The Ultimate TV & Video Glossary

21 January 2015

TV Glossary

Unsure whether you need an OLED over an LED? You’re not alone! Buying a new TV can be like stepping into a minefield. You’ll tip toe your way through tons of hidden technical terms, each with their own set of values, resulting in you becoming confused and not wanting to take another step forward.

With the technology continually developing, the mass of TV and video terms are getting rather bloated. Fear not though, every term you’ll ever need to look up and understand is right here! This is the definitive resource on the web.

Voucher Codes Pro are here to help you understand your ‘4K’ from your ‘HDMI’, making shopping for a new TV a lot easier to digest. 

For more top advice when buying a new TV, check out these stellar buying guides and blogs from around the web:

Money Saving Expert's Buying Guide's TV Buying Guide

Tech Radar's 2015 TV Buying Guide

Trusted Reviews TV Buying Guide

Which? TV Buying Guide

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


10-bit display panel – see ‘colour resolution’.

1080i – 1080 is the gold standard high-definition video format, running at 1920 x 1080 pixels. High-definition TV programs are broadcasted in 1080i, an alternative to ‘1080p’. The difference is subtle, with the only change being how the picture is relayed onto the screen (see interlaced-scan for more).

1080p – HDTVs which display 1080p run images at 60 frames per second. This is the 'Full-HD' benchmark. Blu-ray discs are also recorded in 1080p. The 'p' is associated with the way the picture is relayed onto the screen (see progressive-scan for more). 

16:9 – See ‘aspect ratio’.

24p – A film in the cinema is shown at 24 frames per second. Blu-ray discs are also encoded to 24p. Your TV/Blu-ray player will either be capable of running 24p natively or have the ability to convert the signal. The former is the more desirable option as visible side effects of converting the signal can show during faster scenes.  

3D sound – Your TV might have a setting that includes ‘3D sound’. This aims to match the soundtrack of what’s happening on screen. For example, if a plane is flying out of screen at you, the sound will do the same. 

3D TV – Special technology which adds a sense of depth to the picture. Films and TV programmes made with 3D in mind will appear as though they are coming out of the screen. In effect, a left and a right version of the images on screen are created and blurred together, but with the use of special glasses, the respective left or right image will go to your left or right eye. Special glasses are required to appreciate the 3D effect, otherwise the screen’s image will appear flat and blurry. See ‘active shutter glasses’ and ‘passive 3D glasses’ for more. 

4:3 – See ‘aspect ratio’.

4K (Ultra HD) – This is the new kid on the block. Modern TVs are now starting to roll out with 4K resolution. 4K is 4x the image quality of standard high-definition, boasting 4096 horizontal pixels per line. This is where it has gotten the name Ultra HD.

5.1 Sound – An arrangement of six speakers, one of which being a low-frequency subwoofer speaker to provide bass. The desired effect is to create an immersive surround sound experience. See ‘Dolby Digital’ for more. 

600Hz sub field drive – Plasma TVs often boast a higher image processing rate, commonly measured at 600Hz. Plasma TVs use a different technology than that found in LCD screens, resulting in super-fast refresh rates, minimising motion blur and producing smooth moving images.

720p – A progressively scanned high-definition format, operating at 1280 x 720, inferior to 1080p.


Active shutter glasses – Some 3D TVs require each user to wear a special pair of glasses. These battery-powered liquid crystal glasses continually lighten or darken the 3D images coming from the screen. This happens hundreds of times per second, making it barely noticeable to the naked eye. The result is a 3D image.

Ambient light sensors – A series of sensors commonly found on large screen TVs, 32-inches and over. Designed to help save energy by adjusting the brightness of the screen’s backlight in accordance to the general light of the room. 

Anti-blur technology – Fast moving scenes can cause some TVs to show signs of motion blur, particularly on LCD or LED TVs with lower motion rates (see Hertz). Depending on the TVs make, the name for their anti-blur technology may vary. For example, Sony has ‘Motionflow’, Samsung has ‘Auto Motion Plus’ and LG use ‘TruMotion’. 

Apps (Applications) – You’re likely to find apps on a Smart TV. These can change depending on the brand of TV but they will generally include Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer and a selection of interactive games. 

ARC (Audio Return Channel) – This allows the audio to be carried from the TV’s internal tuner to an external device via single HDMI, without the need for unnecessary optical or coaxial digital audio cables.

Artefacts – The unwanted visual disturbances in your picture. Described best as “pixilation” due to problems with the digital transmission or video processing. Bad weather or electrical interference are common causes for these disturbances. 

Aspect ratio­ – This details the size of the viewing area on your TV. HDTVs commonly use a wider 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to the standard, box-like 4:3, to accommodate widescreen content like high-definition programmes and films. 

Auto power-off – A useful energy-saving extra which will automatically turn your TV off if it’s been left idle for a period of time.

Automatic volume control (AVC) – Clever tech that prevents adverts from sounding overtly loud. The software will either compress the dynamic range or balance the sound levels automatically.


Backlight scanning – An additional anti-blur technology found in select TV models. Motion blur can be caused by the continuous light from a TV’s backlight; usually found in LCD and LED TVs. Backlight scanning causes the backlight to pulse at extreme speeds to reduce the motion blur. Combined with a fast refresh rate, the chances of experiencing motion blur is greatly reduced.

Back-lit LED TVs – A number of small LED lamps stretching across the length and breadth of the rear of the screen. Edge-lit TVs are thinner but can sacrifice performance consistency (see Edge-lit LED TV).

Bitrate – This is the measure used to calculate the rate at which data is transmitted or processed. The higher the bitrate, the more data is being processed; allowing a greater picture resolution. Digital video formats bitrates are measured in megabits-per-second (Mbps). Standard DVDs is 11Mbps; broadcasted HD programming is 19.4Mbps and Blu-ray has a maximum of 54Mbps.

Black level control – The colour black is a particularly challenging colour to get right for some TVs. Black level control improves the viewing experience by allowing you to alter how deep the black on screen appears.

Blu-ray disc – A high-definition disc format and considerable upgrade to a standard DVD. Blu-ray discs can hold 50 GB worth of data, running HD video in 1080p resolution. This means much more lifelike and clear video than a standard DVD.

Burn-in – When buying a plasma TV, you should question if it is at risk of screen burn. This is the possible side effect of having a static image etch its way onto the screen’s phosphor coating. This was a particular problem on early TV models when an image, such as the score board during a game, was left on screen for an extended period of time. A faint imprint of the score board could be seen when you’d change to another channel. 


Chrominance – The term used for the colour component of a video signal. The chrominance data will include information regarding the hue and saturation of the colour.

Colour resolution (colour bit depth) – The measure of colour accuracy and defining how fine the gradations can be between different shades of the same colour. Most commonly, TVs use an 8-bit display for colour resolution, translating to 256 possible shades of each primary colour; red, green and blue. This amounts to 16.7 million possible colours. Some TVs will run a 10-bit display, measuring a colour resolution of 1024 possible shades and over one billion possible colours. 

Colour space – A way of measuring the range of colours available. A wider colour space would open potential to deeper shades.

Component video – Found on the back most TVs, this input is made up of three coloured sockets; red, green and blue. It as an additional input for higher quality video from external devices such as camcorders, game’s consoles and more. It is a good alternative for a HD signal if HDMI is unavailable.

Contrast ratio – This specification will relay the difference between how dark and light your TV is able to go. The higher the contrast number, the better the picture quality will generally be. Higher numbers mean more realistic, deeper blacks and vibrant whites.

CRT (Cathode-Ray Tube) – This was the technology found in the deep ‘box’ style TVs of the past. It is unlikely you’ll be buying a CRT screen anytime soon as they have now been forced out of the market by flat-screen TVs. 

Curved display TV – A curved display provides better viewing angles for everyone in the room and produces a panoramic effect, enabling the picture to feel bigger than it is. Similar to iMax, this wraparound effect allows the image to fill up more of your vision than a flat screen. This also helps to cut out screen glare.


Deep Colour – This colour resolution technology grants potential access to billions of colour variants. Found in high-definition TVs that have HDMI 1.3 inputs, deep colour supports 10-bit, 12-bit and 16-bit colour bit depths. See ‘colour resolution’ for more. 

Digital audio output – The audio output which connects to an A/V receiver with Dolby Digital decoding. See optical digital output for more.

Digital processing – Depending on the brand of TV, each will boast about their own proprietary digital processing technology found within their TVs. This software is designed to improve the incoming digital signals and output an enhanced picture for your benefit. Sony uses X-Reality Pro, Panasonic has the Hexa engine, Samsung use their Wide Colour Enhancer Plus and LG boast the XD Engine.

DLNA – TVs which are DLNA-certified can wirelessly access media from other DLNA-certified devices. For example, you can stream images and videos over your home network from certain smartphones, tablets and computers which share the same network.

Dolby Digital – The digital audio standard for HDTV. This can utilise anything from 1 to 5.1 audio channels. For example, a home cinema system which uses Dolby Digital 5.1 will direct the audio to 5 different speakers to create an immersive surround soundexperience.

Downconversion – All modern TV screens have a fixed number of pixels available for displaying images. However, if a video source requires a higher number of pixels than the TV’s resolution can account for, it will be automatically downconverted to fit the screen. Whilst this will result in an inferior image, it does not necessarily mean the image will look terrible. For example, a HD broadcast using 1080i will still look great at 720p.

DTS sound – An advanced surround sound technology which has been developed specifically for flat panel TVs. TVs using this software will have the ability to tune their speakers to obtain the best performance possible from the hardware. Audio cues and spatial rendering techniques help to provide a realistic and immersive surround sound experience. 

DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting) – The standard tuner used to receive Freeview broadcast signals. See Freeview more.

DVB-T2 (Digital Video Broadcasting) – An advanced digital television receiver. DVB-T2 signals are much stronger and less prone to interference than DVB-T tuners. DVB-T2 compatible tuners are necessary for TVs to receive HD channels over Freeview signals.  Set-top boxes which receive HD channels are already compatible with DVB-T2 broadcasts. See Freeview HD for more.

DVD – A digital optical disc storage format. These are mass produced and used to distribute TV and film media. Video is recorded onto the disc in standard-definition due to storage restrictions. A DVD player is required to play a DVD.

DVI (Digital Video Interface) – An older style of connection, rarely found on modern HDTVs. It has the ability to carry high-resolution video signals but unlike HDMI (see HDMI), it is incapable of carrying audio. You can get a DVI to HDMI adapter but you’ll still need the relevant cables to obtain any audio.

Dynamic backlight – Common in LED and LCD television, backlights help to illuminate the image being outputted onto the TV screen. A dynamic backlight will adjust itself depending on what content is on the screen at any time. For example, a darker scene will dim the light, whereas a brighter scene will be boosted by the backlight. 

Dynamic noise reduction – A filter which helps to remove any picture interferences e.g.; film grain, compression artefacts and pixilation. It has a more noticeable effect on standard-definition channels. May be called “digital noise reduction”.


Eco sensor – This tech measures the level of light in the room and then automatically optimises the level of brightness of the image on the TV. In a well-lit room, the sensor will increase the on-screen brightness of an image. On the other hand, the sensor will reduce the brightness under darker room conditions. This change in light intensity makes it easier on your eyes, relaxing the muscles.

Edge-lit LED TV – These TVs displays are lit by LED lights found along the edges of the screen. The benefits of such result into having an even slimmer TV. Earlier models struggled with inconsistent lighting but modern edge-lit LED TVs use much more sophisticated technology.

Electronic programme guide (EPG) – Generally found on LED, LCD and Plasma TVs, the guide details the upcoming programmes due to air on your available channels throughout the week. You can access further information and even set programmes to be recorded if your TV has a PVR (see PVR).

Energy efficiency class – Under an EU directive, the recognisable EU Energy Label can be found on home electrical appliances. The labels rate the appliance on a scale of A+++ to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G, the least energy efficient. The label also states extra information, including the average annual power consumption. See ‘power consumption’ for more.

ENERGY STAR certified – An energy-saving program which was first introduced in 1992 by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). They devised certain energy standards for product power consumption during ‘standby’ mode. ENERGY STAR certified TVs are up to 40 percent more energy efficient than non-certified models.

Ethernet port – The input available on ‘Internet ready’ TVs. Commonly found on Smart TV models which require an internet connection to access the extra features and functions. An Ethernet cable connects from your home’s network router/modem, to the TV.


Flat-panel display – This is the simple term used when categorising LCD, Plasma and LED technologies.

Frame rate – The measure for providing the rate of frames being displayed. The frame rate of a progressive-scan video format (see progressive-scan for more) is twice that of an interlaced-scan format. For example, progressive formats like 480p, 720p and 1080p provide 60 fps, double the frame of standard 30 fps.

Freesat – Mixing the best of satellite TV and Freeview. This service will require a Freesat set-top box or built-in tuner and a satellite dish. The subscription-free service offers a larger channel selection than basic Freeview, including HD broadcasts. 

Freetime – The TV guide used with the Freesat service; available on set top boxes and the latest Panasonic TVs. It allows the user to browse over 200 channels, pause, record and rewind TV, as well as the ability to scroll back through the past 7 days to catch up on what’s been missed.

Freeview - This is a UK digital broadcast model. All television programmes are sent via digital signals and made accessible via Freeview. Freeview opens a heap of original channels in comparison to the obsolete 1 to 5 analogue signal service. 

Freeview HD – Select TV models will have an internal Freeview HD tuner but it can be otherwise accessed through a separate Freeview HD set-top box. Similar to standard Freeview but with added free-to-view high-definition channels, such as BBCHD and ITVHD. See DVB-T2 for more.

Full HD – Full HD TVs will have screen resolutions capable of 1920 x 1080p, offering crystal clear picture quality for Blu-ray films and HD broadcasts.



HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) – A high-definition video and audio input. You’ll need a HDMI cable to connect other HDMI equipped devices, such as games consoles, Blu-ray players and HD set-top boxes (Sky & Virgin). Larger TVs normally have numerous HDMI ports to connect more than one device.

HDMI-CEC – This allows you to control addition devices, which are connected to your TV via HDMI, with a single remote. CEC stands for “Consumer Electronics Control”, a 2-way communications system which can function with up to 10 compatible devices. Depending on your TV’s manufacturer, it may be under a different name; Samsungs ‘Anynet+’, Panasonics ‘EZ-Sync’ and LGs ‘Simplink’ to name a few.

HDR (Higher Dynamic Range) – Capable of accessing a greater contrast palette, offering a potentially better picture.

HD-ready – HD-ready TVs are generally cheaper than ‘Full HD’ models, offering the minimum screen resolution necessary to display a broadcasted HD picture. Blu-ray movies which use Full HD will not be as sharp. 

HD TV (High-Definition Television) – Boasting twice the standard picture resolution as normal standard-definition TVs. Offering enhanced audio and visuals, TV broadcasts are continually expanding with more HD channels being made available. Subscription service Sky offer the most HD channels but Freeview HDdoesn’t require a subscription.

Headphone output – Your TV may have a designated output for a 3.5mm stereo jack, commonly used for headphones. Perfect when you need to keep the noise down. This output can also connect to an external speaker with a compatible 3.5mm stereo lead.

Hertz (Hz) – This is the measure of how many times a picture is produced and processed on screen. The standard measure of hertz is 50. Normal broadcasts are currently recorded at 50 Hz but more and more TVs use a higher number of hertz for superior motion and picture quality. Generally, a TV with a 100 – 200 or higher rate of hertz will result in an excellent picture.

Home cinema – An optional bundle of audio and video equipment that you may choose to purchase, in conjunction with your TV. Usually comprising of several speakers, a subwoofer unit and a Blu-ray player. The placement of speakers and the way that they connect to your TV will recreate the surround sound experience of being in a cinema. See ‘surround sound’ for more. 


Instant on – A power-related function; allowing a much faster start-up process. If this feature is turned on, you can expect your TV to turn on and be ready to use quicker than normal.

Integrated Manual – The user manual can be found throughout the TV’s menus. Helpful for wanting to know what features and functions your TV is capable of, on the fly. 

Interlaced scan – A term used to describe how certain video signals form an image. An image formed through an interlaced scan is made up of two fields of data. The first field has 262.5 odd lines and the second field has 262.5 even lines. Each field is scanned in 1/60th of a second after the other, forming a complete frame/picture of 525 lines in 1/30th of a second.

Internet-ready TV – The TV is capable of connecting to your home’s internet. This mean you’ll be able to access online content and services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Depending on the TV make and model, your access may be limited to certain applications. Some internet-ready TVs have fully working internet browsers (see Smart TV for more).




LCD TV (Liquid Crystal Display) – A TV which uses lamps to shine light through liquid crystal cells within the front panel. This projects the image onto the screen, allowing a variable number of colours through to create a picture.

LED TV (Light Emitting Diode) – Similar to an LCD TV but instead of using a series of lamps, it replaces them with very small LEDs. The lights will then illuminate the image onto the screen. LEDs allow for a slimmer TV and have proven to be a more energy efficient component than lamps.

Letterbox video – An aspect ratio term, used to describe the method that displays the full picture, as seen in a cinema, onto a TV screen. When watching certain films or TV shows, you’ll notice black bars above and below the image on screen.

Local dimming – Adjusts the backlight in difference parts of the screen, found in back-lit LED TVs. This results in darker, richer blacks and crisper whites according to the action found on-screen. 

Luminance – A term that may be used to measure the brightness or black and white part of a video signal’s colour component. The higher the number, the greater level of picture detail.


Magic remote – An additional accessory available with LG TV sets. Acting as an optional remote, it uses a mix of point, scroll, gesture and voice controls to navigate the entertainment features found on the TV. Its uses include browsing the internet, navigating menus and accessing Smart app’s content. 

Motion blur – Directly linked with pixel response times and processing rates. If a TV doesn’t have a great processing rate, you’ll notice a blurred trail, particularly during fast moving scenes. For example, during a fast paced game of football, you may notice a blur effect as the frenetic action plays out. 


Native resolution – An alternative way to explain a TVs native resolution. Measured by the number of pixels on a single screen (width x height). The most common amongst HDTV is 1920 x 1080; AKA 1080p. HD (High Definition) runs native 1080p but SDTV (Standard Definition) does not, hence the vast difference in picture quality between the two formats.

NFC (Near-Field Communication) – An intuitive technology that allows you to use your smartphone alongside your TV, for unique purposes. An NFC compatible TV and phone can share media and information such as web pages, social media, video and more. This could be used to mirror what’s on your smartphone, straight to the TV.

Noise reduction – See ‘Dynamic Noise Reduction’. 


OLED TV (Organic Light Emitting Diode) – Similar to the LED TV but exceeding those models by eradicating the need for any kind of backlight. This means the TV can be even thinner than previous LED units, and ultimately being able to produce a better image, including deeper blacks than ever before. 

Optical digital output – If you want to use surround sound, there are two types of digital audio connection, both capable of carrying stereo signals; coaxial (copper wire) and optical (fibre optic). Make sure you’re TV has the appropriate outputs.


PAL (Phase Alternate Line) – The television broadcasting system used in most of Europe. When you see your TV’s standard is labelled as ‘PAL’, it just means it’s going to work within most of Europe. 

Parental lock – Gives the user total control of what younger family members can or can’t view. A handy function if you’d like to put a pin-protection on certain channels after a particular time, when the more adult-friendly programmes begin to broadcast. You can also lock out certain channels altogether. 

Passive 3D glasses – Unlike ‘active shutter glasses’, these do not require a battery, nor do they appear to flicker when in use. Instead, the special lenses work hand in hand with the 3D TVs that use this alternative 3D technology.

PCMCIA – A card slot found on the side of some TVs. This allows access to TUTV (Top Up TV); a smart card which enables you to get paid TV subscription services like Sky Sports.

Picture-in-picture (PIP) – The ability to display a small image of another channel or video source in the corner of the screen while you continue to watch the main image or use on-screen menus, such as a programme guide.

Pillar-boxed video – The opposite to ‘letterbox video’. The left and right of the screen shows black vertical lines; a result of a non-widescreen, 4:3 image, being displayed on a 16:9 widescreen.  

Pixel – The unit used to measure screen resolution. A general rule for pixels applies; the more you can fit into the same area of the screen, the higher the picture’s resolution, the clearer the image.

Pixel response time – The pixels which make up a TV’s display are continuously at work. They change from an active to non-active state depending on what’s happening on screen. Poor pixel response time will result in motion blur, particularly visible in fast-moving scenes. 

Plasma TV – The display is made by very small gas cells trapped between two sheets of glass. The cells emit ultraviolet lights that hit the red, green and blue spots on the display to create the image.

Ports – The number of connections found on the side or back of your TV. These are used to connect additional devices to or from your TV. This could include USB sticks, games consoles and Blu-ray players.

Power consumption – Annual – The average annual power consumption, based on EU measures. This measurement will determine just how energy friendly a TV will be over the course of a year.

Power consumption On mode – The average daily power consumption, based on EU measures. Measured in watts (W), this will give you an idea of how energy efficient a TV is. Bear in mind, the rated power consumption is based on maximum continuous use but it may differ from brand to brand. 

Power consumption Standby – The average power consumption during standby mode, based on EU measures. When you turn the TV off by the remote, it will enter ‘standby’ mode. This puts the TV into a low power state, making it available for a quicker power-on sequence when you next turn it on. 

Processing rate – The general rule for a blur-free moving picture is a good processing rate. Measured in Hertz (Hz) on your TV’s specifications; the higher the number, the better. A good HDTV will utilise other techniques to create an even smoother picture. 

Progressive scan – A term used to describe how certain video signals form an image. An image formed through a progressive scan displays the entire frame in a single sweep, as opposed to being interlaced (see interlaced scan). Progressive scan is arguably better than interlaced (1080p vs 1080i). All modern TVs will likely display video using progressive scan.

Projector – A video display device, separate from a TV that projects a large image onto an unconnected screen. You can place the projector on a table or mount it to a ceiling. Projectors are capable of displaying images up to 10 feet across, or larger. Modern projectors use LCD technology.

PVR (Programmable video recorder) – The ability to set recordings of live TV programmes using a recognisable TV guide style menu and then choosing to watch, keep or delete them from your library. Some PVRs, like Sky’s Sky+ box, let you store up to 1TB of content and even pause live television. However, it is becoming more common for new TVs to have their own PVR functionality built-in. You can attach a hard drive into the USB port and then access similar features to a normal PVR.



Refresh rate – See ‘processing rate’. 

Remote control – A standard accessory that you should always receive with a new TV. This essential hand remote will grant you access to all of the TV functions and menus. Some manufacturers supply a model-specific remote which has its own special features; like LG’s ‘magic remote’ or Samsung’s ‘smart remote’.

Resolution – Referring to the clarity of the image that is displayed on your TV screen. This generally determines how many pixels are being used to create what you see on the picture. It is measured on a vertical and horizontal axis. The higher the number of pixels, the better the quality of the image. Most common outputs modern TVs are capable of include 1080p, 1080i and 4K.

RF input (radio frequency) – The aerial socket input found on the back of the TV. Broadcast signals are received by the TV’s built-in tuner or external set-top box.


Satellite TV – Sky TV or Freesat customers will require a satellite to receive the vast number of channels associated with the service. The signals are sent via satellite communications, hence why Sky TV customers always have a satellite installed on the outside of their house.

Scaler – This handy tech converts a video signal to a different resolution, other than its original format. For one reason or another, a scaler can downconvert or upconvert. For example, a Blu-ray player might have the ability to upconvert your DVDs to produce a clearer image. A scaler can be built into a TV, HDTV tuner or a Blu-ray/DVD player.

SCART input – The generic connection to standard-definition equipment such as; DVD players, VHS players and older games consoles. Modern TVs may not come equipped with a SCART input due to more modern equipment choosing to connect through HDMI as default.

Screen mirroring – A clever feature which allows you to wireless play your videos, music and applications from your smartphone, to your TV. Want to show family members your holiday snaps straight from your compatible device? Use the screen mirroring feature for a simple solution.

SD Card – A memory card slot suitable for an SD memory card. If your TV has one of these slots, you could take your digital camera’s compatible memory card and load up your images to view on the TV.

Set-top box (STB) – An optional device to use with your TV. This will allow you to receive over-the-air broadcast HDTV, analogue cable, digital cable or satellite TV. 

Sky – The satellite TV service. When signing up to Sky TV, you will receive a Sky+HD box; granting access to a wealth of on-demand entertainment and recording features. Several TV packages are available, including sports, movies and entertainment.

Smart remote – Samsung’s newer model Smart TVs may come with their ‘smart remote’. Designed to work with Samsung’s games applications, available to download through the TV’s dashboard, the remote allows easy navigation and use.

Smart TV – A TV with the ability to connect to the internet, enabling access to an array of extra services. These can vary; from on-demand services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, to being able to make Skype calls and surfing the web.

Sound bar – A long, single cabinet, optional device which acts as an alternative speaker for your TV. In general, consumers find the standard speakers in flat screen TVs to be poor quality, hence sound bars are attractive extras to boost the TV’s audio performance.  

Speaker output – Measured in watts (W), this determines the output capability of a TV’s speakers. The higher the output, the louder potential volume. 16W speakers will be noticeably inferior to 40W speakers. By using additional audio equipment like sound bars and home cinema systems, you can compensate for the TV’s poor speaker output.

SRS sound – An audio software company. Certain TV manufacturers use SRS sound to enhance their product’s audio. Their software includes ‘TruSurround’ and other variants of audio enhancing tools. 

Stereo output – The red and white outputs found on the back of your TV can connect to an external stereo amplifier and speaker system. Modern TVs may be missing these sockets, instead opting for digital audio output.

Subwoofer – An optional piece of audio equipment. Its purpose is to solely concentrate on reproducing low-pitched bass sound from your TV.  Commonly used a ‘sound bar’ or ‘surround sound’ system.

Surround sound – The placement of speakers around a TV viewer to create a more immersive viewing experience. For 5.1 surround sound, you’ll need five speakers and a low-frequency subwoofer. By adding additional speakers, you can upgrade to 6.1 and 7.1 surround sound. Surround sound systems are commonly connected to your TV using digital coaxial or digital optical connection.

S-video – A 4-pin connector which transmits the chrominance and luminance portions of a video signal separately. This technique produces an improved standard picture over a component connection but not as well as for HD images, especially against an HDMI connection. 


TiVo – A set-top box capable of recording, pausing and rewinding live TV. Available when signing up to Virgin Media’s TV service, you’ll be able to receive hundreds of extra channels and access tons of on-demand services. 

TruSurround – Audio software developed by SRS sound. It simulates a surround sound effect using a standard two-speaker setup. It achieves this by processing the multichannel audio input and then distributing it in a clever way that makes you think that the sound is coming from different areas.  


Ultra High Definition TV – Another term used for 4K resolution. 4K is 4x the image quality of standard high-definition. More future content will be made to fit 4K resolutions, achieving unbelievable visual quality.

Upconversion – This feature will improve a lower resolution image to a higher resolution. This is achieved in a number of ways, including increasing the number of pixels, frame rate and converting the scanning format. This is a common feature in Blu-ray players when playing DVDs.

USB port – The ability to plug a USB device, such as a memory stick or external hard drive, into your TV. Depending on the TV, this could allow you to view pictures or video from your device, or even use it to record TV onto.


VGA input – Sometimes marked ‘PC’ under the VGA input on the TV. This allows you to connect your PC or laptop to the TV and use it as the main display or as an extra. This is a handy alternative if the PC or laptop doesn’t have an HDMI output. 

Viewing angle – The number that measure the maximum viewing range from the centre of the screen. For example, if a TV’s viewing angle is 178o, people viewing the screen will be able to see the image clearly from almost all angles, along the 180o maximum. A lower viewing angle would mean users would need to sit more central to get the best viewing experience.

Virgin Media – A TV subscription service that offers a vast range of content on-demand and in HD. You can choose from a selection of packages to suit you, including sports, movies and more. You’re supplied with a TiVo box which allows you to record, pause and rewind live TV.

VOD (Video on-Demand) – Usually found within a Smart TVs features list. Access to VOD services grant access to TV and film entertainment, direct to your TV. Some premium services offer film rental for a small fee, streaming the film from the internet to your TV.

Voice interaction – Select TVs feature voice control. This enables you to operate your TV without pushing a single button. Struggling to find the remote? Don’t worry, just tell the TV to change channel, turn on/off or access certain applications with an array of easy-to-use voice commands. 


Widescreen – A term used to describe the 16:9 aspect ratio. Modern TVs will automatically cater to widescreen video. See ‘aspect ratio’ for more. 

Wi-Fi – The standard wireless technology which allows devices to connect to your home’s wireless internet router/modem. If your TV has Wi-Fi capabilities, it is more than likely a Smart TV. If your TV is internet-ready but doesn’t have Wi-Fi, it will need an optional USB adapter. 


x.v.Colour (xvYCC colour space) – The colour space used by HDTVs. This helps translate the image that you see on your HDTV, supporting more colours and providing a better picture. 


YouView – Sign up to BT’s television service and you’ll receive a YouView box. This allows you to record, pause and rewind live TV so you don’t miss a minute of your favourite shows. You can access tons of on-demand content and extra channels, including their HD iterations. A scroll-back function also allows you to catch up with the TV you missed through the guide.



This monster compendium of all things TV & video will be continually updated, with new terms and definitions. Happy shopping, TV buff.