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AC-3 (aka 5.1 and Dolby SR-D)

High quality six-channel digital surround-sound system developed by Dolby Labs, initially for movie theatres but now making it’s way into high-end home cinema

 

AV Amplifier

Four or five-channel audio amplifier, usually with a built-in Dolby Pro-Logic surround sound decoder, often combined with digital sound processor (DSP)

 

Aspect Ratio

Relationship between the width and height of a display screen;  e.g. a normal TV screen is 4-units wide by 3-units deep, giving it an aspect ratio of 4:3. Cinema screen and widescreen TVs generally have an aspect ratio of 16:9  

 

CD-i

CD interactive. CD sized-disc carrying digital video and audio material, for video games, multi-media applications etc. CD-i players fitted with a full motion video (FMV) cartridge can replay Video CD movies and programmes

 

Digital Video Disc (DVD)

Newly agreed standard for putting up to 135 minutes of high-quality digitally compressed video and multi-channel sound on CD-sized disc.

 

Dolby Pro-Logic

Surround-sound system that encodes four channels of information into a two-channel stereo soundtrack. Originally devised for theatrically-released movies but now used on broadcast TV programmes as well. The four channels comprise right and left stereo channels, a centre dialogue channel and a rear-effect channel

 

DSP

Digital signal processing. A family of spatial effects, generated by some AV surround-sound amplifiers, that simulate the acoustics of a variety of auditoria (hall, theatre, stadium etc.)

 

Front-channel

Dolby Pro Logic dialogue channel, heard through a speaker placed on or below the TV, to fix the viewers attention to the screen

 

NTSC/PAL/SECAM

The three most widely used colour TV standards. NTSC is used in North America, Japan and parts of the Far East; PAL is used in Europe, the middle East, much of Africa and Australasia, SECAM is used in France the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc

 

NICAM

Near Instantaneously Companded Audio Multiplexing. Digital stereo TV sound broadcasting system used by the BBC and ITV companies, available to over 90% of the UK population

 

PALplus

Widescreen TV broadcasting system, compatible with existing PAL TVs and VCRs.

Channel 4, Granada and Central TV are carrying out trials but the BBC say they will not adopt the system, preferring to wait for digital TV

 

Panda

Short for Wegner Panda 1. Effective stereo noise reduction system used on satellite receivers

 

 

PDC (aka Startext)

VCRs equipped with Programme Delivery Control or PDC will self-correct timer settings to compensate for late schedule changes, using data signals transmitted by the broadcasters

 

Rear channel

Sound channel from a Dolby Pro-Logic decoder, used to carry surround-sound effects, heard through speakers situated behind the listening position

 

Satellite speakers

Small mid-range speakers used for the front stereo channels on a surround-sound system

 

SCART (aka Euroconnector or Peritel)

Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radio Recepteurs et Televiseurs. Plug and socket system used to carry video, audio and control signals between items of AV equipment (TV, VCR, satellite receiver etc.)

 

Sub-woofer

Loudspeaker designed to hand non-directional, low-frequency bass-notes that cannot be effectively reproduced by front-channel speakers. Passive sub-woofers are powered by the AV amplifier, active subs have their own built-in amplifier

 

THX

Tomlinson Holman eXperiment. Detailed specification for speakers, amplifiers and processors for high performance surround sound systems, used to replay Dolby Surround and AC-3 coded material,  

 

Viewing Card (aka smart card or SKY card )

Plastic card containing a microchip, used by a receiver to unscramble satellite TV signals using the Videocrypt (and other) encryption systems. Cards can be programmed (upgraded or disabled) by signals sent by the satellite broadcasters

 

Video CD

CD-sized discs that contain up to 65 minutes of VHS-quality digitally-compressed video, playable on CD-i decks with full-motion video cartridge

 

Video Plus+

Simple to use VCR timer system that uses a set of numbers (the ‘Pluscode’), printed alongside program information in TV listings guides and newspapers.

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1995 3010

 

 

 

 

 

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