24 frames HD


Players with 24 frames/second support render movies as they were originally shot - at 24 frames/second. Conventional DVD players and displays deliver a 25 frame/second picture. This is fine if the material has been shot on video at 25 frames/second, but film uses 24 frames. In the case of DVD, the picture is converted for conventional players and displays, which do not support 24 frames/second playback. This conversion process is lossy and delivers an inferior picture.

The latest high-definition-capable formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, both support High Definition pictures at 24 frames/second from discs which have been directly transferred from the original film print, without conversion. When played back on 24 frames/second compatible displays you get as close to the quality of the original film as is possible.

24 frame/second recordings played back on displays which do not support the format are converted by the player to 25 frames/second, so you're still able to benefit from High-Definition pictures, albeit at a converted 25 frames/second, instead of the original film's frame rate.

3D Ready


3D Ready devices are capable of transporting, generating or displaying 3D video (depending on the type of the device).

At the time of writing, several different 3D standards and technologies exist, most requiring a 3D Ready television, source (such as a Blu-ray player) and glasses (usually LCD shutter type).

It is essential that all components (such as AV receivers) and cables in the signal path are capable of transporting a 3D signal. The HDMI version 1.4 specification includes provision for full HD 1080p 3D video, therefore a system consisting of HDMI v1.4 devices and cables should be able to handle 3D properly. Some HDMI v1.3 devices and cables may also support 3D but some may only support resolutions up to 1080i). A typical 3D enabled system is shown below.

3D Ready system diagram

Note that an AV receiver is not essential for 3D operation, a 3D Ready Blu-ray player could be connected directly to a 3D enabled TV. 3D Ready ’out of the box’ home cinema systems can also be connected directly to a 3D enabled TV.

4K Ready


4k television has horizontal resolution of around 4000 pixels (usually 3840 x 2160, though 4096 x 2160 is also referred to as 4k), four times higher than 1080p HD. Numerous devices are being released which can handle 4k video, whether directly, through upscaling or by pass-through.

Amazon Instant Video


Amazon Instant Video is the new name for the video streaming service from LOVEFiLM. Titles are available to buy or rent or, through Prime Instant Video, to stream.

Amazon Instant Video is available on many internet-enabled devices including PCs, PlayStation 3, iPad, Xbox 360, as well as Blu-Ray players and Internet-connected TVs.

LOVEFilm by post is still available as a separate service. Members get DVDs delivered to their door.

Android


Android has rapidly become the most popular platform for mobile devices in the world. It is used on mobile phones and tablets from numerous manufacturers.

Unlike Apple's idevices, there is no standardised design for an Android device. There are no Android docks, and probably never will be. However, connection by USB is always possible, and there are a number of apps dedicated to music and video. As well as iPhone apps, more and more manufacturers are producing control apps for their machines which will run on Android.

Apple Airplay


AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream from iOS devices. With Apple TV you can share images and video on your television screen. Other devices allow different levels of streaming.

Audio Return Channel


The Audio Return Channel in HDMI 1.4 enables a TV to send audio data "upstream" to an A/V receiver or surround audio controller via the same HDMI cable as it receives the video signal through. If a TV has a built-in tuner or DVD player, audio can be sent from the TV back to the audio system without the need for a separate connection, such as an S/PDIF cable.

Auto calibration


Many home theater receivers come with an automatic speaker setup and calibration system: Denon, Marantz, and Onkyo feature Audyssey; Pioneer has MCACC (multichannel acoustic calibration); Sony's is called DCAC (digital cinema auto calibration); and Yamaha's proprietary system goes by the name YPAO (Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer). The systems can determine the sizes of all the speakers, set speaker and subwoofer volume levels and the speaker-subwoofer crossover point, as well as measuring the distances from the speakers to the listener, and checking that all of the speaker cables are correctly hooked up. Some autosetup systems also employ equalization to balance the frequency response of all the speakers, and they try to minimize room acoustic problems.

AVCHD


The AVCHD format is a digital video camera format, used to record standard and high-definition pictures directly to DVD discs, using efficient "MPEG4 AVC/H.264" data compression.

BBC iPlayer


BBC iPlayer logo: BBC iPlayer is an Internet-based TV service that allows users to watch BBC channels on-line. iPlayer also offers an on-demand service, through which previously broadcast programmes are available for a limited time. This popular application allows users to watch programmes which they have missed on standard broadcast television. High definition content is also available through iPlayer.

Apart from availability on some cable-TV services, viewing content on iPlayer requires a separate Internet connection (a broadband connection is required for smooth playback). Because of this, a device which offers the iPlayer service requires networking technology and usually connects through a home network router.

iPlayer can be viewed on networked computers (including media centre PCs), on some games consoles such as the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3, and on some Freesat boxes such as the Humax FoxSat and FoxSat HDR. At the time of writing, the number of Freesat boxes supporting iPlayer is expected to rise and plans are in place to allow iPlayer integration into future Freeview boxes. Some networked televisions may also support iPlayer playback.

When viewed on a PC, the iPlayer service allows some content to be downloaded for later playback on the PC or for transferring to a portable device such as compatible Sony Walkman portable media players.

Visit the BBC iPlayer site here.

Blu-Ray


Blu-ray is a high-density storage format. With Blu-ray, the capacity of a DVD-sized disc is dramatically increased, with up to 50GB of storage space on a single disc. This provides room for films and programming at superior High Definition resolutions, or for more than five times as much standard DVD programming, on the one disc.

Bluetooth


Bluetooth is a technology which enables devices to wirelessly exchange data, over a secure, short-distance connection. The name "Bluetooth" is chosen in honour of the Danish King "Harald Bluetooth", the 10th Century peacemaker of enemies - a man who facilitated communication between two groups.

DAB


A digital broadcasting system which can offer high quality audio, a huge choice of new and existing stations and can eliminate the noise or interference which traditional analogue broadcasts suffer from. All the popular broadcasters now offer a DAB service, plus a range of new niche, local and national services.


Useful links: Coverage map | UK Digital Radio | BBC Digital Radio page


DivX


A compression technology commonly used by computer owners to share and store longer video files (such as TV programmes and films) in a small space. DivX files can be burnt onto a CD or DVD disc and played in a compatible player.

DivX HD


The high definition evolution of the DivX compression technology.

DivX Ultra


Products which are DivX Ultra Certified offer increased DivX functionality, common on computers, on stand-alone players. Dupport DivX video with multiple subtitles, chapter points, interactive menus and other DVD-like features are avaiable.

DLNA Certified


DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) Certified devices meet standards which ensure compatibility with one another.

For example a DLNA certified multi-room client will be able to access content stored on a DLNA certified NAS (Network-Attached Storage) drive, even if the two were bought separately or are made by different manufacturers.

Dolby Atmos


With Dolby Atmos, sound comes alive from all directions, including overhead, to fill the home theater with astonishing clarity, power, detail, and depth.

Dolby B


Dolby noise reduction reduces the levels of noise, otherwise inherent with audio cassettes, during recording and playback. Cassettes recorded using Dolby B can be played back acceptably on players not featuring a Dolby B decoder

Dolby B & C


Dolby noise reduction reduces the levels of noise, otherwise inherent with audio cassettes, during recording and playback. Cassettes recorded using Dolby B and C can be played back acceptably on players not featuring a Dolby B or C decoder. While Dolby B may be considered standard noise reduction for cassettes, Dolby C is designed to provide enhanced noise reduction for high frequency sound.

Dolby B/C/HX Pro


Dolby noise reduction reduces the levels of noise, otherwise inherent with audio cassettes, during recording and playback. Over the years Dolby has improved the technology, first introducing Dolby B, then Dolby C and finally Dolby S.

"Dolby HX Pro" further improves performance by increasing the dynamic range that can be derived from cassette, without increasing distortion.

Dolby Digital


A multi-channel sound format which is the standard in Europe for DVD and the most used in the world. This format can potentially support any number of channels: mono, stereo, 3 channel surround, 5.1 & 6.1 surround being the ones you will find most.


A DVD player or other source component with a Dolby Digital output will deliver the signal in a format which home cinema amplifiers with built in Dolby Digital decoders can handle.


Visit Dolby Digital online here.


Dolby Digital & Pro Logic 2


A multi-channel sound format which is the standard in Europe and the most used in the world. This format can potentially support any number of channels: mono, stereo, 3 channel surround or 5.1 surround being the ones you will find most.

Dolby Pro Logic II: Takes an existing 2 channel stereo sound and decodes a dynamic, full-bandwidth 5.1 soundtrack. A great improvement over original Pro Logic and very popular with both 2 channel sourced movies (e.g. stereo TV broadcasts and video-taped recordings) and music too.

Dolby Digital EX & DPL2x


A multi-channel sound format which is the standard in Europe and the most used in the world. This format can potentially support any number of channels: mono, stereo, 3 channel surround or 5.1 surround being the ones you will find most.

Dolby Digital EX: Discrete 6.1 variation of Dolby Digital which is decoded from a true, discrete 6.1 Dolby Digital encoded soundtrack - an extra rear centre channel, on top of a 5.1 configuration. Dolby Digital EX decoders are fully compatible with Dolby Digital decoding, too.

Dolby Digital Matrix 6.1: Dolby Digital which delivers 6.1 sound from a 5.1 Dolby Digital signal, by processing and decoding an additional channel of information from the existing left and right rear channels, for a rear-centre channel.

Dolby Pro Logic: An older format than Dolby Digital, which provides surround sound from a stereo signal. Although not offering the same level of separation or dynamics that Dolby Digital offers, Pro Logic soundtracks can be heard on a wide variety of pre-recorded videos and television broadcasts. All that you require is a NICAM stereo television or HiFi/NICAM audio VCR to be connected to your AV amplifier and when a Pro Logic programme is broadcast or played back you will be able to enjoy it with the surround sound activated.

Dolby Pro Logic II: Takes an existing 2 channel stereo sound and decodes a dynamic, full-bandwidth 5.1 soundtrack. A great improvement over original Pro Logic and very popular with both 2 channel sourced movies (e.g. stereo TV broadcasts and video-taped recordings) and music too.

Dolby Pro Logic IIx: The latest of the Pro Logic formats, IIx is capable of delivering a full-bandwidth, highly dynamic 7.1 surround sound from 2 channel stereo and 5.1 channel sources. 7.1 sound features an additional pair of rear-surround channels, on top of a 5.1 configuration. Dolby Pro Logic IIx decoders are fully compatible with Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Pro Logic decoding, too..

Dolby Digital Plus


Dolby Digital Plus is an audio format based on Dolby Digital, used for multi-channel audio on the latest HD formats such as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Dolby Digital Plus delivers higher quality and resolution, thanks to improved compression efficiency and support for data rates at up to ten times those used by Dolby Digital.

Dolby Digital Plus is not directly compatible with Dolby Digital, meaning that standard Dolby Digital decoders will not be able to decode Dolby Digital Plus. However many sources will also down-convert Dolby Digital Plus to standard Dolby Digital, ensuring backwards compatibility with older, Dolby Digital decoders.

Dolby Digital Plus signals are transferred from a source to an AV amplifier via an HDMI cable. If you wish to use an AV amplifier’s on-board Dolby Digital Plus decoding, HDMI v1.3 is required from the source. Many sources can also convert a Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack in to a "Linear PCM" signal, which enables source and amplifier combinations with earlier HDMI format support or amplifiers with no Dolby Digital Plus decoder to deliver the superior soundtrack, anyway.

Dolby Headphones


Dolby Headphones down-converts Dolby Digital 5.1 or 6.1 soundtracks to stereo while processing a realistic simulation of surround sound for stereo headphones.

More on Dolby Headphones

Dolby Pro Logic II


Takes an existing 2 channel stereo sound and decodes a dynamic, full-bandwidth 5.1 soundtrack. A great improvement over original Pro Logic and very popular with both 2 channel sourced movies (e.g. stereo TV broadcasts and video-taped recordings) and music too.

Dolby Pro Logic: An older format than Dolby Digital, which provides surround sound from a stereo signal. Although not offering the same level of separation or dynamics that Dolby Digital offers, Pro Logic soundtracks can be heard on a wide variety of pre-recorded videos and television broadcasts. All that you require is a NICAM stereo television or HiFi/NICAM audio VCR to be connected to your AV amplifier and when a Pro Logic programme is broadcast or played back you will be able to enjoy it with the surround sound activated.

Dolby Prologic IIx


Dolby Pro Logic IIx can take two-channel stereo, Dolby Surround (sometimes called Dolby Stereo Surround) and Dolby Digital 5.1 source material and up-convert it to 6.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound.

Dolby Prologic IIz


Dolby Pro Logic IIz expands on Pro Logic IIx with the addition of a height component, creating front height channels above the front left and right speakers, expanding a 5.1 or 7.1 system to 7.1 Height or 9.1. It separates ambience effects like rain or wind, and directs them to the front height speakers.

Dolby True HD


Dolby True HD is a system for delivering extremely high-quality multi-channel audio. It takes advantage of the larger capacity afforded by formats such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, delivering sound quality which Dolby claim is equal to the studio master recording. It does this using lossless encoding which, unlike many existing formats, ensures that there is no reduction in audio quality. It can support any number of audio channels, although when used on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs, is specified to support up to 8 channels (7.1) of digital audio.

Dolby True HD can be carried from a compatible player via an HDMI cable. AV receivers with Dolby TrueHD decoding receive the signal via HDMI, along with the video signal. Such receivers provide the decoding and amplification of the signal, whilst passing the video signal on to the display via an HDMI output.

Dolby TrueHD signals output from a player are backward compatible with AV receivers that feature standard Dolby Digital decoding - you will enjoy the highest quality signal your AV receiver is capable of decoding from a Dolby TrueHD source. In addition, some players feature built-in Dolby True-HD decoders, providing the benefits of superior fidelity with existing AV receivers.

Further reading: Dolby TrueHD web page.

Dolby Virtual Speaker


Dolby Virtual Speaker down-converts Dolby Digital 5.1 or 6.1 soundtracks to stereo while processing a realistic simulation of surround sound for stereo speakers.

More on Dolby Virtual Speaker

DSD Audio


Direct Stream Digital (DSD) was created by Sony and Philips to encode music for Super Audio CD (SACD). It is an alternative recording and playback technology to Pulse Code Modulation (PCM). DSD is emerging as a possible alternative to FLAC and other hi-res audio formats.

DTS


A multi-channel sound format capable of delivering superior sound to Dolby Digital, found on many DVD titles. This format can potentially support any number of channels: mono, stereo, 3 channel surround, 5.1 & 6.1 surround being the ones you will find most.


A DVD player or other source component with a DTS output will deliver the signal in a format which home cinema amplifiers with built in DTS decoders can handle.


Visit the DTS homepage here.


DTS 96/24


DTS 96/24 (96kHz sampling rate - compared to typical 48kHz sampling rate & 24-bit word length). DTS 96/24 decoding delivers superior fidelity audio from suitably encoded DVD discs.

DTS ES


Discrete 6.1 variation of DTS which is decoded from a true, discrete 6.1 DTS encoded soundtrack.

DTS: A multi-channel sound format capable of delivering superior sound to that of Dolby Digital. All of the home cinema amplifiers on this site support both Dolby Digital and DTS.

DTS ES Neo 9624


DTS: A multi-channel sound format capable of delivering superior sound to that of Dolby Digital. All of the home cinema amplifiers on this site support both Dolby Digital and DTS.

DTS-ES: Discrete 6.1 variation of DTS which is decoded from a true, discrete 6.1 DTS encoded soundtrack

DTS Matrix 6.1: DTS which delivers 6.1 sound from a 5.1 DTS signal, by processing and decoding an additional channel of information from the existing left and right rear channels, for a rear-centre channel.

DTS Neo:6: Takes an existing 2 channel stereo sound and decodes a dynamic, full-bandwidth 5.1 soundtrack. Ideal with both 2 channel sourced movies (e.g. stereo TV broadcasts and video-taped recordings) and music too.

DTS 96/24: (96kHz sampling rate - compared to typical 48kHz sampling rate & 24-bit word length). DTS 96/24 decoding delivers superior fidelity audio from suitably encoded DVD discs.

DTS Express


Content encoded in DTS Express offers the best quality low bit rate audio designed for network streaming, broadcast and internet applications.

DTS Neo:6


DTS Neo:6 takes an existing 2 channel stereo soundtrack and decodes a dynamic, full-bandwidth 5.1 soundtrack. Ideal with both 2 channel sourced movies (e.g. stereo TV broadcasts and video-taped recordings) and music too.

DTS Virtual


DTS Virtual down-converts DTS 5.1 or 6.1 soundtracks to stereo while processing a realistic simulation of surround sound for two-channel equipment such as headphones.

DTS X


DTS:X is a next generation audio codec that utilises object-based audio to create a new level of immersion and interactivity. The technology places sound where it would occur naturally in space, creating an incredible three-dimensional audio experience.

DTS-HD High Resolution


DTS-HD High Resolution Audio is a high-resolution audio format, which provides a higher quality audio experience than standard definition surround sound. It can handle up to 7.1 discrete channels and up to 96 kHz / 24-bit audio quality.

DTS-HD High Resolution Audio is often selected as an optional surround sound format for Blu-ray Discs. It can be an alternative to DTS-HD Master Audio where disc space may not allow it.

DTS-HD Master Audio


DTS-HD is a system for delivering extremely high-quality multi-channel audio. It takes advantage of the larger capacity afforded by formats such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, delivering sound quality which DTS claim is equal to the studio master recording. It does this using lossless encoding which, unlike many existing formats, ensures that there is no reduction in audio quality. It can support any number of audio channels, although when used on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs, is specified to support up to 8 channels (7.1) of digital audio.


DTS-HD can be carried from a compatible player via an HDMI cable. AV receivers with DTS-HD decoding receive the signal via HDMI, along with the video signal. Such receivers provide the decoding and amplification of the signal, whilst passing the video signal on to the display via an HDMI output.


DTS-HD signals output from a player are backward compatible with AV receivers that feature standard DTS decoding - you will enjoy the highest quality signal your AV receiver is capable of decoding from a DTS-HD source. In addition, some players feature built-in DTS-HD decoders, providing the benefits of superior fidelity with existing AV receivers.


Further reading: DTS HD web page.


DVD Audio


An audio only version of the DVD format. Discs look the same, but carry music only in a multi-channel format and with higher resolution compared with that of CD. DVD Video players wont necessarily play DVD Audio format, so look out for the DVD Audio logo.

DVD Video


DVD Video discs look like Compact Discs but have a much larger capacity. As a result, hours of high-quality video and audio can be stored on a single DVD disc. Devices which show the DVD Video logo will play back DVD titles such as those that can be bought in music shops, supermarkets and online.

FLAC


FLAC stands for "Free Lossless Audio Codec". It is a compression technology which allows you to reduce the size of audio files, without any reduction in audio quality. Players with the FLAC logo are capable of playing back files encoded using the format.

Freesat


Freesat is a digital satellite television and radio service which is available as free-to-air, meaning that there is no need to pay a monthly subscription fee in order to receive Freesat channels.

Unlike Freeview which is a terrestrial service which uses local transmitters, Freesat is broadcast from satellites and therefore has better coverage around the UK than Freeview.

All that is required to receive Freesat services is a Freesat set-top box receiver or a television with integrated Freesat tuner and a compatible satellite dish. Most newer satellite dishes, such as those used to receive Sky Digital, should be able to receive Freesat broadcasts.

Channels: As well as existing BBC and Commercial television channels, Freesat also delivers many new services from the BBC and other broadcasters, including radio programmes, documentaries, news, children’s programming, entertainment and interactive services. In addition, several High Definition (HD) channels are available such as BBC HD and ITV HD. To be able to view these HD channels, an HD compatible Freesat receiver is required. For a list of standard definition and high definition channels, check here.

Cost: Apart from the initial purchase cost of the set-top box Freesat receiver or TV with integrated Freesat tuner and the cost of installing a dish (if one is not already installed) there is nothing further to pay: no subscription fee is required.

Dish/Satellite Dish: To receive Freesat services, you will require a satellite dish to be installed on the outside of your home. To ensure compatibility, check that the dish is suitable for Freesat and look for the digital tick symbol. Any dish that has previously been used to receive Sky Digital broadcasts will be able to receive Freesat without repositioning.

EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. A system which delivers detailed programme listings, now and next and other schedule information. Also used by some devices as a handy means of timer/programme reminder setting, enabling simple programme "highlight and select" to define start/end/channel information for a timer setting.

HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. Although most Freesat set-top box receivers offer several way of connecting to a TV (Scart for example), HDMI provide the best picture quality and can carry HD (High Definition) video. It is highly recommended that you use a HDMI cable to connect your Freesat box to your HD Ready television or projector

HD: High Definition. Can refer to two aspects of Freesat.

1) Some Freesat channels are broadcast in HD allowing for greater picture detail and clarity. If you want to receive HD channels, make sure you buy a Freesat receiver which can receive HD channels as some standard definition systems cannot. At the time of writing, the only HD channels available through Freesat are BBC HD and ITV HD, although the number of channels is expected to rise in the future.

2) Many Freesat set-top box receivers can output an HD picture to an HD Ready TV or projector via HDMI or component video connections. These receivers usually also upscale standard definition Freesat pictures to HD resolutions, thereby improving picture quality. Most systems support a video output resolution of at least 720p or 1080i.

For more information visit the Freesat website.

Freesat HD


Freesat HD: Freesat is a digital satellite television and radio service which is available as free-to-air, meaning that there is no need to pay a monthly subscription fee in order to receive Freesat channels. Devices with the Freesat HD logo are also capable of receiving the high definition Freesat channels such as BBC HD and ITV HD.

Unlike Freeview which is a terrestrial service which uses local transmitters, Freesat is broadcast from satellites and therefore has better coverage around the UK than Freeview.

All that is required to receive Freesat services is a Freesat set-top box receiver or a television with integrated Freesat tuner and a compatible satellite dish. Most newer satellite dishes, such as those used to receive Sky Digital, should be able to receive Freesat. broadcasts.

Channels: As well as existing BBC and Commercial television channels, Freesat also delivers many new services from the BBC and other broadcasters, including radio programmes, documentaries, news, children’s programming, entertainment and interactive services. In addition, several High Definition (HD) channels are available such as BBC HD and ITV HD. To be able to view these HD channels, an HD compatible Freesat HD receiver is required. For a list of standard definition and high definition channels, check here.

Cost: Apart from the initial purchase cost of the set-top box Freesat HD receiver or TV with integrated Freesat HD tuner and the cost of installing a dish (if one is not already installed) there is nothing further to pay: no subscription fee is required.

Dish/Satellite Dish: To receive Freesat services, you will require a satellite dish to be installed on the outside of your home. To ensure compatibility, check that the dish is suitable for Freesat and look for the digital tick symbol. A dish that has been previously used for Sky Digital reception can be used without repositioning.

EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. A system which delivers detailed programme listings, now and next and other schedule information. Also used by some devices as a handy means of timer/programme reminder setting, enabling simple programme "highlight and select" to define start/end/channel information for a timer setting.

HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. Although most Freesat set-top box receivers offer several ways of connecting to a TV (Scart for example), HDMI provide the best picture quality and can carry HD (High Definition) video. It is highly recommended that you use a HDMI cable to connect your Freesat HD box to your HD Ready television or projector. Only Component Video and HDMI connections can carry an HD signal.

HD: High Definition. Refers to a high picture quality standard supported by Freesat HD receivers. Freesat HD receivers can decode HD channels such as BBC HD and ITV HD. Not all Freesat channels are broadcast in HD, with most broadcast in standard definition (SD). However, Freesat HD receivers will upscale SD pictures to HD resolutions (at least 720p or 1080i) for output on a HD Ready display device.

For more information visit the Freesat website.

Freesat Plus


Freesat HD: A device bearing the above logo is capable of receiving Freesat free-to-air satellite channels, and has added pause, rewind and record functions. While both Freesat and Freesat Plus devices receive the same transmitted signals, Freesat Plus guarantees these extra functions. It also adds extra functionality such as Series Link, recording of an entire series of programmes at the touch of a button, and the ability to record two halves of a programme (for example a film split by the news) as one recording. This is not to say that devices that don’t feature the badge are not capable of some or all of this functionality, the Freesat Plus badge simply guarantees that a device has these functions and is fully Freesat compatible - please check the product’s individual specification.

Cost: Apart from the initial purchase cost of the set-top box Freesat receiver or TV with integrated Freesat tuner and the cost of installing a dish (if one is not already installed) there is nothing further to pay: no subscription fee is required..

Dish/Satellite Dish: To receive Freesat services, you will require a satellite dish to be installed on the outside of your home. To ensure compatibility, check that the dish is suitable for Freesat and look for the digital tick symbol. Many existing dishes will work with Freesat, such a those used for Sky Digital. Note that to be able to watch one channel whilst recording another, you will require two LNB connections (two cables from your dish).

EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. A system which delivers detailed programme listings, now and next and other schedule information. Freesat Plus EPGs must cover at least the next 8 days television and also allow for easy one-touch recording and scheduling.

Hard Disc: Freesat Plus devices use a hard disc for storage. This is used to store your recordings for later watching, and for temporary storage whilst pausing and rewinding live TV. The larger the hard disc capacity, the more content you can record.

One Touch Recording/Scheduling: Allows the recording of a programme to be started instantly by pressing the record button on the remote control. Future programmes can easily be scheduled by pressing the record button whilst the programme is highlighted in the EPG schedule listings.

Pause Live TV: Allows you to pause live TV and resume it at a later time. This is achieved by temporarily recording the television broadcast for the pause period. After pausing, playback will continue normally.

Rewind Live TV: Allows you to rewind a television programme which you have been watching. Freesat Plus devices automatically record television content as you watch it, allowing you to instantly skip back through the recording and continue watching without any break in the flow of the programme.

For more information visit the Freesat website.

Freeview


Freeview is a digital terrestrial television and radio service. This means that the signal is transmitted from local transmitters in the same way as normal television and radio programmes, usually enabling reception of the newer services with an existing antenna.

Most of the population can receive the services now - you can check local coverage here.

CAM: Some Freeview tuners have a facility which enables a plug in adaptor, known as a "CAM" (or Conditional Access Module) to be connected. This plug in adaptor will facilitate the use of a TopUpTV subscription card and open up a wider choice of subscription channels, in addition to the free channels you will receive.

Channels: As well as existing BBC and Commercial television channels, Freeview also delivers many new services from the BBC and other broadcasters, including radio programmes, documentaries, news, children’s programming, entertainment and interactive services. For a full channel list, check here.

Cost: Apart from the initial purchase cost there is nothing further to pay: no subscription fee is required.

EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. A system which delivers detailed programme listings, now and next and other schedule information. Also used by some devices as a handy means of timer/programme reminder setting, enabling simple programme "highlight and select" to define start/end/channel information for a timer setting.

TopUpTV: TopUpTV is the subscription channel service available via Freeview, bringing additional channels and services to subscribers. Check to see whether your Freeview receiver or television has a card or CAM slot to enable viewing of TopUpTV programmes.

For more information visit the Freeview website.

Freeview HD


Freeview is a digital terrestrial television and radio service. This means that the signal is transmitted from local transmitters in the same way as normal television and radio programmes, usually enabling reception of the newer services with an existing antenna. Devices with the Freeview HD logo are capable of receiving high definition channels such as BBC HD and ITV HD in addition to standard defintion Freeview channels. Freeview HD channels will become available at different times during 2010 depending on region.

Most of the population can receive the services now - you can check local coverage here.

CAM: Some Freeview tuners have a facility which enables a plug in adaptor, known as a "CAM" (or Conditional Access Module) to be connected. This plug in adaptor will facilitate the use of a TopUpTV subscription card and open up a wider choice of subscription channels, in addition to the free channels you will receive.

Channels: As well as existing BBC and Commercial television channels, Freeview HD also delivers many new services from the BBC and other broadcasters, including radio programmes, documentaries, news, children’s programming, entertainment and interactive services. In addition, several High Definition (HD) channels will become available during 2010 such as BBC HD and ITV HD. To be able to view these HD channels, an HD compatible Freeview HD receiver is required. For a list of standard definition and high definition channels, check here.

Cost: Apart from the initial purchase cost there is nothing further to pay: no subscription fee is required.

EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. A system which delivers detailed programme listings, now and next and other schedule information. Also used by some devices as a handy means of timer/programme reminder setting, enabling simple programme "highlight and select" to define start/end/channel information for a timer setting.

HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. Although most Freesat set-top box receivers offer several ways of connecting to a TV (Scart for example), HDMI provide the best picture quality and can carry High Definition (HD) video. It is highly recommended that you use a HDMI cable to connect your Freesat HD box to your HD Ready television or projector. Only Component Video and HDMI connections can carry an HD signal.

HD: High Definition. Refers to a high picture quality standard supported by Freesat HD receivers. Freesat HD receivers can decode HD channels such as BBC HD and ITV HD. Not all Freesat channels are broadcast in HD, with most broadcast in standard definition (SD). However, Freesat HD receivers will upscale SD pictures to HD resolutions (at least 720p or 1080i) for output on a HD Ready display device.

TopUpTV: TopUpTV is the subscription channel service available via Freeview, bringing additional channels and services to subscribers. Check to see whether your Freeview receiver or television has a card or CAM slot to enable viewing of TopUpTV programmes.

For more information visit the Freeview website.

Freeview Plus


A device bearing the Freeview Plus logo is capable of receiving standard Freeview (DVB-T: Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial) channels, and has added pause, rewind and record functions. While both Freeview and Freeview Plus devices receive the same transmitted signals, "Freeview Plus" guarantees these recording, pausing and rewind functions. Freeview Plus also adds extra functionality such as Series Link, recording of an entire series of programmes at the touch of a button, and the ability to record two halves of a programme (for example a film split by the news) as one recording. This is not to say that devices that don’t feature the badge are not capable of some or all of this functionality - please check the product’s individual specification.


Cost: Apart from the initial purchase cost there is nothing further to pay: no subscription fee is required.


EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. A system which delivers detailed programme listings, now and next and other schedule information. Freeview Plus EPGs must cover at least the next 8 days television and also allow for easy one-touch recording and scheduling.


Hard Disc: Freeview Plus devices use a hard disc for storage. This is used to store your recordings for later watching, and for temporary storage whilst pausing and rewinding live TV. The larger the hard disc capacity, the more content you can record.


One Touch Recording/Scheduling: Allows the recording of a programme to be started instantly by pressing the record button on the remote control. Future programmes can easily be scheduled by pressing the record button whilst the programme is highlighted in the EPG schedule listings.


Pause Live TV: Allows you to pause live TV and resume it at a later time. This is achieved by temporarily recording the television broadcast for the pause period. After pausing, playback will continue normally.


Rewind Live TV: Allows you to rewind a television programme which you have been watching. Freeview Plus devices automatically record television content as you watch it, allowing you to instantly skip back through the recording and continue watching without any break in the flow of the programme.


For more information visit the Freeview Plus website.


HD ready


A device which displays this logo is capable of supporting the picture resolution and wider bandwidth required for High Definition pictures.

In the case of a display such as a plasma or LCD television, this will mean that the screen has the resolution (the level of image detail) to render High Definition images properly. Some screens are merely High Definition compatible - this means that they will accept a high definition signal, but only render the picture in standard definition. This is not the same as HD ready. If you are looking for future-proofing and the best picture, your screen should be "HD Ready".

Source devices such as DVD players with the logo will deliver a High Definition resolution image, usually by upscaling standard definition images to the better format. Other sources of High Definition programming include the BBC’s service & Sky’s subscription services, both currently available via satellite, while in the future, High Definition will be available via the new digital TV platform, "Freeview" and from "Blu-ray" disc players.

Devices such as AV receivers can also be "High Definition Ready" if they have video switching which supports the increased bandwidth required to carry a high definition signal (typically via HDMI or component video connections)

Component video is a picture signal format. Component video inputs are most commonly found on plasma, LCD screens and projectors as the format supports a high-bandwidth, suitable for High-Definition signals.

HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. The HDMI connector is a digital interface which has global backing as the universal digital connector for home entertainment products. Capable of carrying a very large data rate, it is ideal for the latest generation of High-Definition sources and displays, it can carry picture, sound and other information between the latest generation of DVD players, plasma screens, computers and more - with the best performance yet.

HD Ready 1080p


A device which displays this logo is capable of supporting the picture resolution and wider bandwidth required for "Full" High Definition pictures, at a resolution of 1080 lines, in progressive scan format. This means you’ll get the very sharpest, most stable picture, currently available.

’1080’ refers to a picture or display resolution (the level of image detail) which has 1080 vertical pixels (individually controllable picture elements). With a wide-screen aspect ratio, this means that most ’1080’ pictures will have a resolution of 1920 horizontal x 1080 vertical pixels. The ’p’ refers to "progressive scan" format, delivering superior pictures by displaying refreshing the entire picture at once, for every video frame (compared to conventional "interlaced" pictures which require two passes or "scans" to refresh each frame, one containing the odd frames and the other containing the even frames). The progressive scan format is preferred in High Definition home cinema equipment as it produces a more stable image.

Note that ’HD Ready 1080p’ is not the same as ’HD Ready’. Devices bearing the ’HD Ready’ logo may only support 720p or 1080i (interlaced) resolutions. HD Ready 1080p devices deliver sharper and more detailed pictures than HD Ready devices, however, overall picture quality is also affected by many other factors.

In the case of a display such as a plasma or LCD television, HD Ready 1080p means that the screen has the resolution to properly render "full" High Definition 1920 x 1080 images in progressive scan format. Some screens are merely High Definition compatible - this means that they will accept a high definition signal, but only render the picture in standard definition. Some screens may be HD ready, supporting 720 vertical lines - still capable of delivering superior pictures but, on screens over 26", if you are looking for future-proofing and the best picture, you should consider a display which has a vertical resolution capable of supporting 1080p signals.

Source devices such as Blu-ray and DVD players with the logo will deliver High Definition 1080p images, either because the film has been recorded that way to disc or by upscaling standard definition images to the better format.

Devices such as AV receivers can also be ’HD Ready 1080p’ if they have video switching which supports the increased bandwidth required to carry a high definition 1080p signal (typically via HDMI connection)

HDMI


High Definition Multimedia Interface - the new Scart. The HDMI connector is a digital interface which has global backing as the universal digital connector for home entertainment products. Capable of carrying a very large amount of data, it can work for picture, sound and other information between the latest generation of DVD players, plasma & LCD screens, computers and more - with the best performance yet.

Several different versions of HDMI exist so it is important to check the version supported by both your electronics and the cable used. All versions can carry high definition video with resolutions up to 1080p and some multi-channel audio formats

Version 1.3 or higher is required for bitstream (encoded) transport of high definition, lossless audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio (such as from a Blu-ray player to an AV receiver).

Version 1.4 adds Ethernet networking between two compatible devices, and an audio return channel allowing two-way audio transport (ideal for carrying video from an AV receiver to a flatscreen TV and simultaneously carrying the audio from the TV to the AV receiver). Version 1.4 also adds support for future 3D applications and resolutions higher than 1080p. High speed version 1.3 cables (supporting bandwidths up to 10.2Gbps) will support all the features in the version 1.4 specification except for Ethernet networking.

Note that devices supporting a particular version of HDMI may not necessarily implement all the available features. For example, an AV receiver with HDMI v1.4, may not use Ethernet networking. Please check the specification of your devices to be certain of its supported features.

Further reading: http://www.hdmi.org

High Resolution Audio


High Resolution Audio delivers better-than-CD quality digital music. Often as near to the original recording as you can get, HR Audio gives you more detail and depth.

Increasing numbers of HiFi devices are being built to handle High Resolution Audio.

Internet Radio


Internet radio gives listeners a continuous stream of audio that can’t be paused or replayed. Most radio stations stream their programmes across the internet, and there are a large and ever growing number of internet-only radio stations. Computers, some radios, and many home cinema receivers, can now be connected to the internet to stream internet radio. There are thousands of stations available, and different companies' solutions use different directories, so some searching may be necessary to find what you want.

Last.fm


Last.fm is a music discovery and internet radio service which aims to find new music for its users based upon their song choices. It can be accessed from many different devices.

The Last.fm Scrobbler automatically fills your library and updates it with what you've been listening to on your computer or iPod. This information is used by the service to suggest new tracks.

Made for iPad


"Made for iPad" means that a device has been designed to connect specifically to iPad and has been certified to meet Apple performance standards.

Made for iPod


Devices carrying this logo have been certified by the developers to have been specifically designed to work with Apple iPods and to meet Apple’s performance standards. This is a guarantee of iPod compatibility for the device’s iPod dock connector.

Please be aware that this logo does not necessarily guarantee compatibility with all iPod models. Please check the product’s specification for more details of compatibility with specific models of iPod.

Mobile High-definition Link


Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) is a mobile audio/video interface that allows you to connect mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices to high-definition televisions and audio receivers. MHL supports up to 1080p/60 high-definition video and 7.1 surround sound audio while simultaneously charging the connected device. MHL-enabled products include AV receivers, Blu-ray Disc players, cables, televisions, projectors, smartphones, tablets, TV accessories and more.

MP3


A compression technology commonly used by computer owners to store large numbers of sound files in a small space. MP3 files can be burnt onto a CD or DVD or stored on a disk drive and played back in a compatible player. It is possible to burn 4.7GB of MP3 files onto a single DVD - this can equate to thousands of music tracks on a single disc.

Multi-region


To protect its own interests, enable the staggering of film release dates and to protect local copyright holders, the film industry and DVD manufacturers have divided the world into six DVD regions. The concept is that a DVD player bought in England (region 2) will not play a DVD disc bought in America (region 1), for example. However, this has proved very unpopular and as a result, we offer many of our DVD players as "MULTI-REGION", overriding the regional limitation otherwise built-in to DVD players and allowing you to play discs from other regions.

This is achieved via a simple software modification (without removing the player’s cover or making any sort of mechanical change) and is perfectly legal. The same guarantee applies to our "MULTI-REGION" players as is normal.

DVD region map of the world

The world’s DVD regions are:

(1) USA and Canada (2) Europe, Middle East, Japan and South Africa (3) South East Asia (4) South America and Australia (5) Africa, Most of Asia and Russia (6) China.

Napster


Started as a file-sharing service, Napster is now one of the big names in music streaming and discovery. Napster works on a number of differenjt devices (though it costs more to use it on your mobile phone) and can be accessed in different service levels.

Netflix


Started as a DVD rental by mail service, Netflix is now an internet television network with more than 36 million members in 40 countries, streaming TV programmes and films, including original series. The service works on nearly any internet-connected screen.

Neural Surround from THX


Neural Surround is a technology developed as a means to deliver surround sound soundtracks from conventional stereo sources, such as radio and television. Those with Neural Surround decoders are able to reveal an exciting, full surround soundtrack from suitably encoded sources - without compromising the performance that those with standard, stereo equipment enjoy, as normal.

Radio Text


An enhancement to RDS which offers scrolling text information from the broadcaster. This can include current programme details, the track title being played, traffic news - whatever they decide to offer.

For more information about RDS, click here.

RDS


Imagine a system of teletext for radio. R.D.S. tuners give extra information about FM broadcasts including: station naming, radio text (which stations can use to label individual tracks or let you know which programme is on), correct time, traffic announcement (which will interrupt a national broadcast with a local programme’s traffic report) and more.

PTY = Programme type (e.g. Classic, Pop, Rock, News, Current Affairs, Sports), CT = Clock time, PS = Programme Service (e.g. BBC Radio 4, Virgin), EON = Enhanced Other Networks (including TA = Traffic Announcement), RT = Radio Text

For more information about RDS, click here.

RDS & Radiotext


Imagine a system of teletext for radio. R.D.S. tuners give extra information about FM broadcasts including: station naming, radio text (which stations can use to label individual tracks or let you know which programme is on), correct time, traffic announcement (which will interrupt a national broadcast with a local programme’s traffic report) and more.

PTY = Programme type (e.g. Classic, Pop, Rock, News, Current Affairs, Sports), CT = Clock time, PS = Programme Service (e.g. BBC Radio 4, Virgin), EON = Enhanced Other Networks (including TA = Traffic Announcement), RT = Radio Text

Radio Text: An enhancement to RDS which offers scrolling text information from the broadcaster. This can include current programme details, the track title being played, traffic news - whatever they decide to offer.

For more information about RDS, click here.

Real


A compression technology which enables large audio or video files to be reduced in size and then "streamed" over the Internet, allowing broadcasters to deliver their services via an Internet connection in real time.

Reciva


In excess of ten thousand radio stations broadcast their programs via the Internet. In contrast to traditional radio, these stations are instantly accessible regardless of your location, providing you with an unparalleled variety of programme material, ranging from mainstream content provided by major broadcasters that you already know, to alternative content from niche markets. They’ll even deliver popular "Listen Again" services, such as the extensive archive found on the BBC Radio website.

Reciva provide the technology to enable one radio to tune in to all these stations - over 99% of the world’s broadcasters. Yet with so many thousands of stations available, browsing is simple. Your radio connects directly to the Reciva gateway via the Internet and enables you to search using the name, geography or genre of a programme. All that is required is a broadband connection with either a WiFi wireless connection (such as is found on many broadband routers or in WiFi Hotspots) or a standard "Ethernet" network connection, depending on the radio’s design.

What’s more, should a new service launch which isn’t already in the near-comprehensive Reciva database, you can simply visit their website and request that it be added here.

S/VCD


A disc based video format, most commonly used in parts of Asia. Discs look the same as ordinary CDs and DVDs but picture and sound are not as good as DVD.

Super VCD (or SVCD) improves on the VCD format, delivering superior sound and picture and easier navigation around a disc but is still not as good as DVD.

SACD


Stands for Super Audio Compact Disc. An audio format which delivers a much higher resolution then that of standard CD and a more "live" sound. The format also supports multi-channel sound and is therefore considered a large improvement on standard CD.

Spotify


Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services. It offers free or paid subscriptions and can be accessed from many different devices.

Spotify has many social features, letting you share your music choices through Facebook or Twitter and find new music based upon what you, and your friends, are listening to.

THX Select


THX was founded by film-maker George Lucas to address standards in cinema design and performance. THX Select is a certification of hardware performance, as defined by the company. Certified products are guaranteed to meet certain stringent performance and specification criteria, as well as offering custom THX decoding modes and bass management for movies and music.

THX Select2/Surr EX


THX was founded by film-maker George Lucas to address standards in cinema design and performance. THX Select2 is a quality certification of hardware performance, as defined by the company. Certified products are guaranteed to meet certain performance and specification criteria. THX Surround EX offers custom THX decoding modes for movies and music, delivering 6.1 and 7.1 decoding of 5.1 soundtracks so that those with full 7.1 speaker systems can enjoy the benefits from 5.1 encoded recordings.

THX Ultra2/Surr EX


THX was founded by film-maker George Lucas to address standards in cinema design and performance. THX Ultra2 is a high-end certification of hardware performance, as defined by the company. Certified products are guaranteed to meet certain stringent performance and specification criteria, designed for the latest 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 multi-channel audio. THX Surround EX offers custom THX decoding modes for movies and music, delivering 6.1 and 7.1 decoding of 5.1 soundtracks so that those with full 7.1 speaker systems can enjoy the benefits from 5.1 encoded recordings.

UHD Premium


Ultra HD Premium displays deliver more detailed images through greater colour depth, and what is known as High Dynamic Range. UHD Premium TVs have a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160 and 10 bit colour depth (giving over a billion colours). It must also have a far wider contrast range, delivering brighter whites, deeper blacks, and more detail in between.

USB2


USB (or Universal Serial Bus) is a universal connection type which greatly simplifies connecting and disconnecting of devices from a computer.

USB is simple because equipped devices are "Plug’n’play" - they all connect using the same interface, no special hardware has to be added to a computer to enable a USB device to connect and they can be plugged in and unplugged while the computer is running.

This might be to connect an MP3 player to a computer to transfer music files, or to connect a PVR or DAB radio to update its built-in software. USB is powered, so can also be used as a charging point for some devices and, because it can carry data of different types, can also carry audio signals between devices.

WiFi Networking


WiFi Networking: WiFi Networking refers to a type of wireless connectivity which allows devices to connect to computer networks. Devices with wireless networking may connect to home networks with wireless functionality, usually provided by a wireless router or modem.

Wireless devices such as WiFi radios or AV receivers may support media streaming from compatible media servers and computers and/or connect to the internet to receive internet radio stations. The two most common media streaming systems are DLNA and uPnP. Two devices with same system should be able to share media without problems.

Some wireless devices such as media centre PCs and games consoles may also feature advanced web browsing and email functionality.

In the case of speakers and some wireless audio systems, wireless technology is sometimes used to remove the need for speaker cable, usually for the rear speakers in a home cinema system, or to allow multi-room applications. These wireless audio systems do not usually connect to home networks and therefore do not have media streaming or Internet functionality.

Windows Media


WMA stands for Windows Media Audio and, like MP3, is an audio compression technology used to squeeze more soundtrack in to a smaller space compared with, for instance, compact disc.

DVD Players which display the "Plays Windows Media" badge offer replay of discs burned with files which use the "WMA" file extension.

WMA is also the first digital surround sound coding technology for the web, according to Microsoft.

Amplifiers which bear the "Plays Windows Media" badge will decode the format from compatible sources (such as a multi-channel-equipped PC), delivering high resolution stereo or 5.1-channel surround audio at compression rates between 128 & 768 Kbps. At any given bit rate, 5-channel "WMA9 Pro" is claimed to bring higher fidelity than many other sound compression technologies.

Works with iPhone


Devices carrying this logo have been certified by the developers to have been specifically designed to work with the Apple iPhone and to meet Apple’s performance standards. This is a guarantee of iPhone compatibility for the device’s iPod/iPhone dock connector.

Please be aware that this logo does not necessarily guarantee compatibility with all iPhone models. Please check the product’s specification for more details of compatibility with specific models of iPod/iPhone.

YouTube


YouTube is the third most visited site on the internet, serving up user-uploaded, streaming video. The service is available on a large number of set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and televisions, as well as computers. A broadband connection to the internet is required to watch YouTube videos.

YouView


YouView is a hybrid digital TV service. A partnership between three telecommunications operators and four broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), YouView provides free access to Freeview Television and TV on demand services through a set-top box with a broadband connection and a television antenna. There is no contract and no subscription for accessing catch-up and Freeview content.

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