Copy of `Home Theater - Movies Glossary`

The wordlist doesn't exist anymore, or, the website doesn't exist anymore. On this page you can find a copy of the original information. The information may have been taken offline because it is outdated.


Home Theater - Movies Glossary
Category: Film and Animation > Home Theater's AV Glossary
Date & country: 19/08/2008, US
Words: 229


Absorption
Reduction of acoustical energy usually by converting it into heat via friction using soft, fibrous materials.

AC3
Audio Codec 3. This was the original and more technical name for Dolby Digital. Replaced by marketing mavens when they realized that Dolby's name was not in the title. Some RF modulated, 5.1-encoded laser discs were labeled as AC3. Later versions were labeled as Dolby Digital.

Academy Curve
An intentional roll-off in a theatrical system's playback response above ~2kHz (to -18dB at 8kHz) to minimize noise in mono optical tracks. Some (many) transfers to home video of mono movies have neglected to add the Academy filter during transfer, giving many old movies a screechy sound they were never intended to have. A few home processors have ...

Acoustic Suspension
A sealed speaker enclosure that uses the air trapped in the cabinet as a reinforcing spring to help control the motion of the woofer(s).

Active
Powered. An active cross-over is electrically powered and divides the line-level signal prior to amplification. An active speaker includes an active crossover and built-in amplifier.

AM
Amplitude modulated.

Amplifier
A component that increases the gain or level of an audio signal.

Anamorphic
Process that horizontally condenses (squeezes) a 16:9 image into a 4:3 space, preserving 25 percent more vertical resolution than letterboxing into the 4:3 space. For the signal to appear with correct geometry, the display must either horizontally expand or vertically squish the image. Used on about two or three promotional laser discs and many DVD...

Aspect Ratio
The ratio of image width to image height. Common motion-picture ratios are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. Television screens are usually 1.33:1 (also known as 4:3), which is similar to the Academy standard for films in the '50s. HDTV is 1.78:1, or 16:9. When widescreen movies (films with aspect ratios wider than 1.33:1) are displayed on 1.33:1 televisions, the...

ATSC
Advanced Television Systems Committee. Government-directed committee that developed our digital television transmission system.

Attenuate
To turn down, reduce, decrease the level of; the opposite of boost.

Balanced Input
A connection with three conductors: two identical signal conductors that are 180 degrees out of phase with each other, and one ground. This type of connection is very resistant to line noise.

Bandpass
A two-part filter that cuts both higher and lower frequencies around a center band. A bandpass enclosure cuts high frequencies by acoustic cancellation and low frequencies by natural physical limitations on bass response.

Bandwidth
In audio, the range of frequencies a device operates within. In video, the range of frequencies passed from the input to the output.

Bass
Low frequencies; those below approximately 200 Hz.

Bass Reflex
See Port.

Bi-Wiring
A method of connecting an amplifier or receiver to a speaker in which separate wires are run between the amp and the woofer and the amp and the tweeter.

Bipolar
1) The condition of possessing two pole sets. In a conventional (non-FET) transistor, one pole set exists between the base and collector, and the other pole set exists between the base and emitter. 2) Speakers that consist of two driver arrays facing opposite directions and wired in electrical phase with one another to create a more diffuse soundst...

Black Level
Light level of the darker portions of a video image. A black level control sets the light level of the darkest portion of the video signal to match that of the display's black level capability. Black is, of course, the absence of light. Many displays, however, have as much difficulty shutting off the light in the black portions of an image as they ...

Boost
To increase, make louder or brighter; opposite of attenuate.

Bridging
Combining two channels of an amplifier to make one channel that's more powerful. One channel amplifies the positive portion of an audio signal and the other channel amplifies the negative portion, which are then combined at the output.

Brightness
For video, the overall light level of the entire image. A brightness control makes an image brighter; however, when it is combined with a contrast, or white level control, the brightness control is best used to define the black level of the image (see Black Level). For audio, something referred to as bright has too much treble or high-frequency sou...

Cascading Crossovers
Two crossovers used in series on the same signal in the same frequency range causing greater attenuation of the out-of-band signal. For example, using the crossover in a receiver's bass management setting and the one in a subwoofer simultaneously will create an exaggerated loss of signal.

Cathode Ray Tube
(CRT) Analog display device that generates an image on a layer of phosphors that are driven by an electron gun.

CD
Compact Disc. Ubiquitous digital audio format. Uses 16-bit/44.1-kHz sampling rate PCM digital signal to encode roughly 74 or 80 minutes of two-channel, full-range audio onto a 5-inch disc.

CD-R
Recordable Compact Disc

CD-RW
Rewritable Compact Disc

CEA
Consumer Electronics Association. An association of manufacturers of consumer electronics products.

Center Channel
The center speaker in a home theater setup. Ideally placed within one or two feet above or below the horizontal plane of the left and right speakers and above or below the display device, unless placed behind a perforated screen. Placement is important, as voices and many effects in a multichannel mix come from this speaker.

Channel
In components and systems, a channel is a separate signal path. A four-channel amplifier has at least four separate inputs and four separate outputs.

Chrominance
(C) The color portion of a video signal.

Coaxial
1) A speaker typically with one driver in the middle of, and on the same axis as, another driver. 2) An audio or video cable with a single center pin that acts as the hot lead and an outer shield that acts as a ground.

Codec
Mathematical algorithms used to compress large data signals into small spaces with minimal perceived loss of information.

Coloration
Any change in the character of sound (such as an overemphasis on certain tones) that reduces naturalness.

Component Video
A signal that's recorded or transmitted in its separate components. Typically refers to Y/Pb/Pr, which consists of three 75-ohm channels: one for luminance information, and two for color. Compared with an S-video signal, a Y/Pb/Pr signal carries more color detail. HDTV, DVD, and DBS are component video sources, though most DBS material is transcode...

Composite Video
A signal that contains both chrominance and luminance on the same 75-ohm cable. Used in nearly all consumer video devices. Chrominance is carried in a 3.58-mHz sideband and filtered out by the TV's notch or comb filter. Poor filtering can result in dot crawl, hanging dots, or other image artifacts.

Compound Loading
See Isobarik.

Contrast
Relative difference between the brightest and darkest parts of an image. A contrast control adjusts the peak white level of a display device.

Controller
Generic term that typically refers to a combination preamp/surround processor or receiver. Can also refer to a handheld wireless remote.

Crossover
A component that divides an audio signal into two or more ranges by frequency, sending, for example, low frequencies to one output and high frequencies to another. An active crossover is powered and divides the line-level audio signal prior to amplification. A passive crossover uses no external power supply and may be used either at line level or, ...

Crossover Frequency
The frequency at which an audio signal is divided. 80 Hz is a typical subwoofer crossover point and is the recommended crossover point in theatrical and home THX systems. Frequencies below 80 Hz are sent to the subwoofer; signals above 80 Hz are sent to the main speakers.

Crossover Slope
The rate of attenuation expressed in decibels of change for every octave away from the crossover frequency.

CRT
See Cathode Ray Tube.

Cut
To reduce, lower; opposite of boost.

Damping
Of or pertaining to the control of vibration by electrical or mechanical means.

Damping Material
Any material that absorbs sound waves and eliminates acoustic energy by converting it into a different form. Fibrous material, for example, turns acoustic energy into heat via friction.

DBS
Direct Broadcast Satellite. Term that replaced DSS to describe small-dish, digital satellite systems such as DirecTV and Dish Network.

Decibel (dB)
A logarithmic measurement unit that describes a sound's relative loudness, though it can also be used to describe the relative difference between two power levels. A decibel is one tenth of a Bel. In sound, decibels generally measure a scale from 0 (the threshold of hearing) to 120-140 dB (the threshold of pain). A 3dB difference equates to a doubl...

Delay
The time difference between a sonic event and its perception at the listening position (sound traveling through space is delayed according to the distance it travels). People perceive spaciousness by the delay between the arrival of direct and reflected sound (larger spaces cause longer delays).

Diaphragm
The part of a dynamic loudspeaker attached to the voice coil that produces sound. It usually has the shape of a cone or dome.

Diffusion
In audio, the scattering of sound waves, reducing the sense of localization. In video, the scattering of light waves, reducing hot spotting, as in a diffusion screen.

Diffusor
Acoustical treatment device that preserves sound energy by reflecting it evenly in multiple directions, as opposed to a flat surface, which reflects a majority of the sound energy in one direction.

Digital Audio Server
Essentially a hard drive, a digital audio server stores compressed audio files (like MP3 or WMA). Most include the processing to make the files, and all have the ability to play them back.

Digital Theater Systems
See DTS.

Dipole
Speakers with drivers on opposite faces that are wired electrically out of phase, creating an area of cancellation to the sides. Recommended by THX for use as surround speakers, with null directed at the listener to create a more ambient and non-localizable effect.

Direct-Stream Digital
A format for encoding high-resolution audio signals. It uses a 1-bit encoder with a sampling rate of 2,822,400 samples per second (verses 44,100 for CD). Used to encode six high-resolution channels on SACD.

Direct-View Television
Display whose image is created on the surface from which it is viewed.

Dispersion
The spread of sound over a wide area.

Distortion
Any undesired change in an audio signal between input and the output.

DLP
Digital Light Processing. A Texas Instruments process of projecting video images using a light source reflecting off of an array of tens of thousands of microscopic mirrors. Each mirror represents a pixel and reflects light toward the lens for white and away from it for black, modulating in between for various shades of gray. Three-chip versions us...

DMD
Digital Micromirror Device. Texas Instruments engine that powers DLP projectors. Uses an array with tens of thousands of microscopic mirrors that reflect a light source toward or away from the lens, creating an image. Each mirror represents a pixel. See DLP.

DNR
Dynamic Noise Reduction. A signal-processing circuit that attempts to reduce the level of high-frequency noise. Unlike Dolby NR, DNR doesn't require preprocessing during recording.

Dolby B
A noise-reduction system that increases the level of high frequencies during recording and decreases them during playback.

Dolby C
An improvement on Dolby B that provides about twice as much noise reduction.

Dolby Digital
An encoding system that digitally compresses up to 5.1 discrete channels of audio (left front, center, right front, left surround, right surround, and LFE) into a single bitstream, which can be recorded onto a DVD, HDTV broadcast, or other form of digital media. When RF-modulated, it was included on some laser discs, which requires an RF-demodulato...

Dolby EX
An enhancement to Dolby Digital that adds a surround back channel to 5.1 soundtracks. The sixth channel is matrixed from the left and right surround channels. Often referred to as 6.1. Sometimes referred to as 7.1 if the system uses two surround back speakers, even though both speakers reproduce the same signal. Software is backwards-compatible wit...

Dolby Pro Logic
An enhancement of the Dolby Surround decoding process. Pro Logic decoders derive left, center, right, and a mono surround channel from two-channel Dolby Surround–encoded material via matrix techniques.

Dolby Pro Logic II
An enhanced version of Pro Logic. Adds improved decoding for two-channel, non-encoded soundtracks and music.

Dome
A type of speaker-driver shape; usually used for tweeters (convex). Concave domes are usually referred to as 'inverted domes.'

Dope
A tacky substance added to paper cones to damp spurious vibrations that can cause breakup and rough response. Also, see Editor.

Dot Crawl
An artifact of composite video signals that appears as a moving, zipper-like, vertical border between colors.

Driver
A speaker without an enclosure; also refers to the active element of a speaker system that creates compressions and rarefactions in the air.

DSD
See Direct Stream Digital.

DSP
Digital Signal Processing. Manipulating an audio signal digitally to create various possible effects at the output. Often refers to artificially generated surround effects derived from and applied to two-channel sources.

DTS
Digital Theater Systems. A digital sound recording format, originally developed for theatrical film soundtracks, starting with Jurassic Park. Records 5.1 discrete channels of audio onto a handful of laser discs, CDs, and DVDs. Requires a player with DTS output connected to a DTS processor.

DTS ES
An enhanced version of the 5.1 DTS system. Like Dolby's Surround EX, a sixth channel is added. In some cases (DTS ES Discrete), the sixth channel is discrete. Software is backwards-compatible with 5.1 systems, but requires an ES or 6.1 processor to obtain additional benefit. Neo:6 is a subset of DTS ES that creates 6.1 from material with fewer orig...

DTV
Digital Television. Umbrella term used for the ATSC system that will eventually replace our NTSC system in 2006. HDTV is a subset of the DTV system. While the FCC does not recognize specific scan rates in the adopted DTV system, typically accepted rates include 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i.

DVD
Officially known as the Digital Video Disc, though marketers unofficially refer to it as the Digital Versatile Disc. DVD uses a 5-inch disc with anywhere from 4.5 Gb (single layer, single-sided) to 17 Gb storage capacity (double-layer, double sided). It uses MPEG2 compression to encode 720:480p resolution, full-motion video and Dolby Digital to enc...

DVD-A
Digital Versatile Disc-Audio. Enhanced audio format with up to six channels of high-resolution, 24-bit/96-kHz audio encoded onto a DVD, usually using MLP lossless encoding. Requires a DVD-A player and a controller with 6-channel inputs (or a proprietary digital link) for full compatibility.

DVD-R
A recordable DVD format similar to CD-R in that it is a write-once medium. Backed by Pioneer, Panasonic, Toshiba, and others.

DVD-RAM
A recordable DVD format similar to DVD-RW in that it is a re-writeable format. Unlike DVD-RW it is capable of being written to and erased over 100,000 times. Backed by Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and others.

DVD-RW
A recordable DVD format similar to CD-RW in that it is re-recordable medium. Backed by Pioneer, Panasonic, Toshiba, and others.

DVD+R
A recordable DVD format similar to CD-R in that it is a write-once medium. Backed by Sony, Philips, Yamaha, HP, and others.

DVD+RW
A recordable DVD format similar to CD-RW in that it is re-recordable medium. Backed by Sony, Philips, Yamaha, HP, and others.

DVI
Digital Visual Interface. Connection standard developed by Intel for connecting computers to digital monitors such as flat panels and DLP projectors. A consumer electronics version, not necessarily compatible with the PC version, is used as a connection standard for HDTV tuners and displays. Transmits an uncompressed digital signal to the display. ...

Dynamic Range
The difference between the lowest and the highest levels; in audio, it's often expressed in decibels. In video, it's listed as the contrast ratio.

EDTV
Extended Definition Television. This CEA-adopted term (though originally mentioned in an April '99 HT article by Mike Wood and Mike McGann) is defined as those products that can display DTV images as 480p or higher.

Efficiency Rating
Level of sound output measured at a prescribed distance with a standard input power. Efficiency rating standard is 1 watt (2.83V at 8 ohms) at 1 meter over a specified frequency range and is measured in decibels.

Electrostatic
One of the oldest speaker design principles, electrostatic speakers are generally comprised of two fixed perforated panels with a constant high-voltage charge applied to them. In between these two panels is an extremely low-mass diaphragm to which the audio signal is applied, causing it to move. There are variations on this construction, but all el...

Enclosure
The container of air that surrounds the rear of a speaker driver.

Enhanced for 16:9
See Anamorphic.

Enhanced for Widescreen
See Anamorphic.

EQ
See Equalization or Equalizer.

Equalization
Loosely, any type of relative frequency adjustment. Specifically, the process of changing the frequency balance of an electrical signal to alter the acoustical output.

Equalizer
A component designed to alter the frequency balance of an audio signal. Equalizers may be graphic, parametric, or a combination of both.

EX
See Dolby EX.

External Crossover
A standalone unit. See crossover.

Feedback
The transmission of current or voltage from the output of a device back to the input, where it interacts with the input signal to modify operation of the device. Feedback is positive when it's in phase with the input and negative when it's out of phase.

Fiber Optic Cable
Glass, plastic, or hybrid fiber cable that transmits digital signals as light pulses.

FireWire
See IEEE 1394.