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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

Macrovision - Copy protection scheme used to protect DVDs and videotapes from illegal duplication.

Matrix Decoding - A method of combining audio signals into fewer channels for the purpose of compression. When the matrixed signal reaches the processor, it is decoded and restored or enhanced into multichannel sound, such as surround sound.

Mbps or mb/s - Megabits per second. A measure of the volume of data transmission or processing.

MHz - Megahertz. 1 MHz is equal to one million hertz (Hz) or one thousand kilohertz (kHz). A measurement of signal bandwidth or processing speed.

Moire - A circular pattern that appears in video when straight lines appear close together. The lines tend to converge and split apart as they are drawn. The effect has to do with the nature of the television display and the relationship of the position of the rendered line and the scan line.

Monaural or Mono - Monophonic sound. A method of recording or reproducing sound in which all sound is blended into a single channel.

Monitor - The term is most accurately applied to video or television monitor that has no tuner. In such a case, a monitor must have some source device connected to it in order to display anything. The is sometimes applied, less accurately, to a television that has inputs for devices such as VCR or DVD player.

MP3 - A compressed audio format commonly used for music downloaded from the internet or for music stored on memory-based audio players.

MPAA - Motion Picture Association of America. The organization responsible for assigning film ratings. G = General audience; PG = Parental guidance suggested; PG-13 = Parents strongly cautioned; R = Restricted, accompanying adult required; NC-17 = No one 17 and under admitted; X = No one 17 and under admitted.

MPEG-2 - Motion Picture Experts Group technical standard 2. A video compression standard used in digital broadcasts and other digital media such as DVDs. It reduces the amount of data transmission by not having to retransmit data identified as not having changed from the previous frame.

MTS - Multichannel TV Sound. The stereo audio signal broadcast with television transmissions.

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