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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

Rainbow Effect - A visual artifact associated with single-chip DLP based televisions. It results from the use of a color wheel to project colors in a sequential rather than continuous manner. Not all viewers can see the effect and even fewer are bothered by it.

RCA Cables - Cable with RCA connectors are often called RCA cables. However, composite cables would be the more correct term, because that is what is usually being referred to when this term is used; and there are other cables that use RCA connectors.

RCA Jacks - The female receptacles for an RCA plug. RCA jacks are a common connector type for audio and video cables.

RCE - Region Code Enhancement. See Regional Coding.

Real-Time Counter - Instead of an arbitrary counter, a counter that indicates the actual number of hours, minutes and seconds played or remaining on a VCR, DVD or DVR.

Receiver - In home audio, an integrated amplifier which includes an AM/FM tuner. Receivers take audio signals from components such as a CD player, tape deck and phonograph, amplify it and output it to the speakers. An A/V receiver is designed to also accept video inputs, such as from a DVD player, cable box and VCR, and output the signal to a television. In most cases the video signal is not processed but simply passed through to the TV. A/V receivers, in most cases, also have Dolby and DTS decoders to play multi-channel audio.

Regional Coding - A method by which DVD playback is restricted by geographic region. The DVD regions are defined as: Region 1 (United States of America, Canada); Region 2 (Europe, including France, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Arabia, South Africa); Region 3 (Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, Indonesia); Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Caribbean, South America);  Region 5 (India, Africa, Russia and former USSR countries); and Region 6 (Peoples Republic of China).

Resolution - The measurement of a display device's capability to display discrete details, such as pixels or lines. For instance many LCD televisions have a vertical resolution of 720 pixels and a horizontal resolution of 1280 pixels.

RF Input, jack or connector - Radio Frequency Input. Refers to the coaxial cable input on a TV, VCR, satellite or cable box for the signal from the antenna or cable provider.

RFI - Radio Frequency Interference.

RGB - A video signal comprised by the three colors red, green and blue and carried on three separate wires.

RMS - Root Mean Square. The square root of the sum of the squares of a set of values divided by the total number of values. A common measurement of average power output in audio amplifiers.

RPTV - Rear Projection Television. RPTVs include CRT, LCD, LCoS an DLP technologies. In each case the image is formed by reflecting it onto the screen from the rear. CRT based RPTVs have been around the longest and are physically the largest. The other technologies have enabled the creation of the smaller "microdisplay", which can be placed on a tabletop.

R-Y - Component video is comprised by three signals. One signal is luminance which is signified by "Y". The second signal is blue, represented by "B" and finally red, represented by "R". To extract the proper signal, luminance is subtracted from the red signal, thus "R - Y". Depending upon equipment and cables, this may also be labeled as "Cr" or "Pr".

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