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HOMECable >  Cable Dictionary

A Cable Dictionary...in layman's terms

Amplifier:  This piece of equipment re-amplifies the cable signal as it is transmitted “down the line.”  This is necessary because the signal becomes weaker as it continues to travel.

Analog Cable:  It is a method of transmitting signal and was the first choice for broadcast TV and radio when they were first introduced.

Basic Cable:  Primary level or levels of cable service offered for subscription.  Basic cable offerings may include retransmitted broadcast signals as well as local and access programming. In addition, regional and national cable network programming may be provided.

Cable-Ready TV: For a television and VCR to be marketed as “cable ready,” they must meet three specific requirements.  First:  they must contain an improved tuner that is more resistant to interference than traditional tuners.  Second:  they must allow cable channels to be tuned according to an FCC-approved channel plan.  And third:  they must have a special connector that allows cable service to be directly connected to the television set without the use of a set-top converter.

CATV:  An old term for Cable TV which stood for Community Antenna Television.

Channel Capacity:  It is the maximum number of 6MHz channels that a cable system can carry simultaneously and direct to the subscriber.

Coaxial Cable:  It is pure copper or copper-coated wire surrounded by insulation with an aluminum covering used to transmit television, telephone, and data signals.

Digital Cable:  It is a recent development that allows signals to be converted to electrical impulses and makes it much easier to produce perfect pictures over a distance.

DVR:  This stands for Digital Video Recorder.

Fiber-Optic Cable:  The technology of using light-transmitting fibers to transmit information. Each fiber is an extremely thin, flexible thread of pure glass able to carry one thousand times the information possible with traditional copper wire. Fiber optics is rapidly replacing copper telephone lines so that eventually all of your television programming will be sent through these lines.

HDTV:  This stands for High Definition TV and is a Japanese-developed television system that uses digital technology to deliver broadcast signals to your home.  Compared to analog, it delivers about twice the resolution or picture quality.  Its sound is considered CD-quality; and its screen is also one-third wider than a regular TV—making it similar in proportion to a movie theater screen.

Head-end:  This is the electronic control center of a cable system. It is usually located near the antenna or microwave relay facilities where incoming television signals are amplified, filtered, and converted, if necessary, before being delivered to the subscriber's home.

Modems:  This is a conditioning device which when properly connected allows transmission of digital signals.  A modem is necessary for the internet and phone services provided by cable companies today.

Pay-Per-View:  A pay-TV system that allows subscribers to select and pay for individual programs on a one-time basis rather than purchasing a channel for a month or more. 

Retransmit:  Receiving network or other programming from public transmissions and then transmitting those same signals over a cable system.

Satellite:  An earth-orbiting space station which may have any number of functions. Those used primarily to relay signals from one point on the earth's surface to one or multiple points in space are known as "communication satellites.”

Subscriber:   An individual who pays to receive television signals into his home. Payment is usually on a monthly basis.  This term is used interchangeably with "household."

Telecommunications:  The transmission and reception of signals by electromagnetic means such as microwaves, satellites, fiber optics, or broadcast antennas.

Telephony:  This is a new term used to describe voice-communication services over a wire.

Video-On-Demand:  Using a "digital server", viewers can choose the exact times they would like to watch the movies, concerts or sporting events offered by cable systems. Currently, these programs run from start to finish on fixed signals. VCR-like features include Pause, Rewind, and Fast-Forward functions.

VOIP:  This stands for Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol.  Basically it means voices are sent over the internet by the use of digital phones and modems.