Secrets Q & A

Professional Display Calibration: What It Is and What It Means to Your Home Theater Experience



THX and the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF)

There are two major organizations that train and certify calibrators, THX and the ISF.  Their training programs are similar in that they teach SMPTE standards and the theories behind video imaging.  The THX course offers more hands-on experience with displays.  The ISF however is the older of the two and has a large community of calibrators who share information with each other and manufacturers reps.  Both require passing a rigorous test to obtain certification, and both require certified members to have the proper equipment for calibration.

It is important to remember that THX and the ISF are not standard-setters.  They are standard-maintainers.  Their goal is to bring professional standards for video reproduction to consumer displays.  They do this in several different ways.  Education is the first and most important factor.  They have not only trained thousands of calibrators, they have also had a huge influence on display manufacturers as well.

Just ten years ago, it was nearly impossible to purchase a TV that was anywhere close to SMPTE standards.  This feature was reserved for very expensive professional monitors.  Televisions were made solely to stand out in packed showrooms.  In the last few years however, it has become possible to buy a display capable of matching these important standards.