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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

OAR - Original Aspect Ratio. The aspect ratio in which the source material was originally produced.

Ohm - The measure of resistance to the flow of electricity.

OLED - Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, a major enhancement in televisions over standard LEDs. Standard LED TVs use clusters of LEDs as a backlight behind an LCD display. OLEDs allow each pixel to be individually turned on or off. The advantages include the ability to achieve true black by turning pixels completely off rather than filtering the light. OLEDs also allow for exceptionally thin televisions because the organic layer of LEDs can be created in a very thin sheet.

Optical Output - A digital audio jack to connect, most commonly, a DVD player to a Home Theater receiver. Also called Toslink.

OTA - Over the air. Television signals that arrive through the air and are picked up by an aerial antenna are called OTA signals.

Overscan - Television manufacturers enlarge the picture so that it goes outside the boundaries of the viewable screen. As much as 20% of the picture may be lost due to overscan. The reason manufacturers deliberately waste some of the picture is to hide distortion and other imperfections in the edge of the image. On some RPTVs the amount of horizontal or vertical overscan can be adjusted.

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