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Unedited press release follows:
THX® ANNOUNCES FIRST THX MEDIA DIRECTOR TM ENABLED CONSUMER ELECTRONIC DEVICES FROM DUNE HDTM, EPSON®, INDY AUDIO LABS AND SHARP®
BluFocus Inc., Deluxe Digital Studios and re:fine to Incorporate THX Media Director Technology on Future Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming Titles and More in 2012
LAS VEGAS (CES 2012 – Renaissance Hospitality Suites #632 and #639) – January 10, 2012 – THX Ltd. today announced the first THX Media DirectorTM enabled products from leading consumer electronics (CE) device manufacturers, including Dune HDTM, Epson®, Indy Audio Labs and Sharp®. Consumers today face an increasingly complex range of content formats, device choices and settings when watching movies, playing games or listening to music at home. THX Media Director is a technology that transforms digital media into smart content, enabling CE devices to automatically select the most appropriate audio and video settings, simplifying the home entertainment experience while preserving artistic intent. THX and its partners are demonstrating the technology this week at CES 2012.
“Consumers are using an increasing number of complex and sophisticated media devices, with content coming from an ever-expanding list of services. There is no way for consumers to individually manage the playback details of each piece of content, on each particular device,” said Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst with In-Stat, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. “THX Media Director makes it easy for consumers to get the optimal user experience, allowing them to take advantage of all the great features that come loaded on CE devices these days. It gives device manufacturers a way to genuinely differentiate their products from the mass market, and it allows the content owner and artist to deliver their work to consumers just as they intended it to be heard and seen. THX has done everyone a great service with this technology.”
How it Works
THX Media Director technology can be encoded into nearly any CE device or form of media – including streaming content, Blu-ray and DVD discs, CDs, audio files, downloads and more. From lens to post-production, THX Media Director captures specific creative and technical characteristics of audio and video content, such as:
• Content type (i.e., game, movie, photograph, etc.)
• Aspect ratio or size (to determine how the content should fit the display screen)
• Film grain (for effect)
• Whether the content is 2D or 3D (and which form of 3D)
• Room size (to determine optimal audio)
• Surround sound
Creators and content editors are able to record these specifics according to how the content was intended to be seen and heard, allowing THX Media Director enabled devices—such as Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, AVRs, HD displays—to automatically select the most appropriate playback settings. For example, as users change from playing a game to watching a movie, THX Media Director communicates this and enables the devices to automatically select the right settings. From an experiential perspective, it also allows post-production teams to set specific color parameters to ensure that a dark movie utilizes the appropriate black levels, allowing viewers to differentiate images amongst the various blacks vs. just seeing a black screen.
This ability to turn any kind of digital media into “smart content” represents a significant leap ahead for the industry and for consumers who are looking for a much simpler, yet richer, more immersive home entertainment experience.
THX Media Director Achievements
THX spent the better part of 2011 signing up additional partners and executing licensing deals to implement THX Media Director in everything from the silicon chips that power CE devices, to streaming media content and Blu-ray discs.
“In continuing to partner with leading CE manufacturers, chip developers, content creators and authoring facilities, THX is delivering on its promise to bring this technology to consumers’ living rooms,” said Rick Dean, senior vice president, THX Ltd. “THX Media Director technology is a key contributor to the CE ecosystem, enabling the newest CE devices to deliver on the ‘wow factor’ that consumers demand when they invest in home entertainment equipment. THX technologies aren’t just about making things easier for the consumer. Our goal remains to deliver an experience beyond consumers’ expectations.”
New THX Media Director Devices
Dune HD products are widely recognized as best-in-class for quality, flexibility and performance. THX selected Dune HD media players—the Dune HD Max and the Dune HD Smart B1—as the first to integrate THX Media Director technology, as they support nearly every audio and video format type. Existing Dune HD media players are able to add THX Media Director Technology through an automated firmware upgrade process. Future Dune HD products will support THX Media Director in their original firmware.
Epson is the best-selling projector brand worldwide. From its early beginnings as a projection pioneer, Epson continues its full commitment to offering projectors that lead in technology, innovation and quality. THX will be demonstrating THX Media Director capabilities on an Epson model in the THX suite at CES 2012, highlighting Epson as the first projector manufacturer to showcase this technology. While existing Epson projectors are not yet THX Media Director Enabled, Epson is planning to offer THX Media Director in future models.
Indy Audio Labs delivers convenience, capability and power in one satisfying state-of-the-art AV system. Its Acurus products are recognized for audiophile performance and features at a high-value, affordable price point, making the Acurus ACT 4 a natural choice for the first THX Media Director enabled preamplifier. Designed to be the headquarters of a modern high definition home theater, the ACT 4 is a powerful, sleek hub when combined with Indy Audio Lab’s recently released Acurus A2000 series multi-channel amplifiers. THX Media Director Enabled 7.1 surround preamp preprocessor is expected to be available to consumers Q2 2012.
Sharp is known worldwide for its unique electronic products, with the number one selling TV brand for 60” plus screen size classes. Elite LED LCD TVs provide discerning technology enthusiasts, audiophiles, videophiles and luxury consumers an unparalleled home theater experience. The Elite TVs were the first displays to demonstrate THX Media Director technology at CEDIA 2011 and are being exhibited this week in the THX suite and on the show floor at CES 2012. Elite TVs feature innovative technologies, including THX certification, excellent black levels, amazing detail and incredible depth. Although current Elite models are not THX Media Director Enabled, Sharp intends to integrate THX Media Director in future models.
New THX Media Director Authoring Facilities
Having established traction in the CE industry, THX Media Director is also being widely supported by the entertainment industry, with signed agreements from the largest and most prestigious content preparation service providers in the industry. As a result, consumers will see more THX Media Director enabled Blu-ray, DVD and streaming titles in stores and over electronic delivery services in 2012.
• BluFocus Inc., with offices in Los Angeles and London and clients including Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Home Entertainment, Warner Brothers Home Video and others, is a premier facility to create content-related information, or “smart content,” required to support THX Media Director. As a leader in quality assurance and certification, BluFocus is also the first THX Media Director quality control facility, adding to its current menu of services for apps, digital downloads, Blu-ray, DVD and more
• Deluxe Digital Studios is the first authoring facility in the U.S. to offer THX Media Director encoding with the delivery of the THX Certified and THX Media Director Enabled, Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray in September 2011. As the world’s largest Blu-ray and DVD authoring facility, Deluxe has been an integral and reliable partner for filmmakers and the Hollywood Studios for over 95 years
• re:fine is the first THX Media Director partner in the U.K., authoring content for 3D Blu-ray Discs and delivering digital content to BT Vision, Hulu and iTunes. re:fine’s first THX Media Director Enabled Blu-ray title, Truth or Dare, by Showbox Media Group, is scheduled for release in February, 2012
Additional THX Media Director enabled devices and content are expected to launch throughout 2012.
THX Media Director 2011 Highlights
• In January at CES, THX announced THX Media Director partnerships with Epson, JVC, LG and Onkyo
• In April at NAB, THX announced that THX Media Director is enabled in more than 10,000 streaming media titles available to millions of subscribers via Rovi’s RoxioNow streaming media service
• In September at CEDIA, THX announced support from leading chip manufacturers, including Analog Devices and Silicon Image, making it easy for CE device manufacturers to implement THX Media Director functionality into devices; in addition, continuing its partnership with Quantum Data Inc., together they announced THX Media Director compatible functions in Quantum Data’s line of test equipment
• Also announced in September, THX joined forces with Lucasfilm on the first THX Media Director Enabled Blu-ray Disc title, “Star Wars: The Complete Saga,” which is also THX Certified. The Saga broke global sales records and is the bestselling catalog Blu-ray Disc of all time.
THX at CES 2012
THX will be showcasing THX Media Director at CES 2012 in the Renaissance Hospitality Suites, as well as making some additional announcements at the show. For the latest THX news from CES 2012, please visit the THX Compact Speaker SystemTM and THX Amplifier Technology press releases.
From the big screen to your screen, THX ignites your passion for exciting entertainment experiences. Founded by George Lucas and recognized by audiences around the globe, THX is synonymous with the design and certification of world-class cinemas, premium audio systems, 3D HDTVs and blockbuster movies. Products featuring THX technologies defy convention and define quality in their class, whether in the cinema, in the home or on the road.