Televison glossary of terms

What is the difference between LCD and OLED TVs? What happens when upscaling? And what does HDMI stand for? When buying a new TV in Kenya, you are likely to be confronted with an array of technical terms. The glossary provides the meaning of these terms


720p/1080i/1080p. Variants of HDTV with 720 or 1,080 lines in full frames (p = progressive) or fields (i = interlaced). Two fields complement each other: The viewer sees a full picture.

16:9/4:3. The ratio of screen width to height. Many television programs are broadcast in widescreen (16:9). Black bars then remain at the top and bottom edges on televisions with the old 4:3 aspect ratio. However, this is now also happening on 16:9 devices, since many cinema films are produced in even wider aspect ratios.

24p. Analog cinema films are produced with an image frequency of 24 fps (frames per second). However, televisions and DVD players deliver the signals with a different refresh rate. This leads to jerky images. Televisions that advertise 24p should be able to prevent jerking. In our tests, that wasn’t always the case.

3D TV. Television with depth effect. Viewers need 3D glasses: either active shutter glasses or passive polarization glasses. 3D without glasses (autostereoscopy) is currently not an issue for televisions.

4K Film standard for recording with 4,096 pixels per line, whereby the number of pixels per column (image height) depends on the aspect ratio at the time of recording. The term 4K is often used synonymously with UHD, although UHD, with a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160, has fewer pixels per line than 4K.


Active antenna. Antenna with built-in amplifier.

ambilight. Room lighting (TV light) with Philips TVs. The television controls LEDs arranged on the back of the television in such a way that their reflection appears to continue the picture in terms of color and brightness.

analog tuner. Receiver for classic television in SD quality.

Resolution. The number of pixels in width times height (e.g. in Full HD 1 920 times 1 080).

autostereoscopy. Technology for displaying images with a three-dimensional impression without glasses. Mini-lenses on the display surface separate the images for the right and left eyes and steer them slightly to the right/left. If the viewing distance and head position are correct, a 3D image appears (see also 3D).


banding Color cracks, uneven color gradients, for example when displaying sky blue on televisions. This image error, which is sometimes visible on devices with a normal contrast range (SDR), is reduced by models with a high contrast range (HDR).

viewing angle. On televisions with a large viewing angle, the picture can also be seen well from the side. If the angle is smaller, for viewers seated farther out, the contrast will drop or the color and saturation will change.

motion blur. Blurring or fraying of the edges of moving objects in the picture.

Blu-ray disc. Successor to the DVD with more storage space. Enables high definition movie watching. Requirements: HD-capable television and Blu-Ray player.

bluetooth audio Technology for the wireless connection of headphones or loudspeakers.


CI+.  Common Interface. Interface for smart cards to receive encrypted television programs. It enables broadcasters to largely control the use of their content – ​​including whether programs can be recorded or commercials skipped.

clouding Effect on LCD TVs. In English, for example, “cloud formation”, caused by uneven backlighting. Visible, for example, when the backlight is on but there is no signal (e.g. when changing programs).

curved. From the English for curved, bent or swung. Designation for flat screen televisions that were not manufactured flat, but are curved towards the viewer at the edges. As of 2021, such televisions are hardly available anymore, possibly due to annoying light reflections on these TV screens. They seem to have a life of their own, their movement is irritating on television.


Digital audio. Two connections (optical or electrical) transmit digital audio signals with multi-channel sound.

Digital Artifacts. Image disturbances, which are mostly caused by the motion optimization, when intermediate images are incorrectly calculated for fast-moving objects. Visible are suddenly transparent structures and double contours, sometimes also block graphics and cracks in the picture.

Dolby Digital 5.1. Method for storing and transmitting 5.1 channel audio tracks. Creates surround sound. Standard on DVD, often on HD broadcasts as well.

DTS. Digital Theater Sound. Digital, multi-channel audio format in competition with Dolby 5.1.

DVB. Digital Video Broadcasting: Transmission of digital television signals. Applied in cable (DVB-C), via antenna (DVB-T2 HD) and via satellite (DVB-S2).

DVB-T2 HD. New television standard which, for the first time in this country, also enables terrestrial television in HD and replaces the old DVB-T standard.

Dolby Atmos surround sound. In theory, the technology allows for an unlimited number of audio tracks – including sound from above, from the ceiling and from below. The current Dolby Atmos Cinema processor supports up to 128 individual audio tracks and up to 64 separate output signals. Dolby Atmos is backward compatible with Dolby 5.1 or 7.1.

Dolby Vision. An HDR standard in which 12-bit color depth is possible and HDR information is transferred to the television dynamically, i.e. scene by scene or even frame by frame. Dolby Vision, for example, is subject to a fee for TV set manufacturers.


single cable system. Distributes satellite signals to multiple receivers. Requires only one cable (with multiple junction boxes) rather than a separate cable for each receiver.

EPG. Electronic program guide. Electronic program guide. To a certain extent, a user interface, a helper when programming recordings and a program guide all in one.


liquid crystal display. See LCD.

Full HD. The current television standard for high-resolution images (1,920 by 1,080 pixels).


gesture control. With a motion sensor in the remote control or, now largely uncommon, with an integrated camera, the television recognizes the hand movements of the viewer. Analogous to the mouse arrow on computers, a hand symbol moves across the screen. Buttons launch actions like channel change and volume up/down.


HbbTV. Hybrid broadcast broadband television. Initiative by various providers such as ARD and SES Astra. Offers the viewer additional program information such as access to media libraries via the Internet.

HDCP. High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection. HDTV copy protection. Devices without HDCP show no picture with encrypted HD signals.

HDMI. High Definition Multimedia Interface. Interface for transmission of digital audio and video signals. Necessary, for example, for HD images played from Blu-ray discs.

HD ready. Devices with this label must have at least 720 lines of resolution, a digital video interface (HDMI or DVI) and HDCP copy protection.

HD. high definition. Transmits around two million, i.e. about twice as many pixels as conventional television in standard definition (SD).

HDR. The abbreviation stands for High Dynamic Range (high contrast range). The technology should mean that the television can display more color gradations and stronger contrasts than devices without HDR. UHD TVs and Blu-ray players should be able to handle HDR, since this technique leads to normal pictures for visible differences rather than the sheer pixel count of UHD alone. See also HDR10, HDR10+, SDR and Dolby Vision.

HDR10. A common HDR process. It supports 10-bit color depth and is static (the TV retains the HDR information transmitted at the beginning of playback for the entire film). HDR is royalty free.

HDR10+. A license-free HDR process for 10-bit color depth introduced in 2018, which dynamically sends HDR information such as Dolby Vision, i.e. scene by scene or even picture by picture, to the television.

HEVC. Technology that efficiently compresses data. HEVC thus enables high resolutions at relatively low data rates. Antenna viewers need a HEVC-capable television or receiver if the new antenna standard DVB-T2 HD has already replaced the old DVB-T technology in their region. It also makes sense for fans of ultra high definition (UHD) to buy a TV with HEVC.

backlight. Component of LCD televisions. In current televisions, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) generate light that is transmitted (bright pixel) or blocked (dark pixel) by the liquid crystals of the screen. Older LCD TVs generated the light using CCFL fluorescent lamps, which made the TV bulky and used more power than LEDs.


interlaced. The “i” for example in 1 080i. Stands for the transmission of fields. Rich in detail, but critical for fast movements such as in sports broadcasts.

TV>IP. Technology for distributing any TV signal in the form of data packets (Internet Protocol, IP) in a local network. Initially implemented as SAT>IP for satellite signals only. The recipients can either only receive (client) or also send (server) such signals.


Contrast. Ratio of the brightness of dark and light areas. Images with high contrast appear more brilliant.


LCD. Liquid crystal display. liquid crystal display. A system of glass plates with a layer of liquid crystals between them. These can be controlled so that they let a lot of light through with bright pixels and little light with dark pixels.

LEDs. Light-emitting diodes that make the light generation in LCD televisions energy-saving.

Local dimming. Technology for increasing the contrast in LED televisions. The light-emitting diodes are controlled in such a way that the background lighting behind dark image content is dimmed for a richer black.


Nano Cell. LG’s brand name for generating the backlight light for LCD TVs from fluorescent nanoparticles.

NFC. Near Field Communication, wireless communication technology that was developed for cashless payments with mobile phones. In consumer electronics, devices connect via NFC. Then, for example, the smartphone transmits music or videos to the television.


OLED. Organic Light Emitting Diodes. Television technology with organic light-emitting diodes. As with plasma technology, the pixels are self-illuminating – when switched off they show a rich black and viewed from the side the color and brightness are the same as when looking directly from the front.

OSD. On Screen Display. On-screen menu used to set up and control televisions.


Pixel. Artificial word from the English terms picture (image) and element. Smallest element of a digital image.

Plasma. Meanwhile uncommon screen technology with self-illuminating gas discharge cells. Advantage: particularly large viewing angles and very low wiping effects in moving images. Disadvantage: Low image brightness, particularly high power consumption.

polarization glasses. Required for 3D with passive technology. The images for the right and left eye are shown simultaneously and transmitted to the correct eye through the differently polarized lenses. Advantage: Unlike active shutter glasses, there is no flickering effect. Disadvantage: The resolution is halved here.

progressive. The “p”, for example at 720p. Indicates the transmission of full images and ensures a quieter picture in sports and action. However, it is not as rich in detail as 1 080i, despite an approximately comparable amount of data.


Quantum Dot/QLED. Samsung’s brand name for generating the backlight light for LCD televisions from fluorescent nanoparticles.


SDR. Standard dynamic range, roughly standard contrast range. For this purpose, image data with a color depth of 8 bits per channel (red, green, blue) is processed. This enables 256 gradations per channel (almost 17 million shades in total). Due to the low gradation, televisions display color gradients unevenly, such as in a cloudless blue sky (banding). HDR minimizes or avoids such image errors.

viewing distance.  Rule of thumb: The distance should be about three times the diagonal of the image. HD images can be enjoyed from a shorter distance (2x the screen diagonal). With UHD, viewers could get even closer to the television. However, they only do so slightly. Here, viewing habits and personal preferences are more important than the larger number of pixels on the seating position.

set-top box. “Top box” – additional device for receiving digital programs. It can be connected to all televisions. Synonymous with DVB-C, DVB-S2 or DVB-T2 HD box.

shutter glasses. Required for one of the three methods of 3D rendering. The images for the right and left eye are transmitted alternately, one after the other. The lenses darken in quick succession in front of the eye that is not needed. The control signal is provided by an infrared or Bluetooth radio transmitter on the television. Advantage: The images are transmitted in full resolution. Disadvantage: The glasses can produce flickering effects.

smart card. Plastic card with integrated chip. They are used to unlock encrypted programs.

S/P DIF. Digital audio output. Good for high-quality multi-channel sound. RCA connection (electrical) or optical output on many devices.

SRS. Sound Retrieval System. Simulates surround sound with two speakers.


triluminos. Brand name (Latin: tri-luminous) from Sony for generating the light for the backlighting of LCD televisions from fluorescent nanoparticles.


UHD. Ultra high definition. Four times the HD resolution compared to HD with around 8 million pixels (3840 x 2160 pixels). The recordings are mostly made in the “4K” film standard with even more pixels per image line (4,096).

UHD Blu-Ray Player. Plays Ultra HD discs in addition to DVD and Blu-ray discs. Requirement: A UHD television. Recommended: Models with HDR image enhancement technology.

upscaling. Upscaling, “polishing” low-resolution image signals to higher resolution.

USB. Universal Serial Bus. Interface for connecting additional devices such as digital cameras or memory sticks.


VESA.  Video Electronics Standards Association. standardization organization. VESA-compliant mounting points on the TV allow the use of inexpensive third-party wall mounts.

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