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SurroundView 96

Bringing Surround Sound Home

Tomlinson Holman

Tom Holman advances entertainment technology as president of TMH Corporation, Los Angeles, CA. TMH Corporation R&D projects include a tool for film sound post production on the desktop, consumer formats for distribution of multi-channel music, and a radical reconception of stereo systems as we know them today.

Mr. Holman is most famous for launching the four THX ® business units: Professional theater and home electronics equipment licensing, Laserdisc, and the Theatre Alignment Program (1-800-PHONETH). He set the standards for THX certified equipment and software. All THX patents come directly from his experiments and research. Over 46 consumer electronics companies incorporate these patents and design guidelines into hundreds of consumer electronic products. A growing listing of more than 800 first-rank motion picture theaters are re-certified annually as performing according to specifications Mr. Holman created in 1983.

Digital audio engineers who are creating the formats of the future know that in 1987 Mr. Holman proposed and named the next generation 5.1-channel stereo configuration now arriving in professional and home theater systems.

Mr. Holman's path-finding inventions and keen marketing sense-ranging from stereo equipment design, through the Skywalker Ranch technical infrastructure, to THX technologies and licensing program-successfully put technology in service of art, the artist, and the audience. His life's work shapes the quality of presentation in film production studios, cinema houses, and in homes worldwide.

Mr. Holman divides his time between technical research, business pursuits, and teaching film sound as associate professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. He is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society, the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, a distinction held by few others. Mr. Holman is a member of the Acoustical Society of America and the IEEE. He is the chairman of international standards committee IEC SC100C Audio, Video, and Audio-Visual Systems, along with many other standards activities, and is listed in Marquis' Who's Who in America. He is a recipient of two SMPTE awards: the Samuel L. Warner Medal for contributions to motion-picture sound, and the Eastman Kodak Gold Medal for contributions to educational use of motion pictures. He has several domestic and difficult to obtain foreign patents, all of which are used in products, two Hi Fi Grand Prix awards, and a Design Exhibition award of the CES.

Senior audio electronics industry analysts know that Mr. Holman's career is marked by watershed product introductions that tend to redefine the markets in which he participates. His career in consumer electronics started in 1973 at Advent Corporation where he later became chief electrical engineer. He designed the Advent 300 Receiver and the Advent 400 FM Radio. The Advent 400 FM radio sold many tens of thousands of units - no mean feat for a mono table radio that sold for $125 in 1974! He collaborated with Andy Kotsatos (formerly Petite and now President of Boston Acoustics) on the design of the line of Advent loudspeakers, which sold hundreds of thousands of units. He also supervised Advent CR70 tape duplication, which was the first high-quality cassette duplicator, employing chromium dioxide tape and Dolby noise reduction. As Chief Electrical Engineer, he worked closely with Advent's legendary founder Henry Kloss (now of Cambridge Soundworks), and was responsible for electrical engineering of Advent's line of projection televisions, including the first major unit on the market, the VideoBeam 1000A, which marked the beginning of today's Home Theater industry.

In 1977, he co-founded Apt Corporation. The Apt/Holman stereo preamplifier captured a stunning 30% market share in a highly fragmented market. Mr. Holman is particularly proud to hear from consumers and industry insiders alike who purchased these products at introduction and still have them in service over 17 years later.



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