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Glossary of Audio/Video Terms

Analog Audio -
Attempting to capture the original sound in its entirety and then reproducing the original sound in its entirety. Analog audio has the risk of also reproducing and possibly amplifying noise or distortion. Digital audio is replacing this technology.

Analog Video -
Attempting to capture the original video in its entirety and then reproducing the original video in its entirety. Analog video has the risk of also reproducing and possibly amplifying noise or distortion. Digital video is replacing this technology.

Audio Video Receiver (A/V Receiver) -
A receiver, amplifier, audio and video switcher in one unit encompassing sound decoding with processing allowing for surround sound and multi-channel distribution.

AWG - (American Wire Gauge) -
Accepted standard of measure for the diameter of wire or cable. A smaller number gauge represents a larger diameter. e.g. 12 AWG wire is a larger diameter wire than 14 AWG wire.

Baseband Signal -
Primarily a video only signal, transmitting raw video without frequency shifting, multiplexing, or frequency modulation. Imagine the video signal being pushed down the coaxial cable line at a very low frequency (5 MHz). Baseband signaling is used for CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) and for some home automation products.

Braid -
A shield used around wire or cable to prevent interference caused by Radio Frequency Noise or Interference. Most cable shields are small diameter woven strands of copper or aluminum.

Broadband Signal -
A video and audio signal multiplexed/frequency shifted to a higher frequency in the 54 MHz to 890 MHz range for cable TV and up to 2.2 GHz for the mini dish satellite. This is the common method for video transmission by cable TV and DSS satellite.

CCTV -
Closed Circuit Television, a platform used for security cameras and monitors, which operates on baseband signal. CCTV is very popular in the security community.

Chrominance -
The portion of the video signal carrying the color.

Coaxial Cable -
A cable with two conductors that basically are parallel with a common axis used to control impedance in low voltage cables. Consisting of a center conductor, dielectric, foil, braid, and outer jacket.

Coaxial "F" Connector -
When audio and video are transmitted on the same coaxial cable, used to connect a TV to cable, satellite, antenna or VCR.

Component Video -
When a video signal is separately transmitted in three component colors of red, green, and blue. Provides superior detail, true color, and high resolution.

Composite Video -
A video signal transmission where the chrominance (color) and luminance (brightness) are transmitted as one signal and are not separated. The transmission is along one coaxial cable with RCA connectors at each end.

C.S.A. -
Canadian Standards Association, The Canadaís Equivalent to UL.

Datacom Accessories -
Wall Plates, Inserts, Jacks, and Wiring use to connect computers and peripheral devices (printers) together.

Decibel (dB) -
Accepted unit of measure to express amplitude or power difference. A common measure for sound and also used often in measuring effectiveness of amplifiers.

Dielectric -
A non-conductive material used to insulate around a cable conductor that helps to retain charge.

Digital Audio -
The recreation of sound by high-speed digital sampling. Analog signals are converted to a chain of 0's and 1's allowing for sophisticated decoding and encoding and electronic manipulation. The risk of reproducing and possibly amplifying noise or distortion is minimized.

Digital Audio Cable -
Allows for Digital Audio multiple channels to be transmitted through one cable. This cable is the purest quality transmission of Digital Audio Signal.

Digital Optical Fiber Cable -
Sends a Digital Audio multiple channels by using a light transmission and therefore is virtually noise and distortion resistant.

Digital Video -
The recreation of video by high speed digital sampling. Analog signals are converted to a chain of 0's and 1's allowing for sophisticated decoding and encoding and electronic manipulation. The risk of reproducing and possibly amplifying noise or distortion is minimized.

Diplexer (non-amplified) -
A device used to combine antenna and satellite signals, which operate at different frequencies, into a signal, which can travel through one cable. A non-amplified diplexer is used at the antenna and satellite dish location when the antenna is not amplified. A non-amplified diplexer is always used at the satellite receiver location to separate signals and distribute to TVs.

Diplexer (amplified) -
A device used to combine an amplified antenna and satellite signals, which operate at different frequencies, into a signal, which can travel through one cable. An amplified diplexer is used at the antenna and satellite dish location only when the antenna is amplified. A non-amplified diplexer is always used at the satellite receiver location to separate signals and distribute to TVs.

Dolby® Digital Sound -
A digital sound format, which is the basis of surround sound systems. May be 5.1, which is front speakers (right and left), rear speakers (right and left), center channel speaker, and a powered subwoofer. May be a 6.1, which is front speakers (right and left), front center channel speaker, rear speakers (right and left), rear center channel speaker, and a powered subwoofer.

Dolby® Digital Pro Logic® -
The standard for Home Theater Surround Sound Systems, included in most audio/video receivers. The Pro Logic® decoder directs the movement of sound between speakers.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) -
An "always on" high speed internet connection using existing (on premises) copper telephone lines transmitting signals at a much higher speed than analog (voice). Data and voice are shared over the same copper lines simultaneously without interference.

DSL Filter -
A device used with DSL that allows the data and voice to travel over the same line simultaneously without interference, and also filters out impedance from telephone equipment. Usually required for each telephone device.

DSS -
A digital satellite infrastructure used to beam signals to home systems equipped with a mini dish and satellite receivers, with in excess of 200 channels being received.

DVD -
A digital audio/video format that combines digital video with Dolby® Sound digital audio, using a disc the same size as a CD disc.

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) -
A standard that carries uncompressed digital video signals from a digital video source (digital DVD Player) to a display device (HDTV).

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) Video Cable -
Use for connecting HDTVs, digital flat-panel displays and other video components with DVI connections to digital DVD player, or other equipment with DVI connections.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder) -
Uses large capacity hard drive and internal processing to increase recording time of television shows compared to regular VCRs. Also, has technology to program and control live broadcast.

Ethernet -
Type of Local Area Network (LAN) that connects computers, printers, and terminals together within the same building (home).

Firewire -
A IEEE 1394 digital interface cable, that is a very high speed, bi-directional serial cable that can be used with digital devices such as camcorders, computers, hard disks, and audio and video editing equipment. A newer technology and only some electronic equipment provides for this technology.

Flat-Panel TV -
A television that usually has gas plasma or LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology and is only a few inches thick.

Frequency -
Number of times per second that a signal fluctuates. The standard unit for frequency is hertz (Hz).

Ghosting -
A video interference phenomenon where the video image may appear double and the second image will be faint, thus the term "ghost."

HDMI(TM) (High Definition Multi Media Interface) -
A standard that carries uncompressed digital video and audio signals on one cable from a digital video source (digital DVD Player) to a display device (HDTV). This provides the best detail, truest color and sound, and highest resolution.

HDMI(TM) (High Definition Multi Media Interface) Audio & Video Cable -
Use for connecting HDTVs, digital flat-panel displays and other video components with HDMI(TM) connections to digital DVD player, Digital A/V receiver or other equipment with HDMI connections. This provides the best detail, truest color and sound, and highest resolution.

HDTV (High Definition Television) -
A television that offers the HDTV technology - the highest resolution of all digital television formats. 1080i and 720p are the common HDTV formats.

HDTV Converter Box -
Converts video signal (either analog cable, digital cable or HDTV) for display on a television. HDTV-Ready (without built-in HDTV tuner) televisions must be connected to a compatible HDTV tuner set-top box to receive digital television programs.

HDTV-Ready -
A television that has the technology to display either high definition formats (720p, 1080i) but does not have the required tuner/converter box to receive digital signals.

Hertz -
One cycle per second, kilohertz equals 1000 cycles per second, the accepted measure of frequency.

High Definition -
A video format consisting of either 720 active lines of progressive video or 1080 active lines of either progressive or interlaced video. Offers the highest-resolution format.

Home Networking -
Connection computers, scanners, and printers together in a home or small business office.

IDC (Insulation Displacement Connection) -
A connection where the wire is terminated by ìpunching downî the wire into a metal holder which cuts into the insulation wire and makes contact with the conductor. Thus, the contact causes an electrical connection to be made.

Impedance -
Measured in ohms, the amount of resistance to the flow of current.

Interlaced Scanning -
Picture display process that shows every odd line at one scan of the screen and then shows all the even lines on the second scan. Since there are 30 frames per second, this can make large screens flicker.

LAN (Local Area Network) -
A short-range network (within a home or building) that connects computers and peripheral devices (printers) together.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) -
A display that is made of two polarizing transparent panels and a liquid crystal solution that is between the two panels. As an electric current passes through the liquid, the crystals align so that light cannot pass through them. The crystals act like a shutter, either letting the light through or blocking it. The design of the transparent and dark crystals form the image.

Luminance -
The portion of the video signal carrying brightness.

OFC -
Oxygen Free Copper wire used in high quality cable and wire. The oxygen content and impurities are removed during the manufacturing process, resulting in less signal distortion.

Pixel -
The smallest piece of data in a video image. The smaller the pixel size in an image, the greater the resolution.

Plasma Displays (PDP) -
A display that is made of thousands of tiny tubes filled with ionized gas in a plasma state.

Progressive Scanning -
Picture display process that shows 720 or 1080 horizontal lines scanned in succession in a vertical frame and then repeated 30 times in a second. This displays a rather smooth picture.

Powered Subwoofer -
A speaker designed to reproduce a range of very low frequencies only. A stand-alone component powered by a built in amplifier.

Punch Down Tool -
Tool used to terminate Category Wire to a 110 Category Jack.

Resolution -
The density of lines and dots per line, which make up a visual image. The number of pixels measures resolution. The more lines and dots means a sharper and more detailed picture. Regular TV has about 200,000 pixels, While, HDTV (1080 vertical pixels and 1920 horizontal pixels) has more then 2 million pixels creating the image.

RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) -
Interference caused by CB radios, radio stations, microwave ovens, power lines, cellular phones, etc. which can cause noise and distortion affecting sound and audio quality for audio/video components.

RF Modulator (Radio Frequency Modulator) -
Primarily used to convert the composite video output from a DVD to a radio frequency operating on Channel 3 or 4. The output from the RF Modulator is an ìFî connector.

RG/U -
A standard used for referencing coaxial cables, such as RG6/U or RG59/U, RG is a military standard for Radio Guide.

RG59/U Cable -

  • Use for very basic video applications
  • Connects 75 Ohm coaxial output from antenna, cable, VCR, splitter, etc. to 75 Ohm coaxial input of TV, VCR, etc.
  • 20 AWG solid center conductor
  • Sole advantage is price

RG6/U Cable -

  • Required for all satellite systems
  • Required for all digital broadband systems
  • Ideal for connecting video components, DSS, digital satellite receivers, TV, VCR, cable boxes, antenna systems
  • 18 AWG center conductor results in less signal loss and allows higher frequency
  • Heavy duty maximum shielding with bonded aluminum foil
  • Copper clad steel center for better signal path and also superior pull strength
  • Important market trends - 90% of new home construction uses RG6/U premium broadband cable
  • Future proofs your home

Satellite Multi-Switch -
for DSS systems, used in multiple LNB installations for reception of multiple satellite signals on a single feed line connecting to several satellite receivers.

Set-Top Box -
Converts video signal (either analog cable, digital cable or HDTV) for display on a television. HDTV- Ready (without built-in HDTV tuner) televisions must be connected to a compatible HDTV tuner set-top box to receive digital television programs.

Signal to Noise Ratio -
A measure that describes how ìcleanî a signal is. Measures the strength of an audio or video signal versus the noise and interference. This measure is in dB.

S-Video -
Separates and transmits chrominance (color) and luminance (brightness) providing a superior picture quality.

Speaker Cable -
A two lead cable with wires that carry amplified audio signal from the audio/video receiver to the speakers. One channel is positive (+) and the other is negative (-).

Surround Speakers -
The distribution of sound resulting from digital decoding. May be 5.1, which is front speakers (right and left), rear speakers (right and left), center channel speaker, and a powered subwoofer. May be 6.1, which is front speakers (right and left), front center channel speaker, rear speakers (right and left), rear center channel speaker, and a powered subwoofer.

Sweep Test -
An electric quality test procedure performed by network analyzer test equipment measuring coaxial or network cables at various frequencies between 1 MHz and 2.6 GHz. Measurements include attenuation (electrical signal degradation), reflection (return loss), and noise (cross talk).

T568A and T568B -
Wiring standards set by the TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association). T568A wiring standards are primarily used for residential wiring unless there are other conditions.

TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) -
An association that sets the telecommunication wiring standards.

Telephone and Data Lines/Cables -

  • 4-Conductor Line - Referred to as telephone station wire, with 2 pair (four wires) having no twist. Color of the four wires are the old telephone standard - red, green, black, yellow. This wire can be used for very simple single line applications but is not recommended for multiple telephone line applications. A major problem of cross talk exists with more than one telephone line.
  • 4-Conductor - Basically, a grouping of accessories recommended for one telephone line only, but with the capability to handle up to two telephone lines.
  • 6-Conductor - Some telephone accessories are identified as 6-Conductor, and are basically a grouping of accessories with the capability to handle up to three telephone lines. 6-Conductor accessories can be used with Category 3, Category 5, Category 5e, and Category 6 network/telephone cables.
  • Category 3 Cable - A four pair (8 wires) cable with the new network cable color scheme: orange, white with orange stripes, blue, white with blue stripes, green, white with green stripes, brown, white with brown stripes, that is recommended for voice communication. The data rate is 10 Mb/s, primarily voice only, and wires are twisted every 1-1/2 inch and each wire has a 24 gauge solid copper center. The usable bandwidth of Category 3 cable is 16 MHz.
  • Category 5 Cable - A four pair (8 wires) cable with the new network cable color scheme: orange, white with orange stripes, blue, white with blue stripes, green, white with green stripes, brown, white with brown stripes, that is recommended for voice and data communication (ideal for residential wiring). The data rate is 100 Mb/s, voice and data, and wires are twisted every 1/2 - inch and each wire has a 24 gauge solid copper center. The usable bandwidth of Category 5 cable is 100 MHz and is rated for simplex data transfer.
  • Category 5e Cable - A four pair (8 wires) cable with the new network cable color scheme: orange, white with orange stripes, blue, white with blue stripes, green, white with green stripes, brown, white with brown stripes, that is recommended for voice and data communication (ideal for high demand data applications, commercial or residential wiring). The data rate is 1000 Mb/s, voice and data, and wires are twisted every 3/8-inch, and each wire has a 24 gauge solid copper center. The usable bandwidth of Category 5e cable can be as high as 250 MHz and is rated for full duplex data transfer.
  • Category 6 Cable - A four pair (8 wires) cable with the new network cable color scheme: orange, white with orange stripes, blue, white with blue stripes, green, white with green stripes, brown, white with brown stripes, that is recommended for voice and data communication (ideal for extremely high demand data applications, commercial or residential). The data rate is 1000 Mb/s, voice and data, and wires are twisted every 3/8-inch, pairs of wire have shielding and insulation, and each wire has a 23 gauge solid copper center. The usable bandwidth of Category 6 cable is 250 MHz and is rated for full duplex data transfer.

UL -
Underwriterís Laboratory, a listing service for electrical and electronic equipment.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) -
A cable easily recognized by the rectangular plugs on each end, is becoming the standard for connecting personal computers to peripheral accessories, such as keyboard, mouse, etc. This cable is rapidly replacing the old-fashioned multi-pin computer cables.

110 Style Punch Down Tool -
A special tool use to terminate Category Wire to a 110 Category Jack.

5.1 Surround Sound System -
A surround sound system that consists of front speakers (right and left), rear speakers (right and left), center channel speaker and a powered subwoofer. This is also the audio standard for digital TV and HDTV.

6.2 Surround Sound System -
A surround sound system that consists of front speakers (right and left), front center channel speaker, rear speakers (right and left), rear center channel speaker, and a powered subwoofer.

75-Ohm Cable -
Primarily RG59/U or RG6/U coaxial cable used to carry audio and video signals over one cable. RG6/U is recommended for highest quality coaxial cable performance and to ìfuture proofî installations. RG6/U is a must for DSS satellite installations.

300-Ohm Cable -
An older technology used to connect TV antennas to the TV. Most 300-Ohm is converted to 75 Ohm with the use of a simple and inexpensive transformer.

480p -
Resolution of a picture is 852 pixels (vertically) x 480 pixels (horizontally) and p stands for progressive scanning. This is a widescreen format but not considered a high definition format.

720p -
Resolution of a picture is 1,280 pixels (vertically) x 720 pixels (horizontally) and p stands for progressive scanning. This offers a smoother picture.

1080i -
Resolution of a picture is 1,920 pixels (vertically) x 1080 pixels (horizontally) and i stands for interlaced scanning.

1080p -
Resolution of a picture is 1,920 pixels (vertically) x 1080 pixels (horizontally) and p stands for progressive scanning. This format works the same as the 720p format but has more pixels so the resolution is better.

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