Digital Nerd

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A guide to Home Entertainment Acronymns

Another list for newcomers.

5.1-channel surround sound
A movie recording technique that, when paired with a 5.1-channel home theater surround speaker system, surrounds the viewer with sounds from five different speakers for full-range sound, and one speaker for low-frequency effects.

6.1-channel surround sound
A movie recording technique that, when paired with a 6.1-channel home theater surround speaker system, surrounds the viewer with sounds from six different speakers for full-range sound, including an extra speaker behind the viewer and one speaker for low-frequency effects.

CD (compact disc)
A plastic-coated, metalized disc that stores digitally encoded music for high-quality playback when read by a laser beam in a CD player.

CD-R (compact disc-recordable)
Recordable CDs that can be written to (i.e., recorded on) once and played like a regular CD in almost all home, car and portable players, as well as computer CD drives. When a CD-R has been recorded and finalized it can't be recorded on again.

CD-RW (compact disc-rewritable)
Rewritable CDs that can be written to (i.e., recorded on) repeatedly and played like a regular CD in almost all home, car and portable players, as well as computer CD drives. A CD-RW can be erased and recorded on up to 1,000 times.

CD-ROM (compact disc, read-only memory)
A standard CD used to store digital data files (e.g., large software programs) that can be read by a computer.

DLP (digital light processing)
Video projection technology based on microscopic mirrors that reflect light. DLP technology is often used in front-projection and rear-projection TVs with large screens.

Dolby® Digital EX
Encoding technology with a sixth channel of sound (the original Dolby Digital format has up to 5.1 channels) to deliver 6.1-channel sound through a speaker or speakers located behind the viewer.

DSS (direct satellite system)
Broadcast receiving system that uses a small satellite antenna (or "dish") and an integrated signal receiver. These systems can deliver high-quality audio and video, including high-definition TV signals.

DSP (digital signal processing)
In home entertainment amplifiers and receivers, DSP is commonly used to add various reverberation and echo effects, with names like Room, Theater, Hall, Jazz, etc.

DTS (digital theater system)
Another type of 5.1 surround sound used for many DVD movie and game soundtracks, as well as some multichannel music CDs. Most of today's home theater systems have built-in DTS.

DTS-ES
Newer 6.1 surround sound format used for some DVDs and CDs. This format adds a rear center channel to the 5.1 configuration to provide six distinct areas of full-range sound and one speaker for low-frequency impact.

DTV (digital television)
TV signals are digital (rather than analog) from production to transmission to reception. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated all US TV stations convert from the analog broadcasting standard to DTV broadcasting.

DVD
A digital video disc (or digital versatile disc) that looks like a CD but contains high-quality video and multichannel audio for movies. A DVD can contain up to eight soundtracks or different language versions of a movie.

FPTV (front-projection television)
FPTVs have two separate main components—the projector and the screen—with the projector often bracketed to the ceiling in a home theater setup. Screens can be relatively large, commonly 10-20' wide. Various projectors are available, including DLP and LCD models.

HDTV (high-definition television)
A digital television format that delivers sharper picture quality with approximately twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of standard TVs.

Hz (hertz)
A standard unit of frequency, equivalent to one cycle per second.

IR (infrared)
Pertains to a type of remote control that sends/receives commands on an infrared light beam.

LCD (liquid crystal display)
A display with a liquid crystal surface sandwiched between two transparent panels. LCD television displays and projectors are energy efficient and produce colorful, sharp images—but can't generate true black.

LFE (low-frequency effects)
Refers to the deep, rumbling effects that represent the .1 of 5.1- or 6.1-channel surround sound. LFE make explosions and other room-shaking movie scenes more realistic.

MP3
A compression format for digital files that makes digital music files small enough to be shared over the Internet, without radically degrading audio quality (if the amount of compression chosen is not excessive). This compressed audio format also allows you to record many hours of music on a single CD.

RCA connector
Common audio connector found in home entertainment systems that passes line-level audio signals between components.

RF (radio frequencies)
Periodic electrical signals transmitted through air or space.

RPTV (rear-projection television)
"Big box" TV system with self-contained rear-projector device allowing for larger picture sizes. RPTVs generally have screens greater than 40" wide. The integrated projector can be of various types, including LCD and DLP.

S-video inputs/outputs
A connection system used to pass the S-video signals that generally provide better picture quality than standard composite video signals.

XLR connector
A three-pin connector commonly used to carry balanced audio signals.

Y cord
An adapter that splits one signal source into two identical channels. It won't provide stereo sound, but delivers the same signal into each channel.

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