A Glossary of Cable TV Terms and Definitions – A Clearer Picture
Cable TV – an accepted part of our everyday lives. And also something most of us probably take for granted. But if we understand something better, we’re more likely to appreciate it. So we’d like to raise your level of appreciation, as far as your TV viewing goes. We’re presenting here a glossary of cable TV terms and definitions, with the hope that you’ll become “a better and a wiser man” (or woman). The lesson begins.
An amplifier increases the power of an electrical signal.
Analog is an electrical format that uses continuous physical variables, such as frequency.
Bandwidth refers to the range of frequencies available for a cable TV system to carry. The bandwidth determines the amount of information that can be carried, as well as its speed of transmission.
- CATV (community antenna TV)
CATV is now known as cable TV. It refers to the 6-MHz path on the spectrum which carries a TV signal.
- Coaxial cable
A coaxial cable is made up of a conducting outer metal tube, insulated from a central conducting core. It transmits electronic signals.
- DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite)
DBS is an entertainment and/or information service that can be received using an antenna at the subscriber’s home.
A decoder receives a digital signal and converts it back into an analog signal, creating an unscrambled, viewable picture.
Digital television technology takes the continuously varying quantities of analog, and separates them into separate and distinct levels, producing a higher quality picture than analog.
Egress, in cable TV, refers to unwanted leakage of signals from a cable system.
- “F”-type connector
An “F”-type connector is used by the cable TV industry to connect coaxial cables to equipment.
- FCC (Federal Communication Commission)
The FCC is the U.S. government agency that regulates electronic communications.
Frequency refers to the number of times an electromagnetic wave repeats an identical cycle in a unit of time, usually one second. One Hertz (Hz) is equal to one cycle per second, a KHz is 1000 cycles per second, a MHz is one million cycles per second, etc.
Ghosting occurs when two signals are received at almost the same time, create a double image on your TV screen.
High Definition Television (HDTV) is a very high-quality TV signal that produces picture resolution almost as good as film.
A headend is the cable TV provider’s base, where they receive signals from TV studios, either their own or another station’s, and retransmit them to their customers.
- Impulse pay-per-view
Impulse pay-per-view allows you to directly order programs using your remote control, which immediately authorizes viewing.
A jack is the connector that allows you to attach a wire into a plug, thus creating a connection.
- LAN (local-area network)
LAN is the technology that allows cable companies to provide local community programming, as well as Internet access via a modem.
Leakage refers to the undesired emission of signals out of a cable TV system, usually through corroded or loose connections, cracks in the cable, or loose device closures.
- Local Origination Channel
A local origination channel is a channel programmed and exclusively controlled by the cable provider.
- MegaHertz (MHz)
MHz is a unit of frequency equaling 1 million cycles per second.
Multiplexing refers to the process of sending more than one signal within the same channel without mixing them.
Pay-per-view is a service that allows the user to request specific programs for viewing, with a fee charged.
- RF (radio frequency)
RF refers to an electromagnetic signal that’s above the audio but below the infrared frequencies (from 15 KHz-100GHz).
A scrambler is an electronic device that alters a signal so it can’t be viewed on a normal TV unless a decoder is attached to the subscriber’s set to unscramble the picture. It’s located in the headend.
A subscriber is a customer who pays a fee for cable TV.
Snow refers to heavy random noise on a TV. It usually occurs when the signal is interrupted.
A tap is installed in the feeder cable to connect the home TV set to the cable network.
A trap can be negative or positive. A negative trap blocks a channel from being received by a subscriber, while a positive trap removes an interfering carrier from a channel, allowing a subscriber to view it.
A tuner is a device, a circuit, or part of a circuit that selects a signal from a number of signals in a given frequency range.
- VOD (video-on-demand)
VOD allows a subscriber to choose movies and events that can be viewed immediately after selection.
Is the picture clear now? Has this glossary of cable TV terms and definitions given you an education? Then now you’re qualified to make your selection. Just pick up your remote and, choosing from one of your 150 channels, tune in your favorite program. And we’re sure the picture will be clear.
About The Author
Gareth Marples is a successful freelance writer providing valuable tips and advice for consumers about free satellite TV systems, surfing the Net with excellent Internet access & service providers and affordable web hosting services. His numerous articles offer moneysaving tips and valuable insight on typically confusing topics.
This "Glossary of Cable TV Terms & Definitions" reprinted with permission.
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