In the TV industry and related fields there are many acronyms in use, many of which people don’t understand, or get wrong. We have heard just about every variation on UHF possible over the years, so here we’d like to try and help you out with them. Throughout our website we do use acronyms, but we’ve tried to keep it simple by using the full name at least once in the article, followed by the acronym in brackets. If there are any we’ve missed, please comment, and we’ll add them in.
By clicking on the acronym you’ll be taken to an explanation of what it is.
What they stand for
|DECT||Digitally Encoded Cordless Telephone|
|DVB-S||Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite|
|DVB-T||Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial|
|DVD||Digital Versatile Disc|
|HDCP||High Definition Content Protection|
|HDMI||High Definition Multimedia Interface|
|HE-AAC||High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding|
|HTPC||Home Theatre Personal Computer|
|LCD||Liquid Crystal Display|
|LNB||Low Noise Block|
|MHEG||Multimedia and Hypermedia Experts Group|
|MPEG||Moving Picture Experts Group|
|PSU||Power Supply Unit|
|PVR||Personal Video Recorder|
|RCA||Radio Corporation of America|
|RGB||Red / Green / Blue|
|SCART||Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs|
|STB||Set Top Box|
|S-VHS||Super-Video Home System|
|UPS||Uninteruptable Power Supply|
|UHF||Ultra High Frequency|
|VCR||Video Cassette Recorder|
|VHF||Very High Frequency|
|VHS||Video Home System|
What they mean
AV – Audio Visual
Often incorrectly used to describe a composite RCA cable. Refers to signals, transmissions, and programmes with both sound and visual components. Often used by manufacturers of TVs, VCRs and DVD recorders to name an input, eg AV1, AV2 etc.
DECT – Digitally Encoded Cordless Telephone
A type of cordless phone designed to eliminate the chance of cross-talk, and other people listening in on your conversation. 1.8GHz in frequency, though WDECT is 2.4GHz. DECT phones can be distinguished from other frequencies by their lack of aerial on either the handset or the base unit (though very occasionally you may find another frequency of phone without an aerial).
DVB-S – Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite
The standard used for broadcasting digital television images and audio via a satellite using a frequency range of 11 / 12 GHz. Multiple channels are multiplexed together (joined) to form a programme stream. One or more of these programme streams are then joined into a transmission stream which is then sent via a satellite and beamed to your satellite dish. A number of transmission streams can be sent from each satellite, using transponders on the satellite transmitting at different frequencies.
DVD – Digital Versatile Disc
Originally these were known as a Digital Video Disc, until they gained popularity in the computer industry for storing data. Single and dual layer versions are available. Both layers on a dual layer disc are on the same side of the disc, and are read consecutively by moving the laser on the read head to a different angle. Single layers hold approximately 4 GigaBytes (GB) of data, dual 8GB compared to a CD which holds 700 MegaBytes (MB), or 0.7GB. Dual layer discs are usually used for holding movies / video. Single layer predominantly for use in PCs as they are significantly cheaper than dual layers. Discs come in a variety of flavours beyond the two layer types, the description of which goes beyond the scope of this article.
HDMI – High Definition Multimedia Interface
The 15 pin interface used on High Definition devices to transmit a digital video/audio signal from one device to another. Early revisions do not carry audio signals or HDCP signalling. The length of cables is limited to 10m without amplification. Typically with amplification as much as 80m can be attained.
HTPC – Home Theatre Personal Computer
Gaining popularity as the new generation of media players, HTPCs are typically used by tech-savvy people to play DVDs, watch movies and shows downloaded from the internet, play music, watch and record TV (both analogue, and digital). Able to be used as a PVR they can be a more versatile alternative to a MyFreeview unit, and are often available at competitive prices. Can be purchased already setup for those who aren’t quite so technically minded.
IF – Intermediate Frequency
Due to the high frequencies used in satellite transmissions, there is a need to reduce the frequency to something that is capable of passing through coaxial cable. Intermediate frequency (IF) are generated by mixing the RF and LO frequency together to create a lower frequency called IF. This IF is the signal that passes through the coax from the LNB to the STB.
LNB – Low Noise Block
Sometimes referred to as an LNB-F (feedhorn) or LNC (Low Noise Converter)
The LNB is the business end of the satellite dish, located at the end of the arm facing the dish, either below center (for an offset dish) or directly in the middle (centre focus dish). The purpose of the LNB is to convert a block of relatively high frequencies, and through the use of a local oscillator, convert them to lower, usuable frequencies. The high incoming frequencies are not able to be easily (or economically) transmitted down inexpensive coaxial cable, hence the conversion.
A number of varieties are available, Ku band being the most common, C band is used primarily on large dishes not used in residential situations for the most part (the exception being for some foreign TV channels). Single and dual LNBs are common, with Sky upgrading their dishes to a dual LNB capable of viewing both Optus D1 and C1. Sky plans to use a quad output LNB in the future for their MySky Hdi decoders though details of this have yet to be confirmed.
LO – Local Oscillator
A local oscillator (with regards to satellite trnasmissions) is an electronic device in the LNB used to convert the incoming signal to a different intermediate frequency (IF) that the coaxial cable is capable of carrying. These usually have a value of 11300MHz or 10750MHz, though 9750MHz and 10600MHz are also in use.
RF – Radio Frequency
A range of signals which can be transmitted through the air, or through cable. Used by radio stations, terrestrial TV transmissions, internal house cabling for TV aerials, interconnecting VCRs, TVs and other analogue devices.
RGB – Red / Green / Blue
A type of interconnect not commonly used anymore, significantly better than composite signals, but has been superceded by component. RGB adds together the three primary colours red, green and blue to produce the broad range of colours you see on the screen.
SCART – Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs
SCART (Radio and Television Receiver Manufacturer’s Association) is a French-originated standard and associated 21-pin connector for connecting audio-visual (AV) equipment together. Predominantly used in the UK, there are some TVs using it in NZ, though they tend to be either European manufacterers such as Loewe, Grundig or Nokia, or cheap imports from the likes of the Warehouse, DSE, Countdown etc. Also used on many digital STBs including Sky’s. The SCART connector is capable of carrying a number of signals simultaneously, in either direction – Composite, RGB and S-Video. Component is not officially part of the standard but is often available on recent equipment anyway. It is also known as Péritel (especially in France, where the term SCART is practically unknown), 21-pin EuroSCART (Sharp’s marketing term for an attempt to market the connector in the Asian region) and Euroconnector.
SD – Standard Definition
Also called SDTV or 576i. Typically used in reference to digital TV. 576 lines of picture (in NZ, other countries vary slightly) which are displayed on the TV screen in an interlaced fashion. Interlaced meaning that alternate lines are displayed on each pass of the picture, 1,3,5 etc on the first pass, 2,4,6 etc on the second.
UPS – Uninteruptable Power Supply
Containing a battery backup system, a UPS can come in a variety of flavours (on-line, off-line etc), all having the same purpose – to protect downstream devices from power surges and outages. Some units work with devices drawing continuously from the battery, while charging at the same time, separating the device completely from the power line ad eliminating the chance to power spikes etc reaching the device. Others switch (very quickly) the device from the power line to the battery when voltage variations are detected. A UPS is the next (big) step up from a surge protector as they protect not only from spikes and surges, but also undervoltage situations which can be just as damaging. These units are usually used on commercial computer systems, though some home users are beginning to recognise the advantages. Varying sized batteries are available providing power for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on how much current is drawn.
VHS – Video Home System
A recording and playback standard developed by JVC in the mid-70’s. VHS tapes are played and recorded on in VCRs using a magnetic head system. The life span of tapes is limited, particularly when stored near magnetic fields (such as TV and Stereo speakers). Susceptible to picking up dirt from the VCRs heads which results in picture degradation. Largely defunct now as DVD and Bluray discs have replaced VHS tapes for pre-recorded playback, and DVD and HDDs for home recording and playback.
Many thanks to wikipedia.org for providing clarifications on some points.