Glossary of Television Terms

Television (TV) has come a long way since its inception. With new technology and ever-changing programs, it can be difficult to keep up with the lingo used by those in the industry. Here is a glossary of terms to help you out.

The terms are arranged in alphabetical order from A-Z, and they include numbers (#) that are commonly used on TVs.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Table of Contents

#


4:3: Standard definition aspect ratio for the traditional TV screen. Most older TVs and some current TV broadcasts are in 4:3.

16:9: High definition aspect ratio. This is the ratio for HDTVs and most current TV broadcasts.

720p/1080i/1080p: The number following “p” or “i” denotes the number of horizontal lines that make up the image, which is displayed progressively (p) or interlaced (i). The letter “p” (progressive) indicates that all the lines are drawn in sequence. The letter “i” (interlaced) means that every other line is drawn first, then the remaining lines.

8K: 8K is a type of Ultra HDTV that has a resolution of 7680×4320.

4K: 4K is a type of Ultra HDTV that has a resolution of 3840×2160.

A


Active format description (AFD): A code that can be inserted into an HDTV signal that tells the TV what kind of display should be used. This is important because not all TVs are created equal, and some displays show certain types of content better than others.

Aspect ratio: The ratio of the width to the height of a TV screen or image. The most common aspect ratios are 4:3 (the traditional television screen) and 16:9 (widescreen).

ATSC: The Advanced Television Standards Committee is the group that created the digital television standard used in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea.

Analog: Analog television is the traditional type of television that has been used since the early days of broadcast TV. Analog signals are continuous waves that carry the video and audio information.

Audio Return Channel (ARC): An HDMI feature that allows the TV to send audio back to a soundbar or AV receiver. This can simplify your home theater setup by eliminating the need for a separate audio cable.

Advertainment: A portmanteau of “advertisement” and “entertainment,” advertainment is a type of marketing that seeks to engage the viewer while also delivering a sales message. This can take the form of a TV show or movie that has product placement, or it can be a more overt form of advertising such as an infomercial masquerading as a game show.

B


Blanking interval: The period of time when the electron beam in a CRT television is turned off. This allows the beam to return to the top of the screen without drawing a picture. This period is also known as the horizontal blanking interval.

Broadcast: Broadcast television is television that is transmitted over the airwaves by a broadcast station.

Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be moved from one point to another in a given amount of time. Bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).

Bitstream: A digital representation of an analog signal.

Blu-ray: Blu-ray is a high-definition optical disc format that can store up to 25GB of data on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc.

Broadband: A high-speed Internet connection. Broadband connections are typically faster than dial-up connections.

C


Channel: A channel is a specific frequency range that is used to carry a television signal.

Composite Video

Composite video is a type of video signal that uses one cable to carry the video information. The video signal is combined with the audio signal and sent over a single cable.

Compression: Compression is the process of reducing the size of a digital file. This is done by removing redundant information or by using algorithms to reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored.

CRT: A cathode ray tube (CRT) is a type of display that uses an electron beam to create the image. CRT TVs were the standard for many years, but they have been replaced by LCD and Plasma displays.

Cable television: Cable TV is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via cable instead of over the air or via satellite.

Closed captioning: Closed captioning is a text version of the dialog and sound effects that is displayed on the screen along with the video.

Component video: Component video is a type of analog video signal that uses three separate cables to carry the color information (red, green, and blue) from the source to the TV.

D


DVR: A digital video recorder (DVR) is a device that records video onto a hard drive or other storage device. DVRs allow you to record TV shows and watch them at your convenience.

Display: A display is a device that shows the video signal. Displays come in many different types, including CRT, LCD, Plasma, and OLED.

Digital TV: Digital television is a type of television that uses digital signals to carry the video and audio information. Digital signals are discrete, meaning they are either on or off.

Digital rights management (DRM): Digital rights management (DRM) is a type of technology that is used to protect digital content. DRM technology can be used to prevent unauthorized copying or distribution of digital content.

Downconversion: Downconversion is the process of converting a high-definition signal to a standard-definition signal. This is often done so that the signal can be displayed on a standard-definition TV.

DTV: Digital television (DTV) is a type of television that uses digital signals to carry the video and audio information. DTV signals are typically transmitted over the airwaves or through a cable or satellite network.

Digital Rights Management (DRM): Digital rights management is a technology that is used to protect digital content from unauthorized use.

Display device: A display device is a piece of equipment that is used to display video and other information.

E


Electronic program guide (EPG): An electronic program guide is a software application that provides schedules for TV programs.

Eco-friendly: A term used to describe products that are designed to have a minimal impact on the environment. This can include everything from the use of recycled materials to energy-efficient features.

Editing: The process of selecting, arranging, and altering film or video images.

Educational programming: Television shows that are designed to teach viewers about a particular subject.

Entertainment programming: Television shows that are designed to entertain viewers, typically

Emmy Awards: An annual award ceremony that recognizes excellence in the television industry.

Extended play: A type of recording that is shorter than a standard LP but longer than a single.

Entertainment Tonight: A popular entertainment news program that airs on the CBS television network.

Ebru TV: A Kenyan television network that focuses on Breaking news, Entertainment news, Sports news, Election news, and International news. Ebru is a subsidiary of Samanyolu Broadcasting Company, an international media business with headquarters in the United States and operations in Germany, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. It was founded in Kenya in 2006.

F


FTA: FTA is a type of television service that is delivered free-to-air without a subscription.

FCC: The Federal Communications Commission is a government agency that regulates the broadcasting industry in the United States.

Frame: One of the many still images that make up a video signal. These images are displayed in rapid succession to create the illusion of motion.

G


G-rated: A type of content rating that indicates the material is suitable for all audiences.

Gossip Girl: A teen drama television series that aired on the CW from 2007 to 2012.

Gray’s Anatomy: A medical drama television series that has aired on ABC since 2005.

Gilmore Girls: A comedy-drama television series that aired on The WB from 2000 to 2007.

H


High-definition television (HDTV): A digital television that has a resolution that is significantly higher than that of standard-definition television. HDTVs can display high-definition content, which is often found on Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs.

HDMI: HDMI is a type of interface that is used to connect digital devices. HDMI can be used to carry audio and video signals.

High-definition (HD): High-definition (HD) television is a type of television that has a higher resolution than standard-definition TV. HDTV signals are typically transmitted over the airwaves or through a cable or satellite network.

HbbTV: HbbTV is a type of television service that combines broadcast and on-demand TV with Internet-based services.

HDR: HDR is a type of video that has a higher dynamic range than standard video.

Hotel Mode: The Hotel Mode function is a feature available on Samsung CRT TVs that allows the guest to alter the settings of the TV once the Hotel administrator has fixed it. This function supports two modes – Administrator mode and Guest mode. In Administrator mode, the TV will function as a normal TV. In Guest mode, the TV will be locked to certain preset settings that the Hotel administrator has chosen.

I


Interlaced: Interlaced video is a type of video signal that uses two fields to create a single frame. The first field contains the odd-numbered lines, and the second field contains the even-numbered lines.

IPTV: IPTV is a type of television that uses the Internet Protocol to deliver TV programming.

Interference pattern: A type of zigzag line that can be seen on a television screen when two signals are mixed.

J


Jaggies: The stair-step appearance of diagonal lines and borders in a television image, is caused by the limited resolution of the screen.

Just noticeable difference: The smallest change in a stimulus that can be detected 50% of the time.

Jitter: The unwanted deviation in the timing of a signal.
Jump: A sudden change from one picture to another.

K


Kinescope: A device that captures a live image on a television screen.

Kill switch: A device that turns off a television set when the signal is lost.

Knob: A control on a television set that is used to adjust the settings.

Kernel: The part of a television picture that contains the actual image information.

Keystone: A distortion of the image that occurs when the television set is not perpendicular to the screen.

L


LCD: LCD is a type of display device that uses liquid crystal display technology.

LED: LED is a type of display device that uses light-emitting diode technology.

Luma: The brightness of a television image or video.

Lines: The thin, colored lines that make up a television image.

Lateral: The sides of a television picture.

M


Mirroring: The process of reflecting an image or audio signal in order to create a stereo effect.

Mosaic: A type of interference pattern that is often used in television screens to create the illusion of a larger image.

Motion smoothing: a technique used to reduce the amount of motion blur in an image.

Mosaicking: the process of piecing together a series of smaller images to form a larger image.

N


Netflix: A streaming service that offers movies, TV shows, and documentaries. It is one of the most popular streaming services, with over 151.5 million subscribers as of 2019. Netflix had approximately 220.67 million paid subscribers worldwide as of the second quarter of 2022.

Nation Media Group: A leading media company in East and Central Africa with operations in television, radio, print and digital. Its flagship brands include the Nation newspaper, NTV Kenya, QTV, Easy FM and Radio Jambo. of on-demand service

O


OTT: OTT is a type of television service that is delivered over the Internet without a subscription.

OLED: OLED is a type of display device that uses organic light-emitting diode technology.

Oscilloscope: A device used to measure and display the waveforms of electrical signals.

Over-the-air antenna: A type of antenna that picks up broadcast signals from over-the-air sources such as TV and radio stations.

Optical scanning: The technique used by televisions and computer monitors to produce images by moving a beam of light across the screen.

P


Pay-per-view (PPV): PPV is a type of service that allows users to purchase and view TV programs on demand.

PVR: A PVR is a type of device that is used to record and playback TV programs.

PAL: Phase Alternating Line, a television standard that is used in many parts of the world

PDP: Plasma Display Panel, a type of display that uses gas to create images

PIP: Picture-in-Picture, a feature that allows you to see multiple images on a single screen

Q


QLED: QLED is a type of display device that uses quantum dot technology.

Quantization: The process of dividing a continuous signal into discrete, measurable units.

Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM): A type of modulation that encodes digital data by modulating two carrier signals with different amplitudes and frequencies.

QAM64: A type of digital modulation that uses 64 discrete phases.

R


RF: RF is a type of modulation that is used to encode analog information on a carrier wave.

Reflection: The bouncing of a signal off a surface.

Resolution: The clarity of an image on a screen.

Redundancy: The repetition of data in order to ensure accuracy.

S


Standard-definition television (SDTV): A digital television that has a resolution that is lower than that of high-definition television. SDTVs are the most common type of television, and most content is still broadcast in standard definition.

Streaming: Streaming is a type of media delivery that allows users to watch video and listen to audio in real time without downloading the entire file first.

Satellite television: Satellite TV is a type of television that uses satellites to deliver TV programming.

SDTV: SDTV is a type of digital television that uses standard-definition signals.

Set-top box: A set-top box is a device that is used to receive and decode television signals.

Smart TV: A smart TV is a type of television that has built-in Internet and networking capabilities.

Solid-state drive (SSD): An SSD is a type of storage device that uses flash memory to store data.

T


Top-of-the-line: The most expensive and highest quality television on the market.
Tuner: A device in a television that allows it to receive signals from a cable or satellite provider.
TV: An abbreviation for “television.”

Tint: A type of interference pattern that can be seen on a television screen when two signals are mixed. It is caused by the difference in the phase of the two signals.
Trailing edge: The edge of a television image that is trailing, or appears to be moving backwards.
Trembling lines: A type of interference pattern that can be seen on a television screen when two signals are mixed. It is caused by the difference in the amplitude of the two signals.

U


USB: USB is a type of interface that is used to connect devices to computers.

Ultra HDTV: Ultra HDTV is a type of television that uses ultra-high-definition signals.

Ultraviolet radiation: Electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light.

Uniformity: The degree to which the various parts of an image are equally bright or dark.

V


Video on demand (VoD): VoD is a type of service that allows users to purchase and view TV programs on demand.

Video game console: A video game console is a type of computer that is designed to play video games.

VESA: VESA is a type of mount that is used to attach a monitor or TV to a stand or wall.

W


Widescreen: Widescreen is a type of aspect ratio that is wider than the standard 4:3 aspect ratio.

Warping: The distortion of an image on a television screen that is caused by the interference patterns created when two signals are mixed.
White level: The level of brightness on a television screen that is set to black.
Widescreen: A type of television screen that is wider than it is high.

White balance: A setting on a television that adjusts the colors so that they appear white.

X


X-axis: The first axis in three-dimensional space, perpendicular to the y and z axes.
X-ray: A type of radiation that can be used to see through objects.
X-ray vision: The ability to see through objects using x-rays.

Y


Youview: Youview is a type of television service that combines live, on-demand, and catch-up TV with Internet-based services.

YCrCb: A color encoding system used in NTSC television signals.

Z


Zapping: The act of quickly changing the channel on a television.

Zoom: The act of making an image on a television screen appear larger or smaller.

Zipper noise: The sound heard when changing channels on a television

Zone: a specific area on a television screen where an image or advertisement is placed

Z-axis: The third axis in three-dimensional space, perpendicular to the x and y axes.
Zigzag lines: A type of interference pattern that can be seen on a television screen when two signals are mixed.

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