A screen resolution that uses 1,080 horizontal lines with progressive scanning. See also HDTV.
See ultra HD.
A screen resolution that uses 480 horizontal lines with interlaced scanning. See also SDTV.
A screen resolution that uses 576 horizontal lines with interlaced scanning. See also SDTV.
A screen resolution that uses 720 horizontal lines with progressive scanning. See also HDTV.
See ultra HD-2.
a la carte:
A streaming media service where you pay for just the channels you want to watch.
access point:
See wireless access point.
See antenna.
A technology found in some streaming media players that enables you to beam media from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac directly to the player.
See signal amplifier.
A device that can receive over-the-air TV signals broadcast from a transmission tower that's within the antenna's range.
antenna combiner:
See antenna coupler.
antenna coupler:
A device that combines the signals from multiple antennas into a single output.
antenna gain:
The number of decibels (db) of power that an antenna's amplifier boosts the incoming signal.
ATSC 3.0:
In the United States and Canada, a new broadcast TV standard that offers higher picture quality, improved signal reception (especially for indoor antennas), interactive features, and targeted advertising.
A radio frequency over which a device sends and receives data.
A measure of how much data gets sent and received through an Internet connection during a specified time frame, such as a month.
bandwidth cap:
A maximum amount of bandwidth an Internet connection is allowed to use during a specified time frame.
broadcast TV:
See over-the-air.
An area of memory or storage that’s used to store the next few seconds or minutes of streaming playback.
cable TV:
A television signal carried via a cable.
cable-replacement service:
A streaming service that offers TV show and movie bundles similar to those offered by cable services.
channel bundle:
A high-priced cable company offering that combines one or two premium or popular channels with a bunch of second-rate channels.
closed captioning:
See subtitles.
cloud DVR:
A DVR that stores its recordings online.
coaxial cable:
A cable used to connect an over-the-air antenna to a TV, an external tuner, or a DVR.
coaxial cable splitter:
A device that takes a single coaxial cable connection and offers two or more coaxial outputs so that you can split an over-the-air TV signal between multiple devices.
coaxial extension adapter:
A device that enables you to connect two coaxial cables.
Another term for media.
cord avoider:
A person who looks for online alternatives to paying for cable TV offerings.
cord cutter:
A person who severs her relationship with her cable company and finds alternatives to cable elsewhere.
cord hater:
A person who really dislikes paying for cable TV.
cord never:
A person who has never had a cable TV account.
cord shaver:
A person who takes steps to reduce her cable TV bill.
cord trimmer:
See cord shaver.
customer retention agent:
A cable company employee whose job it is to convince people like you not to cancel their accounts.
data cap:
See bandwidth cap.
dead zone:
An area of your home that gets a very weak Wi-Fi signal or no signal.
digital cliff:
A phenomenon that causes a weak over-the-air TV signal to not appear on the TV (as opposed to appearing on the TV with a poor or intermittent picture).
digital video recorder:
See DVR.
See unidirectional.
A Bluetooth device that's broadcasting its availability for pairing with another device.
distribution amplifier:
A coaxial splitter that also amplifies the signal to make up for the power loss that occurs when you split a signal.
A device that plugs directly (that is, without a cable) into a port on another device, such as a computer or TV; see also streaming dongle.
download speed:
The rate — usually measured in Mbps — at which data is sent from the Internet to your location; see also upload speed.
dual band:
An over-the-air TV antenna that supports both VHF and UHF frequencies.
A device that records a live TV signal for later playback.
A networking technology that enables wired communications between devices.
extension adapter:
See coaxial extension adapter.
extension node:
A device that helps extend a mesh network.
F connector:
The endpoint of a coaxial connection, which will be a plug (usually at both ends of a coaxial cable) or a jack (usually part of a device, such as a TV or DVR).
F-type connector:
See F connector.
factory default:
The original settings that are the defaults for a device when it's new. Resetting a device to its factory default settings can often solve recalcitrant problems.
free trial:
A period — usually a month — during which you can try a streaming service without charge.
full-power station:
A local TV station that uses a transmission tower with a range of between 50 miles (80 kilometers) and 80 miles (128 kilometers).
See antenna gain.
Gigabits per second; a measure of the speed of a data transmission. See also Mbps.
Gigahertz; a measure of electromagnetic wave frequency.
A billion bits.
A billion hertz.
A screen resolution that supports both 1080p and 720p.
HDTV antenna:
An antenna that can receive over-the-air HDTV signals.
HDTV tuner:
A tuner that can interpret over-the-air HDTV signals.
An electromagnetic wave frequency equal to one cycle per second.
See high-VHF.
In the United States and Canada, the VHF range for TV transmissions between 174 MHz and 210 MHz for channels 7 through 13; see also low-VHF.
horizontal resolution:
The number of pixels in a single scan line from left to right across a TV screen.
Hertz; a measure of electromagnetic wave frequency.
independent station:
A TV station that is not affiliated with any national broadcast network and is independently owned and operated.
input source:
The incoming connection that the TV uses to display a signal on its screen.
intelligent band steering:
Enables a Wi-Fi router to automatically choose the best band available for the data it's receiving.
interlaced scanning:
A TV technology in which the odd and even scan lines of the screen are rendered separately.
A connector into which you can insert a plug; see also F connector.
Internet TV:
A television signal carried via a video stream over the Internet.
An imaginary straight line between an antenna and a transmission tower that doesn't go through the Earth or through a tall object such as a building or a hill.
linear TV:
See over-the-air.
As-it’s-happening audio or video, such as on-the-air TV programs delivered by your cable provider or Fire TV Recast, live concerts or sporting events, Internet-based audio or video phone calls, or video feeds of a specific place or scene.
See low-VHF.
low perceived value:
A product or service for which customers don't feel like they're getting their money's worth; also known as cable TV.
low-power station:
A local TV station that uses a transmission tower with a range between 15 miles (24 kilometers) and 30 miles (48 kilometers).
In the United States and Canada, the VHF range for TV transmissions between 54 and 82 MHz for channels 2 through 6; see also high-VHF.
LTE filter:
A device that improves over-the-air TV signal quality by filtering out interference from surrounding LTE cellular signals.
Megabits per second; a measure of the speed of a data transmission. See also Gbps.
Anything you can play via Fire TV, including movies, TV shows, games, music, slideshows, and home videos.
A million bits.
member station:
A TV station that is part of a collection of stations that together own the network. The main example in the US is the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Each member station is independently owned and operated.
mesh network:
A wireless network that combines a router and one or more extension nodes. These devices work together to extend the full capabilities of the network to every corner of your home.
A device that receives data from and sends data to the Internet.
An antenna that picks up signals from any direction; see also unidirectional.
multipath distortion:
Over-the-air TV signal interference caused by a single broadcast signal bouncing off buildings and other objects, resulting in multiple reflections of the signal reaching an antenna.
network affiliate:
A TV station that carries some or all programs broadcast by a particular national broadcast network, but the station is independently owned and operated.
network feed:
Television programming supplied to a local station by a parent national broadcast network.
Next Gen TV:
See ATSC 3.0.
See owned and operated.
See multidirectional.
See over-the-air.
See over-the-top.
A live TV broadcast signal that can be picked up by using an HDTV antenna.
A TV service delivered via a broadband Internet connection.
Making an over-the-air TV signal too powerful for a TV tuner to pick up by using a signal amplifier to boost an already strong over-the-air TV signal.
owned and operated:
A TV station that is the property of, and is run by, a national broadcast network (such as one of the so-called Big Five in the United States: ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox, or NBC).
To connect two Bluetooth devices.
pass-through fees:
Government-mandated regulatory fees that the cable company is all too happy to pass along to its customers.
A picture element; a point of light that uses a combination of red, green, and blue.
A connector that you can insert into a jack; see also F connector.
power over coax:
A device that supplies electrical power via a coaxial cable.
progressive scanning:
A TV technology in which all the scan lines of the screen are rendered at the same time.
quad shield:
A coaxial cable that offers four layers of shielding to help prevent signal leakage; see also triple shield.
The maximum distance that a transmission tower can be located from an antenna for the antenna to pick up the tower's broadcast signal.
range extender:
See wireless range extender.
The sharpness of a TV screen, measured in pixels.
RF channel:
See transmit channel.
A device that connects directly via Ethernet to an Internet modem and then creates a local area network to share that connection with other devices in your home. See also wireless access point.
See extension node.
satellite TV:
A television signal transmitted via an orbiting satellite.
A screen resolution that supports both 480i and 576i.
second screen experience:
Watching media on a main screen (such as your TV) and using a second screen (such as tablet or smartphone) to control playback and display extra info about the media, such as the cast and music.
See overdriving.
set-top box:
A box-like streaming media player that's meant to sit on a shelf or table and connect to your display device using an HDMI cable; see also dongle.
signal amplifier:
A device that boosts an over-the-air TV signal.
signal attenuator:
A device that reduces an over-the-air TV signal.
signal splitter:
See coaxial cable splitter.
simultaneous streaming:
A streaming media feature that enables you to access the service's content on multiple devices at the same time.
skinny bundle:
A streaming media service bundle that includes only a small number of channels.
smart TV:
A TV that has computer hardware on the inside that runs essentially the same software as a streaming media player.
See coaxial cable splitter.
See streaming media player.
A method of sending media over the Internet from a server to a computer in which the media begins playing within a few seconds and continues until the media is complete.
streaming dongle:
A streaming media player that connects directly to an HDMI port on a TV or display.
streaming media:
Television programs — as well as movies, music, podcasts, and other media — that are made available over the Internet.
streaming media player:
A device that enables you to access and watch streaming media.
streaming media playback:
The capability of playing, pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding an incoming media stream, usually by pressing buttons on a remote control that comes with the streaming media device.
streaming service interface:
A method for discovering and interacting with services that offer audio, video, or live streams.
streaming soundbar:
A device that combines a streaming media player with audio hardware, usually including speakers and subwoofer.
streaming stick:
See streaming dongle.
Text transcriptions of the voice track in a TV show, movie, or video.
A device placed over an unused coaxial cable output to prevent signal leakage from that output.
terrestrial TV:
See over-the-air.
transmission tower:
A tall structure that uses a transmitter to broadcast a station's digital television signal as radio waves in all directions.
transmit channel:
The channel number corresponding to the frequency at which an over-the-air TV signal is broadcast; see also virtual channel.
A router feature that offers three radio bands.
triple shield:
A coaxial cable that offers three layers of shielding to help prevent signal leakage; see also quad shield.
A device that can interpret the signals received from an over-the-air antenna and display those signals as television video and audio.
See ultra HD.
See ultra HD-2.
ultra HD:
A screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
ultra HD-2:
A screen resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels.
ultra-high frequency:
See UHF.
Radio frequencies ranging from 300 MHz and 3 GHz. The specific range used by TV signals varies by country.
An antenna that picks up signals from a single direction; see also multidirectional.
upload speed:
The rate — usually measured Mbps — at which data is sent from your location to the Internet; see also download speed.
variable amplifier:
A signal amplifier that offers an adjustable rate of amplification, usually to prevent overdriving the signal.
vertical resolution:
The number of pixels in a vertical column from top to bottom of a TV screen.
very high frequency:
See VHF.
Radio frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 MHz. The specific ranges used by TV signals vary depending on the country.
video streaming:
Mostly prerecorded TV shows and movies through services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
virtual channel:
The channel number you tune to on your TV to watch an over-the-air TV channel, which is usually different than the station's transmit channel.
wireless access point:
A device that creates a wireless network. Most wireless access points today are bundled with a router.
wireless range extender:
A device that increases the range of a wireless signal.
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