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Glossary of Home Theater Terminology

Glossary of Audio, Video and Home Theater Terms

There is a very large vocabulary of technical and descriptive terms that go with home theater. We've included the terms that you are most likely to encounter. If you are very technically involved you may find some of the more technical terms omitted from our list.

Click on a letter to jump to that section of our glossary.
# - 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

1080i - 1080 interlaced. One of the formats used in high-definition television (HDTV). It indicates the number of vertical pixels displayed. The format is 1,920 pixels wide by 1,080 pixels tall, which represents the 16:9 aspect ratio of widescreen television. Interlaced pictures are drawn in two passes instead of one pass from top to bottom. See also 720p.

1080p - 1080 progressive. Similar to 1080i except that the screen is drawn in a single scan, instead of two scans as with interlaced.

16:9 Aspect Ratio - Pronounced 16 by 9. Widescreen format that corresponds to high definition broadcasts and closely corresponds to the widescreen format movies on DVD.

24/96 PCM - Pulse code modulation is a technology used in various digital audio formats such as CD and DAT. The first number indicates the bit resolution and the second indicates kilohertz (kHz) rate sampling rate.

300 Ohm - A flat, two conductor TV antenna wire.

3-2 Pulldown - A method to convert movie film, which runs at 24 frames per second (fps), to video which runs at 30 fps. It is more accurate to call it 2-3 pulldown because of the method of inserting material to reformat the film.

4:3 Aspect Ratio - Pronounced 4 by 3. The standard, almost square screen of NTSC style televisions.

480i - 480 interlaced. Standard-definition digital television. This provides a clearer picture than is achieved with regular off-the-air (OTA) or analog cable broadcasts. This is the resolution a DVD will display on an NTSC analog television.

480p - 480 progressive. Standard-definition digital television. This provides a clearer picture than is achieved with regular off-the-air (OTA) or analog cable broadcasts. This is the native resolution for DVD's and will be displayed with a properly connected progressive scan DVD player to an ED or HD television. This format is also known as Enhanced-Definition (EDTV).

4DTV - A television subscription service for C-Band satellite systems. C-Band systems use a very large dish antenna to receive signals from the same satellites used by the networks and cable companies.

5.1 Channel Surround Sound - Multichannel sound technology that features 5 channels of sound to the left, right, center, left surround and right surround and 1 channel for "low frequency effects" (LFE) typically fed to a subwoofer.

6.1 Channel Surround Sound - Multichannel sound technology that features 6 channels of sound to the left, right, center, left surround, right surround, rear center and 1 channel for "low frequency effects" (LFE) typically fed to a subwoofer.

7.1 Channel Surround Sound - Multichannel sound technology that features 7 channels of sound to the left, right, center, left surround, right surround, left rear, right rear and 1 channel for "low frequency effects" (LFE) typically fed to a subwoofer.

720p - 720 progressive. One of the formats used in high-definition television (HDTV). It indicates the number of vertical pixels displayed. The format is 720 vertical pixels by 1,280 horizontal pixels which represents the 16:9 aspect ratio of widescreen television. Progressive scan pictures are drawn in one pass, line by line, instead of two passes as in an interlaced picture. See also 1080i .

75-Ohm - A round cable roughly 1/4" in diameter, also called coaxial. It is commonly used for antenna, satellite and cable connections. It provides the lowest quality connection and should be used only for bringing antenna, satellite and cable signals into your home. RG6, RG11 and RG59 are all types of coaxial cable.

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