The digital world can sometimes appear confusing. Here you will find simple explanations for many of the commonly used terms.
A 100Hz television scans the picture across the screen twice as fast as a conventional 50Hz set, producing a clearer, less flickering picture. This helps reduce the eye strain which can be caused by watching a conventional 50Hz set for extended periods.
5.1 Channel Input
Allows the connection of a Dolby Digital/DTS source such as a suitably equipped DVD player which handles the processing of the Dolby Digital / DTS signal itself.
Advanced Audio Coding. An alternative technology to MP3.
Music recorded in analogue form, then re-mastered and converted digitally.
Anti-Glare Anti-Refection Anti-Static. A coating which actively suppresses reflected light.
A method of enhancing DVD discs to minimise the letterbox viewing effect.
Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding. A compression system designed to enable storage of large amounts of audio information with marginal loss of quality.
Automatic tuning of channels on TVs and Set Top Boxes (BBC1 on Channel 1 etc).
Automatic tuning of all channels that the aerial or dish can receive. An advanced auto tuning system will sort the channels into a logical order (i.e. BBC1 on channel 1, BBC2 on channel 2 etc.). When applied to HiFis an Auto Tuning system does the same for radio stations.
Automatic Volume Leveller. Minimises sudden changes in TV volume when commercials are transmitted
All music that is played back through a dynamic loudspeaker suffers some loss of fidelity or subtle distortions caused by the inherent characteristics of the loudspeaker. The BBE system - which originates in the professional recording industry - addresses these problems by compensating for phase and amplitude distortions. In effect it delivers the signal to the speaker in a form that reproduces the original (live) performance more fully and faithfully.
A Process of converting digital data into analogue signals.
Technology that allows Bluetooth enabled devices to communicate wirelessly.
CD-Recordable disc that can be written once only, but which can be played in most CD Players.
Re-writeable CD disc that can be written over and over, but which can be played back only on some standard CD Players.
A CD or DVD Player that can play back audio compact discs recorded on a CDR or CDRW Recorder.
Used to send digital sound from a Set Top Box or DVD Player to an AV amplifier, or connect a CD player to the Amplifier.
Allows connection of additional equipment for upgrades, servicing and Pay TV.
Used to send very high quality signals from a Set Top Box or DVD Player to a Television. Higher quality than SCART but carries video signal only, requiring a separate cable to carry sound
Standard video signal used to send pictures down a cable e.g. from a Set Top Box to a TV or Camcorder to a TV.
CD music is recorded in PCM which is non-compressed and therefore requires more storage space. Compression formats such as MP3, ATRAC, AAC and WMA are used to reduce file size and increase the amount of music that can be stored.
Acronym for Cathode Ray Tube.
Converts a Digital signal into an analogue signal.
Digital Audio Broadcasting. Can offer better and distortion free sound. Most BBC stations and many independent stations now broadcast using this method as well as traditional analogue signals.
Digital Analogue Converter. Converts the digital information on a compact disc to analogue format for playing through an amplifier.
Generic term for information used by a computer.
Dynamic Bass Boost. A system for bass enhancement in audio players.
Music recorded, mastered and stored in a digital form.
Used to return a product's settings changed by the user to manufacturer standard settings
Digital Surround Processing
DSP: TV sound system that artificially creates surround sound effects on normal stereo or mono programmes.
Digital Noise Reduction. A feature built into many TVs and other visual equipment designed to reduce picture noise.
Dolby Digital (5.1) is a six channel home cinema system. It consists of a front channel for on-screen dialogue, left & right front stereo channels, left & right rear surround effect channels and a subwoofer channel for dedicated bass effects.
Dolby Pro Logic II
An enhanced version of Dolby Pro Logic, uses sophisticated processing to produce a sound more like Dolby Digital.
Home Cinema surround sound format that consists of a front or centre channel for on-screen dialogue, front left and right channels and a rear surround channel to carry the rear surround effects.
The transferring of a file. Also refers to the transfer of data such as music and video files from a computer to a portable device or transferring a software upgrade via your aerial or satellite dish to your Set Top Box.
Dots per inch. Relates to the resolution of a printer or video monitor, the higher the level the greater the image quality.
Digital Theatre System. An alternative to Dolby Digital, DTS encodes six-channel digital surround sound and is used in some cinemas and on some DVDs.
Digital Terrestrial Television. The name given to digital broadcasts received through a standard TV aerial.
Enables the camcorder to download still images to a home computer. Moving images can be downloaded with the appropriate software and hardware.
Digital Video Broadcasting. Used to indicate a signal that is received via a standard TV aerial or satellite dish is in a digital form as opposed to the traditional analogue broadcast format.
Digital Versatile Disc. A digital format that provides superior picture and sound quality to that of Video Cassette.
Audio Format which provides multi channel surround and high quality stereo sound.
Recordable DVD discs that can only be written to once. Some DVD Recorders are compatible with DVD-R discs; some are compatible with DVD+R discs.
DVD -RAM, DVD -RW, DVD +RW
Different types of DVD discs that can be rewritten more than once.
Digital Video Interface. A video connection that provides digital images between devices.
The distance between the quietest and loudest audible sounds.
Electronic Anti-Shock System is designed to prevent skipping, by expanding the memory capacity.
Electronic Programme Guide- On-screen programme guide showing programme listings and information about the programmes.
Also known as i-link. This is a high speed data link for computers to communicate with devices such as Digital Video Cameras and MP3 Players. It supports data transfer rates of up to 400 Mbps.
Operating system and software used on a Set Top Boxes and other portable devices.
Speakers & Headphones: - The wider the ranges of the frequency response the better the range of sound from low bass (20Hz) upwards to high treble (20KHz). The human ear can generally perceive between the ranges of 20Hz-15KHz.
Favourite Track Selection. Allows you to programme a series of random tracks from a number of CDs into the permanent memory of a CD or CD Player
Fuzzy Logic is an adaptive system that optimises the user's requirements by means of Artificial Intelligence/Expert System technologies.
A gigabyte equal to 1,000 megabytes.
A graphics format, with built-in compression, for displaying pictures on a computer screen.
With General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) you can enjoy a continuous wireless connection to data networks and access your favourite information and entertainment services. GPRS technology allows mobile phones to be used for sending and receiving data over an Internet Protocol (IP)-based network.
An electronic device for adjusting the frequency response of an audio system, selectively altering the level of sound allowed in discreet frequency bands from bass to treble. Often accompanied by a dynamic LED display.
High Definition Compatible Digital. A compact disc coding system that provides better quality of sound.
High Definition Multimedia Interface. Allows full quality digital audio and video to be shared between equipment.
High Definition Television. Holds more than double the number of lines on a standard TV signal.
Television has a built-in idTV Digital decoder allowing the Television to receive terrestrial digital channels without a set-top box. Free channels include BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, and Channel 5. Picture and sound quality tends to be superior to that of analogue due to a more robust signal.
Used to indicate if a digital device has any internal memory that does not involve the use of removable media such as a memory card.
A file format for digital images enabling large data files to be stored and save memory space
A kilobyte is equal to 1,000 bytes.
Kilobits per second. Used as a measure of data transmission rates.
A small portable PC that has a keyboard and screen built into one unit, also known as a notebook PC.
Liquid Crystal Display. Flat display technology that is more energy efficient than a standard CRT. LCD products are increasing in demand due to their light weight and positioning flexibility in comparison to traditional CRT sets
Low Frequency Effects. Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks feature a dedicated bass channel specifically to cater for and process low frequency sounds and to add emphasis and depth to soundtracks.
Compression formats such as MP3 are classed as lossy. This means the compression system removes certain frequencies from the original signal which can lead to an audible loss of sound quality.
A megabyte is equal to 1,000 kilobytes.
Shorthand for MPEG Audio Layer 3, meaning a set of standards for storing and compressing digital audio files. Essentially MP3 takes a CD file, and compresses the sound to a much smaller file by removing the bits that the human ear cannot actually detect.
Motion Picture Experts Group. A method of compressing moving pictures to make them smaller thus making them easier to transfer and store.
Motion Picture Experts Group. The compression standard for digital video.
MPEG2 5.1 Surround
Alternative digital audio system to Dolby Digital available on some DVD discs, delivering six independent channels of sound: stereo front left and right, centre dialogue and stereo rear channels, plus dedicated super woofer.
NexTView is an extremely comprehensive Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) which gives viewers a complete overview of available TV programmes in a simple, easy-to-follow format.
NICAM is the acronym for Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex. This simply means that the sound that you hear is broadcast in digital stereo.
American and Japanese Television picture format. Any TV with this capability can receive NTSC signals from a DVD.
Optical Audio Terminal
Enables digital audio signals to be sent from digital sources such as DVD and laser disc players to digital play-back equipment such as Dolby Digital TVs, via a fibre-optic connection.
Used to carry digital sound from a DVD Player to an AV Amplifier. Can also be used to connect a CD Player or Minidisc Player to an Amplifier.
Optical Digital Out
This allows a very high connection to another digital device such as a CD/Minidisc Recorder or Digital-capable Amplifier.
On Screen Display - graphic displays which appear on the TV screen to guide you through the various settings and controls.
TV broadcast system used in the UK and many other countries.
Allows parents to "lock" out certain content so that children cannot see unsuitable channels - commonly uses a PIN number system for access to locked channels.
Pulse Code Modulation. This is the uncompressed format used by a CD Player and provides sonically superior performance to any compressed format such as MP3.
Personal Digital Assistant. Term used to describe any small, electronic organiser.
Peak Power Output
The maximum power output of a hi-fi system/amplifier can achieve, lasting only for a short period of time (i.e. a peak) - see also RMS and Watts per channel.
Used to send analogue sound from one component to another.
Picture in Picture
Facility on TVs to view more than one channel within smaller windows on the TV, can also be used to display picture and text where indicated.
Picture Element. A point of light that forms part of a video or photographic image.
Technology that uses electrical impulses that react with gases contained to produce pixels. Plasma televisions are in demand due to their light weight and positioning flexibility as opposed to traditional CRT television sets.
Plug and Play
Generic term for any equipment that is easy to set up and use.
The CPU processor is the heart of a computing device performing all the data operations. Processors are commonly rated in MHz or GHz, a measurement that refers to their speed - the higher the MHz/GHz the faster the speed.
An advanced method of viewing video images that provides better quality than traditional interlaced images.
Random Access Memory - this is the working memory used by a computer to process data.
Applies to CD Players. The disc can be set to play tracks in a random order or to repeat one track or all tracks.
Radio Data System. Enables digital display of Radio network information on FM stations including radio station titles. Also allows user to program unit to interrupt with news and traffic bulletins.
The standard coding for DVD recordings sold in the UK, US manufactured discs are coded Region 1 meaning to view UK and US discs a DVD Player must be adapted to be multi-regional.
Memory cards that are used to store data and files. These include, Compact Flash, Smart Media, Memory Stick and SD.
Transmission system that splits the Red, Green and Blue signal to provide a clearer and more defined picture.
Root Mean Square - commonly used when measuring the power output of a Hi-Fi system, the RMS figure gives a realistic indication of the systems power output.
Carries picture signals only from a component to a TV. S-Video is superior to SCART or composite connection but inferior to component or RGB SCART connection. Carries picture only so a separate connection must be used for audio signals.
Super Audio Compact Disc - a higher quality CD format giving improved sound quality.
Indicates the speed a digital Recorder or Player samples a signal.
Used to navigate from one destination to another by using GPS satellite signals.
A SCART cable carries the video, audio and system control signals, to and from the VCR, TV, Games Console or other equipment.
TV broadcast system used in France and some other countries. Only multi-standard TVs can receive these signals in the UK - normal UK TVs can only receive PAL signals.
Function that allows the unit to turn itself off after a set period of time. Usually applies to TVs and Hi-Fi.
Personal viewing card supplied and activated by the digital broadcaster that when inserted into a Decoder Box or idTV TV allows access to digital programming.
Used for the reproduction of low sound frequencies, typically from 20Hz to 200Hz. Whether in the car or at home, the subwoofer is critical for filling out the "low end" of the audible spectrum, as well as ground pounding bass.
Super Video Graphics Array. A display resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.
Used on DVD-RAM recordable discs to enable watching the start of a programme before the recording has finished.
A Tri-Band phone is capable of being used in a large part of the world - not only the UK but also most of Europe, It can connect to GSM 900 / GSM 1800 & GSM 1900 networks.
Part of a loudspeaker or separate speaker that reproduces treble sounds.
Two disc trays allowing any combination of DVD, CD or Video CD to be placed in the player at one time.
A fast and easy way of setting up the video to record a TV programme. Simply type in the number next to the programme in the TV guide and the rest is done for you. Video Plus deluxe brings together Video Plus and Satellite control - allowing easy Video Plus recording of satellite channels once initial set-up has been completed.
System used on TVs to produce a surround sound without the use of additional speakers.
Watts per Channel
This is a measure of the power output of a system or loudspeaker. It can be quoted in a number of ways - see also RMS and Peak Power Output.
Standard used for wireless computer networking.
Provides a picture close to that you would see in the cinema. The Widescreen shape (16:9) allows a greater picture size to that of traditional (4:3) television when displaying modern films or DVDs. Many digital channels now broadcast only in Widescreen format.
Extended Graphics Array. A display resolution of 1,024x768 pixels.