It's a mode that supposedly is close to a calibrated set, however, as has been discussed in this forum many times, the items connected and the TV's environment affect the appropriate TV settings/mode.
THX demands that a fee be paid to George Lucas and I don't really put much stock in anything labelled THX. What I put stock in is the PQ (or audio quality) for TVs and AVRs with or without THX labels. Something labelled THX has to meet a certain spec, but that doesn't mean that a manufacturer without the label can't be better - it just means that manufacturer didn't feel like paying George a royalty fee.
You may wish to check out the following FAQ on optimizing your TV.
Some of the THX tv's reviewed have actually needed to be set up even further to meet proper calibration standards as some of their levels were off according to such publications as Home Theatre Mag and Sound and Vision. LG is the worst for this from what I have read. Some sets can even be set up more accurately in custom mode than what THX mode reproduces as well.
Actually, it isn't that close. They do need quite a bit of work. What is beneficial about the mode is that it is most correct is in its displaying of colour.
THX-certified TVs are supposed to meet minimum design demands set by THX. A THX set should, after calibration, produce a pleasing picture.
Let's pick on the Panasonic TC-PXXG20/25.
The THX mode on the TV does display colour close to the specified HDTV x,y points, as well as the colour's luminance in reference to the brightness of gray its measured against. Switching the TV to another picture model like STANDARD will send colours far out beyond the HDTV colour gamut. This is not a good thing since all content and colour decisions were made on monitors that follow the HDTV colour points.
The THX-certified TV can be calibrated to meet the D65 white point (a colour of white). Out of the box it is much too warm in WARM 2 mode, and much too cool in WARM 1 mode. An incorrect grayscale means incorrect colours, period. The only way to view colours correctly is with gray set to D65 accross all shades of gray. That's how our TV system works.
Compared to the TC-PXXS2 series televisions without THX certification, the the "S"-series television will never be able to display colour correctly because it wasn't designed to.
The THX branding is there for consumers who don't have a reference for education. To a consumer, the THX branding is well known as a quality seal of approval.
Can a non-THX certified display also meet the criteria? Of course it can after a calibration, but this isn't universal for all displays, just specific ones. Average Joe who walks into a store will not be able to know this unless they've done their research.
We must remember that while we commonly frequent the forums, read reviews, etc., we are still a small minority of the population despite how large our internet community appears. The THX-certification seal approval is there for the rest of the people in our countries who aren't like us.
It could be Grandma Jones or Mr. Blackberry Banker.
They walk in the store looking for a TV.
They see the familiar branding of THX.
The associate it with performance.
They receive a level of performance at home.
This is an out-of-the-box guarantee without the need to do any more research.
Just plug in, set to THX, and enjoy.
There is no guarantee that a salesperson outside of some of the most educated specialty shops will educate them on performance televisions. Without purchasing a THX certified television, how else would they get a higher level of performance out of the box?
Thus, the reason why THX-certified televisions exist.
THX likes to tout 400 tests/requirements for the THX certification for the TVs. Take the LG 8500 Series THX LCD localized dimming model ... it has a viewing angle far greater than any other LCD display out there. Why ...? Because that is part of the requirement.
It is not a logo that a TV manufacturer can buy by simply throwing money at THX. Although many a manufacturer thinks this coming into the process.
Let's say you are RCA ... and you want to look into THX certified displays for your brand. So you pay THX some $30K to start the process and you have to then sign a number of NDA's ... then after the NDA's ... the TV spec requirements are presented to RCA ... The products must meet a certain level of performance ...
Let's say RCA decides after looking at the specs that they don't want to do this after all. They can graciously back out ... but they can't then go build a bunch of TVs to the same spec and advertise it as such. "meets THX requirements" They can definitely go and improve their product if so inclined but they can never publicly compare that product to THX specs. (NDA's prevent that)
It is then up to the end user to figure out if the product meets or exceeds the THX specs.
It should be noted that calibrating a non-THX display to the right color temp ... gamma ... color gamut ... does not mean it is the equivalent of the THX mode in the TV. This might be 3 out of the 400 tests ... but what about the other 397?
I spoke with a JVC lead engineer for their projectors and asked them the same questions. If I did gamma and grayscale and cms in the user mode of the projector ... do I have the same performance as in the THX mode of the projector ... and the answer was no.
In this vein, the Panasonic VT25 models ... if one calibrates the ISF day and ISF night modes on the TV ... they can never match the performance of the THX mode in the TV. The ISF modes are modifications of the TV's custom mode ... not the THX mode.
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