Satellite Speak Glossary  by David Burley

Glossary of Satellite Television Terminolgy

Even though some of the terms used for satellite TV may seem like another language at times they are easily explained, just lookup the word below to see the meaning:

100hz Picture Scan
A 100Hz television scans the picture across the screen twice as fast as a conventional 50Hz set, producing a clearer, less flickering picture. This helps reduce the strain on the veiwer`s eyes which can be caused by watching a conventional 50Hz set for extended periods

50hz Picture Scan
50hz Picture Scanning. Scans the information at 50 cycles per second.

Access Card
Also know as a smart card, is a removable credit card-size plastic card included with each satellite receiver. The access card is registered to the receiver and cannot be used in any other receiver. . It gives the Satellite or Cable company the information necessary to provide the programming to which the owner subscribes, as well as Pay Per View billing an example of an access card is the Sky Subscriber card which is partnered to your Sky Receiver.

Aspect ratio
The ratio of image width to image height.

Audio Analog Phono Connections
Line level is the signal level outputted by virtually all domestic audio equipment, usual around 2V it's analogue and so can degrade over distance. Usually a line level signal is connected between equipment using RCA phono connections with white and red (White for left, Red for White) connectors for a stereo signal, the sockets are pictured above Any equipment you see with these connections is usually outputting or inputting a line level signal, except turntables which output at phono level

Audio/Video Jacks
Satellite TV system receivers would normally include three jacks: one for the video and two for the sound - one for the right channel and one for the left. The audio jacks are necessary for stereo sound. R/F connectors (coaxial cable) will not provide stereo from the satellite receiver

Azimuth Alignment
The azimuth is East/West alignment of the dish. The Elevation is the vertical angle of the dish from the horizon. The dish must have an clear, unobstructed view of the satellites and the coordinates vary depending on your location.

Range of frequencies occupied by a signal or allowed by receiving equipment (basically, what a receiver is capable of receiving). The required bandwidth for a TV channel is 6Mhz.

The raw satellite TV signal before it is re-modulated to become a signal that is suitable for a TV.

A satellite transmission pattern. It may be wide, narrow or spot. This affects the satellites footprint.

Bit is short for 'binary' digit - the smallest unit of data in digital systems; it can have a value of '1' or '0'. A group of 8-bits compose what is referred to as a byte.

Bluetooth is the latest in low power radio technology to connect two electronic devices, without the need for cables. This can be achieved up to 10 metres apart without the need for those devices to be in line of sight, as they would have to be with infra-red.

The Common Interface (CI) is the slot on a satellite receiver into which a conditional access module (CAM) may be inserted for satellite television. Receivers normally have two common interfaces. A receiver with a common interface allows the user to access encrypted television broadcasts as opposed to free-to-air (FTA) channels.

Closed Captioning
Is an option that provides text in the broadcast signal for a narrative description of dialogue, action sounds, and other elements of the program. This is great for the hearing impaired.

Coaxial Cable
RG-6 Coaxial cable is required to bring the signal from the dish to the receivers. It also handles the low voltage to power the LNB.

Composite Video Connections
Term used to describe systems that output all colour, sync and black levels down one cable. Avoid using this type of signal at all costs. The SCART connection which is used in Europe can carry a composite signal or a single phono lead. Component, S-Video & RGB are a huge improvements over composite

Digital Audio Broadcasting
Standard which describes the method of transmitting digital audio.

Digital Compression
The satellite signal is sent in a compressed digital format to allow more channels and more audio video options.

A signal's path from satellite to antenna.

Dolby Pro-Logic
The most widely used Home Entertainment process. Produces a surrounding sound field with Dolby Surround or Dolby Stereo encoded software. This includes practically all major films from the late seventies and onwards available on VHS videotape, LaserDisc, DVD or from stereo TV. It has 4 perceivable channels of sound all derived from a stereo sound track, (Left Front, Centre, Front Right and Rear Surround) This is achieved by redirecting out of phase information (Normally deliberately encoded in to the stereo tracks) to the rear speakers. Information going to the centre channel (Pro-Logic) processes and mixes all information that is lacking in any stereo content Dolby Pro Logic 2 is the updated version of Pro-Logic that gives stereo surround speaker channels.

Dolby Pro-Logic 2
Pro Logic II decoding reproduces 5.1-channel surround sound from any 2-channel sources: DVD, VHS, television broadcasts, radio, and CDs. Dolby Pro Logic II uses matrix decoding technology that has been dramatically improved over ordinary Pro Logic. With Pro Logic II, for instance, the Surround (Rear) channels are in stereo (only mono with Pro Logic) and playback covers the full frequency range (only up to 7 kHz with Pro Logic). These improvements let you enjoy a wide variety of 2-channel sources with the exciting effects of 5.1- channel surround sound. It's not as good as discrete (Separate independent channel) formats like Dolby Digital and DTS, but it's more involving than ordinary stereo and a much better home cinema experience than Dolby Pro Logic

Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital produces 5 discrete (perfectly separated) sound channels and a dedicated LFE (Low Frequency Effects) subwoofer channel. For this reason it is known as a 5.1 channel system (the .1 indicating the subwoofer channel that has limited frequency for just the low audio frequencies) Dolby Digital has all the benefits of an all digital system in terms of clear sound without distortion and noise. Compared to Dolby Pro Logic, the sonic improvement almost corresponds to stepping up from cassette tape to CD Dolby Digital is used in a variety of video/audio formats world wide including. DVD, Laserdisc, Computer Games, Radio and TV broadcasting. Dolby Digital was originally known as AC-3, this is still the name of the encoding used.

DTS produces 5 discrete (perfectly separated) sound channels and a dedicated LFE (Low Frequency Effects) subwoofer channel. For this reason it is known as a 5.1 channel system (the .1 indicating the subwoofer channel that has limited frequency for just the low audio frequencies) DTS has all the benefits of an all digital system in terms of clear sound without distortion and noise. DTS is used in a variety of video/audio formats world wide including. DVD, Laserdisc, Computer Games, Radio and TV broadcasting. DTS boasts a higher bitrate than its competing format Dolby Digital and therefore can provide higher sound quality (Due to there being less compression)

Digital Satellite System

Dual LNB
Also know as Twin LNB. A dual LNB has two coax connections. You can operate up to two satellite television receivers with a dual LNB.

The Digital Video Broadcast is the broadcast standard for digital radio and television, using MPEG II compression. DVB is being supported by all European manufacturers and broadcasters.


A commonly used interface for connection of computer, video and audio devices, but with 4 different names!!! Originally used in the consumer market for connecting DV cameras to other devices, like digital video recorders and computers IEEE1394 has now taken on many roles. Advanced Resolution Digital Audio Interface is the new industry standard interface for the secure digital transmission of high-resolution audio from DVD-Audio and SACD sources to devices such as home cinema amplifiers

Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
The Electronic Program Guide or EPG displays all available programming. You can easily create your own custom guides. With the DP301 you will have to wait a little for the current guide information to download, but with the DP510 PVR or DP721 PVR about 7 days of programming information is stored on the hard disk and updated automatically, so there is no waiting. Check out the Guide Menu system link at the top details.

How high a satellite is from the horizon. The angle of elevation refers to the upward tilt of a satellite dish antenna that is required to aim it at the communications satellite, measured in degrees. When the dish is aimed at the horizon, the elevation angle is zero. As we travel on the continent the actual angle the LNB is aligned at (Skew Angle) needsa to be adjusted to compensate for this elevation difference.

Use the coloured buttons on your remote control for easy instant access to Teletext pages.

Where the signal transmitted from a satellite is able to reach with an acceptable signal.

A free digital service offering over 30 channels through an integrated digital television or a separate set top box.

The satellites are in a geosynchronous orbit, 22,300 miles above the equator. This means the satellites stay in the same place and orbit with the earth.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides reliable location and time information in all weather and at all times and anywhere on or near the Earth when and where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is maintained by the US government and is freely accessible by anyone with a GPS receiver.

High Definition TV

Integrated Sky Digital
Fully integrated Sky Digital receiver built-in to the TV. Reduces the number of boxes and remote controls.

IRD (Integrated Receiver Decoder)
A satellite TV system receiver with a built-in decoder for unscrambling subscription channels. It is usually called the receiver.

Kbps stands for kilobits per second and refers to the speed of a signal transmission.

Signal frequency range between 11 and 14 GHz. that is often used with communications satellites.

An L-Band is the frequency range from 0.5 to 1.5 GHz. All satellite TV systems use this frequency (950 to 1450 MHz) to carry the satellite signal from the dish to the receiver

LNBF stands for Low Noise amplifier, Block Converter, Feed Horn. It's commonly referred to as the LNB and is located out in front of the Dish. The front of the LNB is the feedhorn which catches the high frequency satellite signals reflected from the dish. The high frequency is down converted to a lower frequency and sent to the receiver(s) via RG-6 coax cable.

Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG)
The organization which defined the standards for moving pictures, like movies.

MPEG I/II Compression
Method to compress digital signals. Thanks to compression it is possible to combine several programs into one satellite transponder. MPEG2 is also used to compress video for internet use.

NICAM is the digital stereo sound system used in the United Kingdom for normal terrestrial analogue broadcasts developed by the BBC. NICAM is a data compression system for encoding and decoding sound at speed (So as to avoid lip-sync) It works at a 32kHz Sampling frequency and so has a reduced audible frequency range (15Khz) compared to other digital formats such as CD or MPEG audio although it is less compressed at it is transmitted at a bitrate of 704Kbps

Noise Figure
A measure of the performance (noise contribution) of an LNB in decibels; the lower the better.

NTSC stands for the National Television Standards Committee, a video standard established by the United States (RCA/NBC) and adopted by numerous other countries. Colloqaially referred to as Never The Same Colour !

Is the common term for a regular TV antenna that receives local television programming broadcast Over The Air.

PAL (Phase Alternative Line) The television system used in most European Countries.

Pay Per View or PPV
A program, like a new non-commercial movie, sporting event or an adult program.

Parental Control
Allows you to set a password to control access to programming based on channel, rating, or content.

Pixelization occurs due to errors in decoding the MPEG bit stream where areas or patches of color appear instead of the higher resolution image. It might be described as the picture "breaking up". The patches of blocks appear and disappear, and can happen anywhere on the screen but usually are "part" of the image "in motion". Pixelization most often occurs during rain fade or if the satellite TV system has too low a signal strength to operate properly.

Pixel Plus
By doubling the number of pixels on a line and increasing by 33% the numbers of lines, Pixel PLus enhances both broadcast signals and DVD or Digital TV input towards near HD resolution and natural details.

Progressive Scan
A superior way of viewing video images compared with the traditional interlaced method. With interlacing, the two fields of each video frame(the odd and even horizontal lines) are shown one after another. With progressive scanning all of the horizontal lines of the frame are displayed in one go. The benefits are lack of 'flicker' and jagged edges typical of interlaced displays like CRT televisions and smoother horizontal resolution. A number of DVD players can output video progressively, although it is not offically available with NTSC material. The signal must be fed to a non-interlaced display such as a plasma screen or LCD or DLP projector. Certain televisions also feature progressive scan (or deinterlacing). Such sets analyse the video signal and insert extra scanning lines to increase the apparent resolution (compare with 100Hz

A Personal Video Recorder PVR satellite receiver) has a built in hard drive for digital recording of satellite television programs; these come with a typical 35-hour recording capability and two internal satellite TV system receivers. Dual tuners allow the user to record one program while watching another or record two programs at the same time.

Receiver for Satellite
The receiver is the box in the house connected to your TV and other equipment, like a sound system. It receives the signal from the LNB on the dish and allows you to view programming. All receivers come with a universal remote control that will control your satellite programming, TV and other components.

RF Loop Through
Allows the tv signal to be input and then distributed out again.

R/F Coax Connectors Also called R/F connectors. The R/F connectors are attached to the end of coax cable to allow you to connect the cable to the receiver, LNB and other devices. The copper center conductor in the cable should be cut about flush with the R/F connector. The connectors outside should be protected with coax seal, silicone grease to keep the moisture out.

S-Video (Super Video)

Better quality TV's generally have an S-Video input jack. All the new Dish Network receivers have an S-Video output. This will provide the highest quality picture.

Satellite Dish:
The dish is parabolic reflector and serves as a passive amplifier - the first and most important stage of amplification. The signal from the satellite that hits the dish is reflected to LNB at the focal point, about 12 inches in front of the dish.

SKEW Angle
 The skew angle represents the horizontal/vertical plane of the LNB. When a satellite dish is facing towards a satellite at due South, the plane of the LNB will be vertical (straight down). As the dish is moved around either East or West to receive other Satellites the LNB will need to be tilted (rotated), clockwise for West and counter clockwise for East. Some premium satellite systems do have Automatic Skew (aka Auto Skew) which rely on sophisticated technology such as GPS and stepper motors to automatically calculate the best Skew angle to use and to align the LNB for you.

A splitter is a passive device (one with no active electronic components) which distributes a television signal carried on a cable in two or more paths and sends it to a number of receivers simultaneously.

S-Video Jack
Some televisions have an input for a S-Video cable. This is better than audio/video jacks or R/F connectors. It is for the video, not the sound. All DirecTV and Dish Network receivers have s-video output.

TFT (Thin Film Transistor)
LCD technology where each pixel has its own transistor switch. This results in sharper looking colours

The measure of sensitivity of a satellite TV system receiver measured in decibels (dB).

Is the equivalent to a satellite channel. The satellite receives, amplifies, and transmits a signal back to earth on various transponders.

Term given to picture displays with a wider aspect ratio than PAL/NTSC 4:3. Digital HDTV is 16:9 widescreen. Most motion pictures have a widescreen aspect ratio, often wider than 16:9.

This article was published on Wednesday 15 September, 2010.


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