when THX was established circa star wars (a new hope), lucas wanted his films to be presented with pristine audiovisual quality. i'm not THAT old, but i have seen films in cinemas that have NOT been renovated since pre70s and i could see why lucas wanted this 'standard' to happen via the TAP (Theater Alignment Program). without THX, we might still have a plethora MONO speaker CINEMAS!!!
so it made sense to have a THX back then to raise the bar. my fav. part of enjoying a film in the early 90s is to pick a film showing in the THX auditorium and i luved luved luved enjoying the THX trailers that were shown back then!!! some of the fav is the THX-EX tex demonestrating the 6.1 capability of the cinema.
all of that changed with the advent of multiplexes and competitive nature of business. cinepliexes begin to offer stadium seating, digital projection, dts alternatives to dolby digital, sdds, and so on. by the time episode i came out, most major cinema chains have become so good at competing with one another, THX is no longer needed. that is not to say, normal theater maintains great quality all the time. in fact, after year 2000, u can see the theaters that used to have THX no longer participate in TAP and then things start to fall back to the way they were. broken subs, awful screen sprocket alignments and MONO makes their way back in a huge wave
in terms of theatrical presentation, THX needs to evolve their business unit into more of a 'police model' with full participation from MPAA or artists&studio organizations. give out a free 800 number in the beginning or at the end of the films or somewhere in the theaters whereby people can submit complaints. audiences like HTF will be sure to actively participate in this to make sure theatrical presentations are kept in line. FIX that sub, FIX that screen tear, FIX the surround sound! etc.
as for the home video, much like the history of TAP, the home divison used to mean something. equipment makers used to be shoddy and slim on the power specs and so on, but THX brought all of them up to a standard and in the last 8 years have far exceeded the standards by leaps and bounds that THX has had to come up with 'ultra and select' models and so on.
imho, the real compromise began when creative bought 60% stake into the THX business and now we have "THX-certified" 2.1 multimedia computer speakers. imho, that's ridiculous. if PC's want high quality audio, buy a AVR and hookup a pair of real speakers to it.
again, as with the TAP, THX home divisions need to evolve and adapt into different markets. i dunno what, but it needs to become more than it is.
as for certifying titles, was THX trying to be criterion? i dunno, i've always felt criterion showed the respect needed for films to present in such a manner and fashion that the original enjoyment is preserved. yesh i know critieron and THX have worked together to bring catalogue titles to great heights... but even criterion have scaled back on THX releases because their own internal QA have gone way up.
in today's age, THX is irrelevant except in spirit. on the software side, i'd like to see some sort of a 'quality police' so i can spam them about all my BD's with DNR problems (like patton), lol.