page and easy access to each section through a horizontal menu on the top of the page.
Though the initial lineup is a bit sparse and mostly relegated to models from 2017 and earlier, the site demonstrates great promise and has the potential to become an invaluable resource for buyers and manufacturers. The scoring seems to be fairly strict and the equally weighted components for displays has resulted in somewhat surprising rankings (with one of last year's arguably top display models, the LG B7, in second place with a 70 overall), but the seemingly high standards leave room for manufacturers to continue to improve their products.
And again, the page isn't meant to offer actual reviews. Instead, the detailed test results let the data speak for itself while informing consumers about different performance attributes and allowing them to draw their own conclusions based on the overall scores or the specific picture/audio factors that matter most to the them.
The THX Standard website is now live, so be sure to check it out for yourself!
Source THX Standard
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