If you are a movie lover with a home theatre set up built to give you the best experience you can possibly get then you’ll no doubt know what THX is. Most people should at least remember the logo appearing in the front of movies, for example Star Wars would be an example of this. What THX basically was created for was to provide the audience with the best audio and visual performance from the technology available. The fact it was the brainchild of George Lucas himself gives you an idea of just how high profile it is.
ThX Tune Up is a new app for iOS devices like the iPad to help you tune-up your HDTV to get the most out of it. The only drawback to this is the fact that really you’ll only get the most out of this if you have Apple TV (connects over AirPlay) or an Apple AV Adapter. This of course restricts the advantages of the app quite considerably if you don’t have a way to connect to your television.
The User Interface
The app is fairly simple in what it does, it will send test patterns and signals to your television and this will let you make the required adjustments to make the sound and visual settings fit your needs. It’s simple, but effective when it comes to getting it just right. One of the first drawbacks you’ll notice is if you don’t have Apple TV for AirPlay or the AV Adapter, these adapters can cost around £35/$50 which will be quite a big cost if you’ve not already got one.
The user interface itself is fairly basic. When you load the app up you’ll see the THX logo and a button to press to start the calibration. You’ll be given a video to introduce you to the process then given access to three screens (Equipment, Adjustments and Extras). You’ll find that the Adjustments screen is the one where you’ll get most of the functionality for the calibration process.
Calibrating your HDTV
The first thing you’ll notice is that the sound calibration is fairly basic when compared to the visual side. You’ll be able to do tests to see if the speakers are places right and to get the volume settings more in balance, but really it’s the picture quality where the app shines. With the visual side of the app it will help you with six adjustments Aspect Ratio, Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint and Review. These adjustments are fairly self-explanatory with Review simply being a test pattern to let you see that the adjustments you’ve made are looking. Help is provided with each screen so it’s an easy process that helps you get the most out of the settings.
For what is a free app there is really little to complain about with the THX Tune-up and working with the iPad it’s easy to use and gets the job done. The problem will of course be if you don’t have AirPlay functionality or an AV adapter to connect to your television. This leads to a big expense you may not be willing to pay, unless you were going to get an adapter in the future anyway. For the audiophiles out there this app may be a little lacking and for people experienced with calibrating their home theatres this may not fit their needs, but for most of us it’s quite a useful tool to get the most out of your HDTV.