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Here are 20 crucial terms to know, whether you own a TV or HDTV, or if you’re in the market for one:

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1. 4:3

The standard aspect ratio, designed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This is the “square” ratio that you see on many TVs.

2. 16:9

The aspect ratio for widescreen TVs — often contrasted with the square aspect ratio of 4:3.

3. Blu-ray

A high definition DVD format that uses a shortwave laser (in the blue spectrum) to maximize storage capability.

4. Compression

Tech that squeezes data so that it consumes less space and thus enhances efficiency.

5. Ghosting

In certain digital TVs and HDTVs, images can leave behind residual trails – much like a comet tail. More common in older TVs with slower pixel response times.


A signal that provides a wider aspect ratio (e.g. 16:9 instead of 4:3) and better resolution – “HDTV” can refer either to the TV set itself or to an HDTV signal.

7. Resolution

A number used to describe how many pixels can be displayed on a screen. Pixels can be interlaced (i) or progressive (p). For instance, a standard digital TV might feature 480i or 480p resolution. Higher level products might have 1080i or 1080p resolutions.

8. Native Resolution

Different monitors and TVs are created to display images at different resolutions. A non-native resolution has to be translated and converted in order for the TV to show data.

9. Cathode Ray Tube TVs

Older TVs which use vacuum tubes to create images by firing a ray at a phosphorescent screen.

10. Artifact

Video abnormality created by problems with processing digital data. It can happen due to signal transmission problems, conversion issues, or trouble with interlaced scanning.

11. Red Push

Interesting phenomenon that occurs in certain TVs in which the color red is accentuated relative to greens and blues, thanks to a hiccup in the color decoder.

12. Raster

On cathode ray tube TVs, this is the area that the electron gun scans to create an image.

13. Pan and Scan

When movies, DVDs, or other signals are squeezed to fit the standard 4:3 aspect ratio, some of the info of the picture is lost, so the image sometimes “pans and scans” — an accidental artifact.

14. Pixel

Color dots stimulated to create images on TV.

15. HDTV-Ready

A television that has a capacity to display HD formats when hooked up to a special HDTV source or tuner.

16. EIA-775

More commonly known as FireWire, this is a cable used in many digital video setups.

17. Geometric Linearity

A capacity of a TV to recreate sizes and shapes correctly.

18. Service Menu

Special hidden menu in some TVs and HDTVs that can only be accessed by inputting a code. If this menu is changed in certain ways, the product can be permanently damaged.

19. Scalar

A device that translates a video to a different resolution than the initial format.

20. Bit Rate

How fast data can be processed or transmitted.

If you need help with your HDTV installation, research, or maintenance, connect with the team here at Karbon Home Theater today for help.


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