As we grow older, we tend to acquire more knowledge. We can only stop learning when the spirit departs from the soul. In other words, no end to learning. Satellite TV glossary & definitions are what we want to address today, and I assure you, it would benefit both geeks and noobs alike. Everyone gets a take-home from this, including my humble self. Since we don’t expect any sort of a post of this outlook, I would love to go straight to business.
Satellite TV glossary & definitions: A to Z
satellite TV glossary & definitions – Part 1
A switch that selects one of two inputs (A or B) for routing to a common output while providing adequate isolation between the two signals.
Access Control System – ACS:
Access Control System/s, comprising all conditional access components such as S/1, IDAC, ISAC, minicons, etc…
This is the version number of the card’s software.
There are several software versions: 1.2, 1.4, 1.6 en 3.82, 3.83.
Versions 1.4 and 1.6 are almost identical.
A block of data forms an extension to a transport packet header. It may be of fixed format and of general data
An adjacent channel is immediately next to another channel in frequency. For example, PAL channels 5 and 6, as well as 8 and 9, are adjacent.
Fine-tuning a dish or an electronic circuit to maximize its sensitivity and signal-to-receive capability.
The Irdeto successor decodes both Irdeto and Betacrypt.
An abbreviation for amplitude modulation.
A system in which signals vary continuously in contrast to a digital system in which signals vary in discrete steps.
A circuit that converts analog signals to an equivalent digital form. The varying analog signal is sampled at a series of points in time. The voltage at each point is then represented by a series of numbers, the digital value of the sample. The higher this sampling frequency, the finer the gradations, and the more accurate the signal represented
A device that collects and focuses electromagnetic energy, i.e., contributes an energy gain. Satellite dishes, broadband antennas, and cut-to-channel antennas are some types of antennas encountered. In the case of satellite dishes, the increase is proportional to the surface area of the microwave reflector.
The percentage of incoming satellite signals captured by an antenna system.
The collection area of a parabolic dish.
An obstruction, such as the feed assembly, causes a blocking of the incoming signal.
The number that identifies the card. It is also printed on the card in bar code.
Although it is accessible by software, it is never really used.
It only serves identification purposes.
The relationship between the width and height of an image; the standard DTV wide-screen ratio is 16:9 (1.78:1), as compared to the squarer NTSC ratio of 4:3 (1.33:1)
Although the real name for the coding system is Mediaguard, it is often referred to as Seca or Aston Seca. Mediaguard is developed by Seca, so the also-used name Seca Mediaguard is more suitable. Aston is a company that builds the CAMs (among others) that are used to decode the Mediaguard system.
The Seca Mediaguard coding is used by the Canal + organization which is no wonder. Canal + is a shareholder in the Seca organization, and it also takes part in the development of the Mediaguard coding system. Because of the influence of Canal +, the Seca Mediaguard system is very popular in France.
The decrease in signal power occurs in a device or when a signal travels to reach a destination point (path loss).
A passive device that reduces the power of a signal. Attenuators are rated according to the amount of signal attenuation.
Answer To Reset, or ATR for short, is the string a smart card sends to the receiver upon every reset. The ATR of each smart card conforms to the ISO7816-3 specifications. The ATR contains information about the card, such as how the receiver should communicate with the card: Voltage, Amp, Baudrate, Synchronous or Asynchronous communication, etc.
The carrier wave transmits audio information within a video broadcast signal. Satellite transmissions can relay more than a single audio subcarrier in the frequency range between 5 and 8.5 MHz.
The auto-update (AU) technique ensures the card is kept up to date to provide the correct keys to the CAM when requested. Providers will regularly change their operational keys, and unless you have a valid set of management keys, you will soon be left with a black screen. For different coding systems, the keys used for decoding have other names. For instance, in Irdeto, they are called Plainkeys, and for Seca, they are called Operational Keys.
Automatic Brightness Control:
A television circuit automatically adjusts picture tube brightness in response to changes in the background or ambient light.
Automatic Fine Tuning:
A circuit that automatically maintains the correct tuner oscillator frequency compensates for drift and moderate amounts of inaccurate tuning. Similar to AFC.
Automatic Frequency Control – AFC:
A circuit that locks an electronic component to a chosen frequency so that the tuning will not drift from that desired frequency.
Automatic Gain Control – AGC:
A circuit that uses feedback to maintain the output of an electronic component at a constant level. This is achieved by locking the gain onto a fixed value and thus compensating for varying input signal levels keeping the output constant.
Azimuth-Elevation (Az-El) Mount:
A dish mount that tracks satellites by moving in two directions: the azimuth in the horizontal plane and elevation up from the horizon.
A compass bearing is expressed in degrees of rotation clockwise from true north. It is one of the two coordinates, azimuth, and elevation, used to align a satellite dish. Azimuth is vital in both the personal big dishes and commercial TV mounts
– Audio coding 3 (see Dolby Digital).
– Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service; special FCC committee that recommended DTV standards in 1997.
After color temp:
– Geek box term. The color temperature at a given brightness level after grayscale calibration. Usually expressed in degrees K; ideally as close to 6,500K as possible.
After grayscale variation:
– Geek box term. After calibration, the average amount of variation from an ideal of 6,500K, measured over the entire range of the grayscale–typically 20 to 100 IRE in 10-IRE increments.
– ALiS (alternate lighting of surfaces) technology developed by Fujitsu/Hitachi for plasma panel displays. On a conventional plasma TV, all pixels are illuminated at all times. With an ALiS plasma panel, alternate rows of pixels are illuminated so that half the panel’s pixels are illuminated at any moment, somewhat similar to interlaced scanning on a CRT-type TV. This allows higher native resolution than designs with discrete pixels (typically 1,024×1,024 versus 1,024×768 for 42-inch plasmas), but ALiS has historically suffered in other areas, including black-level performance.
– A perceived chink in the armor protecting copyrighted content from unauthorized distribution–for example, over the Internet. HDTV and other high-bandwidth content can be converted from analog to digital format and distributed widely. The MPAA wants to “plug” the analog hole by placing watermark detection capability in analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), which convert analog audio and video into digital form.
– Adopted from the film technique of shooting a wide-screen image on a square 35mm frame, it’s compressing wide-screen images to fit into the squarer standard 4:3 television signal. The images are then expanded for viewing in their original format on a wide-screen display device. Wide-screen or letterboxed DVDs that are not anamorphic have less detail when projected on a wide-screen monitor. In other words, a non-anamorphic wide-screen DVD is designed to be shown letterboxed on a standard “square” TV but appears with a black box all around the image when shown on a larger 16:9 wide-screen TV. To fill a 16:9 screen, a non-anamorphic DVD has to be blown up, resulting in a loss of resolution and detail. Conversely, a DVD that is anamorphic, enhanced for 16:9, or enhanced for wide-screen delivers 33 percent more resolution than regular letterboxed transfers, is designed to be shown on a 16:9 TV, and does not need to be blown up. When one of these DVDs is shown on a “square” TV, it is often subject to anamorphic downconversion artifacts unless the TV has a vertical compression feature.
Processing is present in all DVD players that convert the image from an anamorphic DVD for display on a regular 4:3 TV. In the initial setup of a DVD player is a choice between a 16:9 or a 4:3 TV; the 4:3 options engage this processing, which often introduces artifacts such as jaggies and undulations during pans.
American National Standards Institute, professional measurements, and standards group.
– Light-output specification set in 1993 was used mainly to measure the brightness of front-projection televisions; more exact than undefined lumens. The average 7-inch CRT front-projection television is capable of between 150 and 175 ANSI lumens, while 9-inch CRT sets emit between 200 and 240. Depending on the model, DLP and LCD projectors range from 600 to 7,000.
– Any abnormality in a video image; typically results from digital processing, the interlaced-scanning method, the conversion from one video format to another, or signal transmission issues.
– Advanced Television Research Consortium is an organization of several large consumer electronics companies, research facilities, and broadcast entities that developed U.S. high-definition television (HDTV) standards.
– Advanced Television Systems Committee, a government-sanctioned, industry-led standard-setting body that adopted the official DTV standard for the United States in 1997. The acronym also refers to the DTV and HDTV standards.
– Advanced Television Enhancement Forum, a coalition of broadcasters and hardware and software makers that created a standard for interactive data broadcasting, most of which would be broadcast as part of HD transmissions. These standards are currently under consideration by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). The group discontinued operations on November 1, 200
Satellite TV glossary & Definitions – Part 2
A range of frequencies.
A device that splits a group of specified frequencies into two or more bands. Common types include UHF/VHF, Hi/Lo-band, and FM separators. This device is essentially a set of filters.
A circuit or device that allows only a specified range of frequencies to pass from input to output.
The frequency range is allocated to any communication circuit.
The raw audio and video signals before modulation and broadcasting. Most satellite headend equipment utilizes baseband inputs. More precisely, the composite unclamped, non-de-emphasized, and unfiltered receiver output. This signal contains the complete set of FM-modulated audio and data subcarriers.
A measure is used to describe the width of the vision of a dish. Beamwidth is measured as degrees between the 3 dB half power points.
A coding system very similar to Irdeto and used by the German provider Premiere World.
Bit Error Rate – BER
The number of errors in a data stream has usually expressed as a ratio to the total number of bits in which an error occurs. For example, 1 in 10 7 or 10 -7
Bits per Second – BPS
The number of bits transmitted each second
Blanking Pulse Level
The reference level for video signals. The blanking pulses must be aligned at the input to the picture tube.
Pulses extinguish the scan illumination during horizontal and vertical retrace periods.
The process of lowering the entire band of frequencies in one step to some intermediate range to be processed inside a satellite receiver. Multiple block downconversion receivers can independently select channels because each can process the entire block of signals.
Now and then, some providers will only send signals that will affect pirate cards. These signals intend to disable pirate cards. To make sure these unwanted signals don’t reach and disable your original card, you can use a blocker. There are 2 ways to block signals: software- and hardware blockers.
A bootloader is the first program executed whenever you turn your receiver on. The bootloader will ensure that the receiver’s operating system is started. The operating system of a satellite receiver is usually called firmware.
A group of services offered. The operator may also market a bouquet as a product, such as `The Basic Bouquet.’
A device that processes a signal(s) spanning a relatively broad range of input frequencies
Before color temp
– Geek box term. The color temperature at a given brightness level before grayscale calibration. Usually expressed in degrees Kelvin, ideally as close to 6,500K as possible.
Before grayscale variation
– Geek box term. Before calibration, using the television’s best available presets, the average amount of variation from an ideal of 6,500K, measured over the entire range of the grayscale–typically 20 to 100 IRE in 10-IRE increments.
– Typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps); used to express the rate at which data is transmitted or processed. For digital television, including digital satellite and cable TV, DVD, and HDTV, the higher the bit rate, the more data is processed and, typically, the higher the picture quality. The DVD format allows up to 9.8Mbps, while HDTV requires 19.25Mbps for full-bandwidth transmission.
– The intensity of black in the television picture is frequently referred to as brightness, adjusted to compensate for ambient room light. The black level is set with a TV’s brightness control using a PLUGE test pattern. Setting the black level correctly is critical to overall picture quality, particularly the ability to see detail in dimly lit scenes of a movie. The term also refers to the ability of a display to produce an inky, deep black, which is often a problem in fixed-pixel displays.
– Copy-protection scheme for over-the-air DTV broadcasts that restricts recording of “flagged” shows. Its function applies only to digital outputs on DTV devices, specifically DTV receivers, TVs, and PC-based DTV tuner cards. Forthcoming flag-compliant products will refuse to digitally output/transfer any flagged show to a nonflagged legacy device or software.
Format for next-generation recordable HD DVD that uses a shorter-wave blue laser and is supported by most major DVD manufacturers. A single-sided, single-layer disc can hold 25GB of data.
The 3.625 to 4.2 GHz band of frequencies at which some broadcast satellites operate.
A device that enables you to use 2 cards in 1 CAM simultaneously.
A card group is just another name for a provider group.
A pure-frequency signal that is modulated to carry information. In the process of modulation, it is spread out over a wider band. The carrier frequency is the center frequency on any television channel.
Carrier-to-Noise Ratio – C/N:
The ratio of the received carrier power to the noise power in a given bandwidth is expressed in decibels. The C/N indicates how well a receiving system will perform in a particular location and is calculated from satellite power levels, dish gain, and the system noise temperature.
Cassegrain Feed System
A dish feed design includes a primary reflector, the dish, and a secondary reflector that redirects microwaves via a waveguide to a low-noise amplifier.
A smart card can be addressed and modified in 3 ways:
- By using the hex serial, individual cards can be addressed
- Through the card group number, all 256 cards in that group can be addressed simultaneously
- Within a card group, a selection of individual cards can be addressed by means of a CB20 selection (max. 256 cards)
Charge-coupled device. This device stores a charge on a capacitor etched onto a chip. Several samples can be simultaneously stored and used in MAC transmissions for temporarily storing video signals.
A segment of bandwidth is used for one complete communication link.
Is used to select a channel.
The correct combination of key and channel ID will activate the key.
The impedance in ohms of a device in the path of a communication signal such as a cable, a connector, or the input of an amplifier.
The hue and saturation of a color. The chrominance signal is modulated onto a 4.43 MHz carrier in the PAL television system and a 3.58 MHz carrier in the NTSC television system.
The color component of the composite baseband video signal is assembled from the I and Q portions. The phase angle of the signal represents hue and amplitude represents color saturation.
Electromagnetic waves whose electric field uniformly rotates along the signal path. Broadcasts used by Intelsat and other international satellites use circular, not horizontally or vertically polarized waves as are common in North American and European transmissions
A circuit that removes the dispersion waveform from the downlink signal.
Satellite receiver outputs that have the energy dispersal waveform removed. Unclamped outputs are often required as input to a decoder.
The circular orbital belt at 35 786 kilometers above the equator, named after the writer Arthur C. Clarke, in which satellites travel at the same speed as the earth’s rotation. Also called the geostationary orbit.
A cable for transmitting high-frequency electrical signals with low loss. It is composed of an internal conducting wire surrounded by an insulating dielectric further protected by a metal shield. The impedance of coax is a product of the radius of the central conductor, the radius of the shield, and the dielectric constant of the insulation. In most satellite and SMATV systems, the coax impedance is 75 ohms.
Colour Sync Burst:
A burst of 8 to 11 cycles in the 4.43361875 MHz (PAL) or 3.579545 MHz ( NTSC) color subcarrier frequency. This waveform is located on the back porch of each horizontal blanking pulse during color transmissions. It serves to synchronize the color subcarrier’s oscillator with that of the transmitter to recreate the raw color signals.
Common Interface (CI) is a PCMCIA slot in the satellite receiver in which CAM’scan be put. All multicrypt-receivers use Common Interfaces.
Common Scrambling Algorithm
This is the coding algorithm as specified by DVB. The CSA was designed to make transmitted signals safe from hackers. For the provider, the real advantage is that CSA is universal to several types of CAM’s. This means that a provider who, for instance, broadcasts in both Seca and Viaccess, can send EMM’sand ECM’s with the transmission, but each CAM will only react to the commands which are meant for that CAM. All other commands are ignored.
Composite Baseband Signal:
The complete audio and video signal without a carrier wave. Satellite signals have audio baseband information ranging in frequency from zero to 3400 Hertz. NTSC video baseband is from zero to 4.2 MHz.
pal video baseband ranges from 0 to 5.5 MHz.
Composite Video Signal:
The complete video signal consists of the chrominance and luminance information as well as all sync and blanking pulses.
A form of noise reduction using compression at the transmitting end and expansion at the receiver. A compressor is an amplifier that increases its gain for lower power signals. The effect is to boost these components into a smaller dynamic range form. A compressed signal has a higher average level, and, therefore, less apparent loudness than an uncompressed signal, even though the peaks are no higher in level. An expander reverses the effect of the compressor to restore the original signal.
A unit that accepts uncompressed video, audio, and data and then digitizes and compresses these signals
A collection of compressors, multiplexers, and modulators that generate one multiplex signal
A coding system that is used a lot in the Scandinavian countries.
Conditional Access (CA) is a technology, used for coding and authorizing DVB systems. The control mechanism is used to limit access by decoders to only the subscribed or free services on a multiplex.
A Conditional Access System (CAS) contains a few basic elements: SMS and SAS.
Conditional Access Module (CAM)
A Conditional Access Module (CAM) is the module into which the CA system is built in. CAMs can be found as separate modules to put into the CIof your receiver, but they are also sometimes built fixed into the receiver. In that case, they are called embedded CAM.
The CAM contains all software, needed to decode a certain scrambling system and also the necessary software to enable it to communicate with your smart card.
Conditional Access Table (CAT)
Conditional Access Table. A table that relates the entitlement management message ( EMM) data streams to the conditional access ( CA) vendor(s) managing the decoder base.
A Control Word (CW) is a data package containing the coded key for the coding algorithm of your smart card.
Country code (COCO)
A 3-digit code is used to inform the CAM/receiver which group of channels should be validated.
You can regard Crd files as a kind of macro file. They contain command strings, used to update your smart card.
A form of interference caused by the modulation of one carrier affecting that of another signal. It can be caused by overloading an amplifier as well as by signal imbalances at the headend.
Term to describe signals of the opposite polarity to another being transmitted and received. Cross-polarization discrimination refers to the ability of a feed to detect one polarity and reject the signals having the opposite sense of polarity
Interference between adjacent channels is often caused by cross modulation. Leakage can occur between two wires, PCB tracks, or parallel cables.
Cryptedkey (Key) & Plainkey
These are respectively a coded and an uncoded form of the same key.
To make things even more complicated than they already are, the cryptedkey is often referred to as a key.
The cryptedkey contains a combination of the date, that key was sent, the plainkey and the Plainmasterkey, all coded into 1 key. The cryptedkey is sent to the card on a regular basis. It validates the subscription of the user, therewith enabling the user to view certain channels. The cryptedkey ensures correct decoding of a validated channel. The plain key is the uncoded version of the cryptedkey.
A relative newcomer among the coding systems is Crypto Works. The Dutch-based Philips develops this system.
Customer Word Pointer
The 4th byte in the PPUAstring is called the CWP (or Customer Word Pointer). It is used to address individual cards. The CWP is used only in MOSC cards.
– In televisions, a picture is adjusted to comply with standards used in DVD and HDTV production.
– Consumer Electronics Association is the principal industry association for companies that manufacture consumer electronics.
– Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association, the industry group for installers of home theatre, multizone audio, phone, security, lighting, and other home equipment.
The technical name for the TV signal that carries the color information (red, green, and blue) needed to produce a color picture; is often called chroma.
– Video artefact caused by the color signal lagging the brightness signal; appears as color smearing on the left edges of some onscreen objects; easiest to see with a test pattern with a colored vertical stripe running down the middle of a white field.
– A component in all televisions translates color-signal information from the source for display on the TV. ATSC and NTSC require two separate decoder matrices. Practically speaking, many color decoders accentuate red to compensate for blue color temperature, a phenomenon known as a red push.
– Sometimes called white balance and expressed in degrees Kelvin or just Kelvin, this is the color of grey at different levels from black to white. Since color information overlays the black-and-white information in a TV signal, color temperature affects the entire range of color. The National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) standard is 6,500K, but typically manufacturers ship their TVs with color temperatures ranging from about 7,000K to 12,000K, on the blue side of the color spectrum, to make sets as bright as possible to stand out on a brightly lit showroom sales floor. Some sets have a selectable color temperature.
– Component in all televisions that separates the chrominance and luminance from one another in composite-video connections. Good comb filtering enhances fine detail, cleans up image outlines, and eliminates most extraneous colors. Comb filters do not affect S-Video, component video, or digital-video connections.
– The elements that make up a video signal, consisting of luminance and two separate chrominance signals, are expressed either as Y R-Y B-Y or Y Pb Pr.
– Analog video signal that includes vertical and horizontal synchronizing information. Since both luminance and chrominance signals are encoded together, only a single connection wire or jack is needed.
– Method of electronically reducing the number of bits required to store or transmit data. The method adopted for DTV is called MPEG-2. Four full-range channels of programming and data can be compressed into the same space required by a single analog channel.
– Difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks a display can show. The higher the contrast ratio, the greater the ability to show subtle color details and tolerate ambient room light (for example). Most contrast-ratio specs reported by manufacturers are inflated.
– Copy Protection Technical Working Group, a committee formed by consumer electronics and computer industry companies to recommend DVD and DTV copy-protection protocols.
cathode-ray tube, the original and still the most common display technology for televisions. Invented in 1897 by German physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun, the tube uses an electron beam to scan lines on the screen. It does not have an exact resolution as a fixed-pixel display does.
The date on a card is used by the provider to activate or deactivate channels.
A reduction of the higher frequency portions of an FM signal which is used to neutralize the effects of pre-emphasis. When combined with the correct level of pre-emphasis, it reduces overall noise levels and therefore increases the output S/N ratio
Declination Offset Angle
The adjustment angle of a polar mount between the polar axis and the plane of a satellite antenna that is used in aiming at the geosynchronous arc. Declination increases from zero with latitude away from the equator.
A circuit that restores a signal to its original form after it has been scrambled.
A sub-system on the BS, managing all decoder/smart card-related information such as function testing, keysafing information, etc…
Decoding Time Stamp – TS
A 90 kHz referenced time stamp indicating when the contents of a packetized elementary stream (PES) packet should be decoded
A device that extracts the baseband signal from the transmitted carrier wave.
Describes a system or device in which information is transferred by electrical [on-off], [high-low], or [1/0] pulses instead of continuously varying signals or states as in an analog message.
Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)
A term commonly used to describe Ku-band broadcasts directly to individual end-users via satellite. The DBS band ranges from 11.7 to 12.75 GHz.
Geek box term. Measurement of how well the television can maintain a consistent color of black regardless of the brightness of the rest of the image.
defeatable edge enhancement
Geek box term. The ability of a TV to not introduce any extra edge enhancement.
Digital Cable Ready
The official term for an HDTV conforms to the plug-and-play digital cable TV standard using POD (point of deployment) access cards, also called CableCARDs. With cable systems that comply to the standard, users can plug the cable directly into an HDTV set, then enjoy HDTV and digital cable without having to use a separate set-top box. Sets with interactive functionality are labeled Interactive Digital Cable Ready.
Digital comb filter
A device that separates the luminance and chrominance parts of a video signal in the digital domain, which provides enhanced color purity and reduced dot crawl over the analog variety. See comb filter
Any television is not based on projection technology. Most often refers to standard CRT televisions instead of rear- or front-projection TVs.
Digital Video Express. Defunct pay-per-view DVD feature that played back both standard and lower-cost DVDs; Divx-enhanced DVD players had to be connected to a phone line to track additional viewings of discs but was discontinued by its primary promoter, Circuit City, in June 1999. Divx is not to be confused with DivX video format.
MPEG-4-based compressed digital video format (or codec) used for Internet distribution of movies; often called the MP3 of video. DivX Networks is the name of the company that sells DivX content and is not to be confused with Circuit City’s defunct Divx DVD format.
Digital light processing. A microdisplay technology invented by Texas Instruments, DLP is based on a digital micromirror device (DMD), a chip with millions of hinged, microscopic mirrors attached, each of which corresponds to a single pixel in the projected image. Red, green, and blue light filtered through a color wheel are directed alternately onto the DMD, which switches on and off up to 5,000 times a second. The reflected light is directed through a lens and onto a screen, creating an image. High-end HDTV projectors use a three-chip solution, with separate DMDs for green, red, and blue, and forego the color wheel.
The six-channel digital audio standard is part of the U.S. digital television standard; also called AC-3 or Digital 5.1. The channels consist of the front left, front right, front center, surround or rear left, surround or rear right, and a separate subwoofer (the .1).
In DTV, the conversion from a higher-resolution input signal number to a lower one. For example, some DTV receivers can be set to downconvert an HDTV 1080i signal to a standard 480i signal that any TV can display.
Digital Rights Management. A general term that describes various technical and/or legislative efforts for securing and protecting different forms of digital content for the benefit of copyright holders.
– Digital Transmission Copy Protection. HDTV copy-protection scheme is more commonly called 5C.
– Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator. The licensing organization for the 5C DTCP HDTV copy-protection technology.
– Digital television. A generic term that refers to all digital television formats, including high-definition television (HDTV) and standard-definition television (SDTV).
Digital-VHS. Version of VHS (Video Home System) videocassette standard capable of recording HDTV via a FireWire connection; D-VHS decks are made by JVC and Mitsubishi.
Digital visual interface. Omnidirectional digital connectivity standard that conveys an uncompressed digital signal from a digital source, such as an ATSC tuner, to a display. HDCP copy protection is often used in conjunction with the DVI connection. DVI connections do not carry audio.
Digital video recorder. A television recorder such as Replay and TiVo uses a hard drive, an EPG, and internal processing to simplify programmed recording and playback of recorded programs drastically. A DVR vastly increases recording time compared to VCRs or DVD-recording decks; often enables smart programming, in which the device records an entire series or programming defined by keywords, genre, or personnel; and offers pause control over “live” broadcasts. Also called a personal video recorder (PVR) or hard disk video recorder.
Direct programming lines
If the EEPROM on a card is directly connected to the card’s contacts, then the EEPROM can be programmed independently from the processor. When this is the case, those direct connections are called the direct programming lines. You will find DPL on SMD or HMD cards only. Goldwater’s don’t utilize DPL and will therefore always need a loader file in the processor chip in order to program the EEPROM on the card.
A circuit that lowers the high-frequency signal to a lower, intermediate range. There are three distinct types of downconversion used in satellite receivers: single downconversion; dual downconversion; and block downconversion.
The antenna onboard a satellite which relays signals back to earth.
DPSC is short for Digital Pirate SatelliteCard. These cards are sold with working keys. Prices can be up to several hundreds of Euros for multi-provider cards. Usually, these cards contain a sort of timing routine which ensures that the cards are disabled after a certain period of use. But these cards will also be closed by provider attacks through the use of ECMs.
Instability in a preset voltage, frequency or other electronic circuit parameters.
Direct-To-Home satellite broadcasts.
A feed that can simultaneously receive two different bands, typically the C and Ku-bands.
DVB is short for Digital Video Broadcasting, or digital satellite TV.
The DVB SI tables include a Bouquet Association Table (the BAT). The DVB definition for a “bouquet” is “a group of services logically grouped together”. The intention of the DVB Bouquet is usually to group services that are managed by one entity together. “DVB” is added before the name to distinguish it from the “SMS” bouquet.
A complete satellite receiving or transmitting station including the dish, electronics, and all associated equipment necessary to receive or transmit satellite signals. Also known as a ground station.
ECM is short for Entitlement Control Message. These are commands which are used to control the working of your card. ECMs are always sent as packets. Such a packet is called a Control Word(CW) and it contains coded keys, IDs, etc. needed to decode the signal. In other words, the ECM identifies the service and the conditions that have to be met in order to use that service. Providers will also use fake ECMs to disable pirate cards. That is why a lot of people translate ECM as Electronic Counter Measure.
Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP)
A measure of the signal strength that a satellite transmits towards the earth below. The EIRP is highest at the center of the beam and decreases at angles away from the boresight.
Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
The Electronic Program Guide is broadcasted along with all other data.
Elementary Stream (ES)
A stream carrying a single stream of, types of presentation data, such as a single audio or video data stream
Elementary Stream Clock Reference (ESCR)
Elementary Stream Clock ReferenceA 42-bit counter clocked at 27 MHz and it is used for synchronizing data
The vertical angle is measured from the horizon up to a target satellite.
EMM is short for Entitlement Management Messages. EMMs are composed of the information, contained in the SAS and will always be sent together with the ECM. EMMs contains information about the subscriber and the status of the subscription. They are used to transfer information about authorization, but they will also carry new keys, or modify or delete existing keys.
An entity that compressed a single data stream
Specific consumer electronics industry IEEE 1394 digital video cable standard; also called FireWire.
The generic term for artificial edges created around onscreen objects. With already-sharp, high-resolution sources such as DVD and HDTV, it actually obscures detail and increases noise. Scan-velocity modulation circuits, a TV’s sharpness control, or the source itself (such as a DVD) are some possible sources of edge enhancement.
Enhanced Definition Television (see 480p). Also used to describe plasma and other fixed-pixel displays that have 852×480 resolution. They can show an HDTV image but don’t provide as much detail as higher-resolution displays.
The modulation of an uplink carrier with a triangular waveform. This technique disperses the carrier energy over a wider bandwidth than otherwise would be the case in order to limit the maximum energy compared to that transmitted by an unclamped carrier. This triangular waveform is removed by a clamp circuit in a satellite receiver.
EPG is short for Electronic Program Guide.
A series of six pulses occurred before and after the serrated vertical sync pulse to ensure proper interlacing. The equalizing pulses are inserted at twice the horizontal scanning frequency.
An event is one particular transmission of a program. An event is known by its name, the service on which it is transmitted, the date and time of its broadcast, and possibly additional information such as a part number. Events may be re-broadcast if the events are different
satellite TV glossary & definitions – Part 4
A standard RF connector is used to link coaxial cables with electronic devices.
The ratio of a dish’s focal length to diameter. It describes dish depth.
A device that collects microwave signals reflected from the surface of a dish. It is mounted at the focus of all prime focus parabolic dishes.
One-half of a complete TV picture or frame is composed of 325 scanning lines. In the PAL broadcast system, there are 50 fields per second.
A file set is a complete package of software and keys, needed to program a smart card. How the file set is composed, is dependent on the type of card it is made for. For PIC cards, a file set contains 2 files (the PIC file and the eeprom file). For AVR type cards like the Fun- and Jupiter cards, the file set contains 2 or 3 files (a flash file for the processor, an external eeprom file and sometimes an internal eeprom file).
An artefact common to fixed-pixel displays that produce splotchy, distinct sections in what should be gradual gradations of color or shadows. Also referred to as solarization and posterization.
Bidirectional high-speed digital video/audio and data interface technology adopted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Unlike other video connectivity standards, FireWire requires software programming to ensure compatibility between devices; the FireWire jack on most DVD recorders, for instance, is programmed to be compatible only when connected to a digital camcorder. FireWire connections between HDTV devices, such as a digital cable box and an HDTV recorder, are controlled by 5C DTCP copy-protection technology. FireWire is Apple Computer’s version of the IEEE 1394 interface and is now administered by a consortium that includes Apple and several other companies; sometimes referred to as i.Link (Sony’s name), DISH Wire (by Echostar), and EIA-775.
Digital televisions that use discrete pixels to create a picture image, such as plasma, LCD, DLP, LCoS, or any non-CRT display device. In the case of DLP, for instance, each pixel is represented by one of the hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors mounted on a DLP chip.
Video display typically uses gas plasma or LCD technology and measures only a few inches thick.
Measurement of light emitted or reflected from a perfectly diffused surface; used to rate brightness in projection TV sets; the higher the rating, the brighter the picture. One foot-lambert is equal to the relative reflected light radiated by one candle over a one-square-foot area. This measurement is often misleading and misused on projector spec sheets.
Frames per second. The number of individual still pictures that pass by every second to create a moving image. The film runs at 24fps, while video, including DVD, runs at 30fps. To compensate for the difference, 2:3 pull-down detection is used.
Type of TV system in which the picture is projected onto a reflective screen or even a wall. The larger the picture, the more visible the pixels or scan lines and the darker the image. CRT systems use three tubes (red, blue, and green), whereas LCD and DLP uses a single projection lens.
Measures the light-reflecting ability of a projection screen. The higher the number, the greater the amount of light reflected back to the viewer.
CNET’s way of providing at-a-glance Labs results for TV reviews.
Unnatural bowing of straight lines or other distortion of shapes, especially at the sides and corners in a TV picture.
The ability of television to reproduce lines, shapes, and sizes accurately.
Multiple overlaid TV images are noticeable around the edges of objects; occur when an antenna picks up the original TV signal along with duplicate signals reflected by tall buildings and other similar obstacles. DTV broadcasts can suffer from ghosting, which is sometimes called multipath.
The range of grey at different intensities from completely black to completely white. Since color information is overlaid atop black-and-white information in a composite, S-Video, and component-video signal, the ideal is to set the entire range of the grayscale as close to the standard of 6,500K as possible to preserve color fidelity.
Geek box term. The average variation above or below 6,500K, measured on the grayscale from 20 to 100 IRE in 10-IRE increments.
A device is used to reject all but a specified range of frequencies. A bandpass filter allows only those signals within a given band to be communicated. A rejection filter, the mirror image of a bandpass filter, eliminates those signals within a specified band but passes all other frequencies.
The firmware is the operating system software for the receiver
An abbreviation for frequency modulation is Focal Length – The distance from the reflective surface of a parabola to the point at which incoming satellite signals are focused, the focal point. Footprint – The geographic area towards which a satellite downlink antenna directs its signal. The measure of the strength of this footprint is the EIRP.
Forward Error Correction (FEC)
EC is a technique for improving the accuracy of data transmission. Excess bits are included in the outgoing data stream so that error correction algorithms can be applied upon reception. On satellite links, this is in the form of Reed-Solomon and convoluted Viterbi coding implemented at the modulator/demodulator level.
One complete TV picture, composed of two fields and a total of 525 and 625 scanning lines in NTSC and PAL systems, respectively.
The number of vibrations per second of an electrical or electromagnetic signal expressed in cycles per second or Hertz. Front-end Processor – FEP
The amount of amplification of input to output power is often expressed as a multiplicative factor or in decibels.
Gain-to-Noise Temperature Ratio (G/T)
The figure of merit of a dish and LNA. The higher the G/T, the better the reception capabilities of an earth station.
A term used to describe the appearance of multiple TV images that is usually caused by the reception of a signal via two different paths.
1000 MHz or one billion cycles per second.
A footprint pattern used by communication satellites targeting nearly 40% of the earth’s surface below. Many Intelsat satellites use global beams.
Unwanted microwave signals generated from the warm ground and detected by a dish.
Hall Effect Sensor
A semiconductor device in which an output voltage is generated in response to the intensity of a magnetic field applied to a wire. In an actuator, the varying magnetic field is produced by the rotation of a permanent magnet past a thin wire. The pulses generated serve to count the number of rotations of the motor
A low-loss coaxial cable that has a continuous hard metal shield instead of a conductive braid around the outer perimeter. This type of cable was used in the pioneer days of satellite television.
The portion of a SMATV or MMDS system where all desired signals are received and processed for subsequent distribution.
A thick low-loss cable is used at high frequencies; also known as hard-line.
An abbreviation for the frequency measurement of one cycle per second. Named after Heinrich Hertz, the German scientist who first described the properties of radio waves.
A 3-byte hexadecimal number which is used by the provider to address the smart card.
A 10-byte long hexadecimal number is coded with the hex serial. The hexmasterkey is just a code that is used by the smart card to calculate the plainmasterkeyfrom the masterkey. Without the hexmasterkey, it is not possible to correctly update the plainmasterkey.
High Definition Television (HDTV)
An innovative television format has approximately twice the number of scan lines in order to improve picture resolution and viewing quality.
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. Copy-protection scheme developed by Intel to be used in conjunction with DVI and HDMI connections.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface. USB-like digital video connectivity standard designed as a successor to DVI; can transmit both uncompressed digital audio and video signals; protected by HDCP digital copy protection.
High-definition digital video disc. Several formats have been proposed for these high-capacity DVDs, including Blu-ray.
High Power Amplifier (HPA)
An amplifier is used to amplify the uplink signal. Horizontal Blanking Pulse – The pulse that occurs between each horizontal scan line in an analog television signal and extinguishes the beam illumination during the retrace period.
Horizontal Sync Pulse (HSP)
A 4.7 microsecond (in the PAL system) rectangular pulse riding on top of each horizontal blanking pulse. It synchronizes the horizontal scanning at the television set with that of the television camera.
A number of vertical lines (or pixels) that can be resolved from one side of an image to the other. While the vertical resolution of all analog video sources is the same (480 lines), the horizontal resolution varies according to the source. Some examples of typical sources: VHS VCRs (240 lines), analog TV broadcasts (330 lines), non-HDTV digital satellite TV (up to 380 lines), and DVD players (540 lines). DTV signals have horizontal resolution that ranges from 640 lines for SDTV to 1,280 lines (for 720p HDTV) or 1,920 lines (for 1080i HDTV).
Space where radio frequency systems reside. These include modulators, group delay equalizers, upconverters, high power amplifiers, and combiner systems
A form of interference is seen as horizontal bars or black regions passing across the field of a television screen.
One of the two color video signals modulates the color subcarrier. It represents those colors ranging from reddish orange to cyan.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 1394. The official designation of the FireWire digital connectivity standard.
Independent input memories
A feature found on newer TVs that automatically associates a separate picture memory slot–usually including contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, tint, and color temperature–with each input. Greatly eases the optimization of picture parameters specifically for different devices.
Integrated HDTV tuner
The terrestrial ATSC high-definition tuner built into an HDTV, it allows the set to receive over-the-air HDTV broadcasts without having to attach a set-top box.
Interactive Digital Cable Ready
See Digital Cable Ready.
The scan method is used by the majority of televisions and the 1080i HDTV format. As opposed to progressive scanning in which the CRT’s electron beam scans or “paints” all lines at once, interlaced scanning TVs paint odd-numbered lines in succession, then go back and fill in the remaining even-numbered lines. This method is more prone to artifacts and less stable than progressive.
International Radio Engineers. In calibration, used to refer to different brightness levels on the grayscale. 20 IRE is quite dark, while 100 IRE is extremely bright.
The resistance to alternating current flow in an electrical circuit.
Pay Per View
Impulse pay per view or interactive pay per view (ippv) is an extension of ordinary PPV. You no longer will be charged for a total event, but instead, you are charged for the time you spent using the service.
Seca uses so-called instruction bytes (INS) in order to communicate between CAMand smart cards. These instructions are used for instance to request card- and provider data, authorization, ECM’sand EMM’s etc.
Integrated Decoder Access Control
IDAC Integrated Receiver Decoder – IRD – A satellite receiver and decoder contained in one case Interference – An undesired signal intercepted by a TVRO that causes video and/or audio distortion.
Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD)
An integrated satellite receiver/decoder.
The amount of signal energy lost when a device is inserted into a communication line. Also known as <169>feed through<170> loss.
A scanning technique to minimize picture flicker while conserving channel bandwidth. Even odd numbered lines are scanned in separate fields both of which when combined paint one frame or complete picture.
Intermediate Frequency (IF)
A middle range frequency is generated after downconversion in any electronic circuitry including a satellite receiver. The majority of all signal amplification, processing, and filtering in a receiver occur in the IF range.
An organization, founded by Ir. den Toonder (hence the name). This organization develops systems for secure data distribution like PPV (pay per view) and IPPV(impulse pay per view).
The most well-known providers that use Irdeto for their transmissions, are Premiere World, Canal +, Stream and Nova.
A device that allows signals to pass unobstructed in one direction but which attenuates their strength in the reverse direction.
The amount of signal energy lost between two ports of a device. An example is a loss between the feed through a port and the tap/drop of a top-off device.
Type of video artifact that looks like a jagged edge as opposed to a smooth line. It often appears on diagonal lines in 30fps material.
Key compatible card groups
These are card groups or provider groups, sharing the same keys.
One thousand cycles per second.
The microwave frequency band between approximately 11 and 13 GHz is used in satellite broadcasting.
In TV, a unit of measurement is used to describe the color of light produced by the screen.
A feature found in front projectors is designed to compensate for mounting situations when the centerline of the projector’s lens is not perpendicular to the screen. Although keystone correction allows greater mounting flexibility, it almost always reduces apparent resolution and makes the image dimmer
Liquid-crystal display. The system is used on many DTVs, clocks, answering machines, handheld organizers, camcorders, and personal computers. Liquid crystals are sandwiched between two glass plates. Minor temperature variations are introduced to particular points in the display using pinpoint electric charges, illuminating or causing the crystals to change colors in predetermined patterns.
A television that employs a liquid-crystal display screen rather than a CRT; used in small, personal TVs, portable video equipment, front projectors, and larger flat-panel displays. An LCD projector uses a lamp to shine light through liquid-crystal panels, then through mirrors and lenses to the screen.
Liquid Crystal on Silicon. Whereas LCDs use liquid crystals sandwiched between two glass plates, this newer hybrid projection TV technology employs liquid crystals coated on a silicon chip, which results in easier, lower-cost manufacturing and higher-resolution images.
A wide-screen movie on DVD, laserdisc, or videotape is presented in its original theatrical wide-screen width on a standard square 4:3 TV. The film is shown with black bars above and below the picture area to create a wider, theatrical image. Often used to indicate a non-anamorphic DVD.
The technology used in televisions to create a higher-quality picture by increasing the number of lines of resolution displayed; it can be a separate device or a feature built-in in TVs, primarily DTVs. A poor-quality line-doubler can actually degrade the image from lower-resolution analog or digital signals.
The unit of measure for the light output of a projector. Different manufacturers may rate their projectors’ light output differently, and these numbers are usually inflated. “Peak lumens” is measured by illuminating an area of about 10% of the screen size in the center of the display. This measurement ignores the reduction in brightness at the sides and corners of the screen. See also ANSI lumens
The portion of a television transmission that controls the brightness of the red, green, and blue proportions in a television picture. The standard luminance setting in a picture is 30 percent red, 60 percent green, and 10 percent blue. These numbers are adjusted to produce varying colors, grays, whites, and blacks.
An amplifier in a transmission line boosts the strength of a signal.
An active or passive device that divides a signal into two or more signals containing all the original information. A passive splitter feeds an attenuated version of the input signal to the output ports. An active splitter amplifies the input signal to overcome the splitter loss.
A device that is used to supply a stable single frequency to an upconverter or a downconverter. The local oscillator signal is mixed with the carrier wave to change its frequency.
The process of recording the information contained in the data stream between CAMand smart card. The data stream contains, among others, the keys that are used by the provider to manipulate the card.
Low Noise Amplifier (LNA)
A device that receives and amplifies the weak satellite signal reflected by a dish via a feed. C-band LNAs typically have their noise characteristics quoted as noise temperatures rated in degrees Kelvin. Ku-band LNA noise characteristics are usually expressed as a noise figure in decibels.
Low Noise Block (LNB/LNBF)
LNB is short for Low Noise Block. Or to be even more accurate Low Noise Block Downconverter. An LNB converts the frequency of the captured satellite signal to another frequency. A frequency that can be transported via Coax cable, to be precise. In-home satellite systems, the Ku-band is converted to a much lower frequency. Indeed, through the use of an LNB.
LNBF is short for Low Noise Block Feedhorn. This is an LNB in which the feedhorn is already fully integrated. A feedhorn will bundle the energy, captured by your satellite dish. The bundled energy can then be processed by the LNB, much better.
Low Noise Converter (LNC)
An LNA and a conventional downconverter are housed in one weatherproof box. This device converts one channel at a time. Channel selection is controlled by the satellite receiver. The typical IF for LNCs is 70 MHz.
Masterkey & Plainmasterkey
The coded, respectively uncoded 8-byte key, used to trigger certain card functions like “opening” the card.
The Masterkey can be calculated from the sum of the hexserial and the provider group.
So the mathematical formula is simply: hexserial + provider group = master key.
The Masterkey is also sometimes referred to as Key00. Whenever the Masterkey is written to the card, that is done uncoded (the plainmasterkey). The plainmasterkey is necessary for further processing of the key- and channel information.
One million cycles per second.
Microwave Multipoint Distribution Services (see MUD)
A device that modulates a signal, for example, an analog signal or a MPEG-2 transport stream onto a radio frequency carrier
A process in which a message is added or encoded onto a carrier wave. Among other methods, this can be accomplished by frequency or amplitude modulation, known as AM or FM, respectively.
Modified Original Smart Card. These are the original provider-supplied smart cards.
- MPEG is short for Moving Pictures Expert Group.
- This is the organization that developed the MPEG standard.
- MPEG comes in several versions:
- MPEG-1, mainly used for Video CD and MP3
- MPEG-2, the standard in digital TV, DVD, and set-top boxes
- MPEG-4, the multimedia standard for the web
Multicrypt receivers are universal receivers that utilize a common interface to serve as a carrier for separate CAMs. Multicrypt receivers have been developed under the pressure of the market. Their flexibility lies in the possibility to host several CAMs, thus enabling them to accommodate multiple coding systems.
MultiChoice Africa was born on the African continent and its history can be traced back to 1986 when a number of South African media companies formed Africa’s first pay TV channel, M-Net. From humble beginnings, M-Net grew much faster than anticipated.
Multiple Analog Component (MAC) Transmissions
A video/audio/data transmission method that separates the data, chrominance, and luminance components and compresses them for sequential relay over one television scan line. There are a number of systems in use and under development including A-MAC, B- MAC, C-MAC, D-MAC, D2-MAC, E-MAC, and F-MAC.
Multiple Unit Dwelling (MUD)
MUD Microwave Multipoint Distribution Services – MMDS – A system for distributing television programs via terrestrial microwaves to very small receive dishes
The simultaneous transmission of two or more signals over a single communication channel. The interleaving of the luminance and chrominance signals is one form of multiplexing, known as frequency multiplexing. MultiChoice transmissions use time division multiplexing (TDM) whereby data streams are divided in time into interspersed data packets.
MUX – A device that takes the outputs from several encoders and multiplexes them together to form one data stream
A computer that controls the functions of a specific multiplexer pair in a compression system.
– Megabits per second. The standard unit of bit rate measurements, it represents 1,024 kilobits or 1,048,576 bits per second, although in practice this number is often rounded to 1,000,000 bits.
– Type of fixed-pixel projection television that uses a chip illuminated by a lamp to produce the image–as opposed to projection technologies that use CRTs. Examples include DLP, LCD, and LCoS rear-projection HDTVs.
– Motion Picture Association of America. The industry association for producers of motion pictures.
A low-loss coaxial cable connector used at the elevated microwave frequencies.
A coding system that is especially popular among Spanish and Turkish providers.
Nanos commands are sent to the card in order to update the card.
– The resolution at which a TV or monitor is designed to display images. Image signals higher or lower than a specified native resolution must be converted to be displayed accurately. For example, a TV with a native resolution of 1080i can display 1080i images but may upconvert 480p images to 1080i. In contrast, a TV with a native resolution of 480p must downconvert a 1080i signal to 480p for display. CRT-based projection TVs can have more than one native resolution, but fixed-pixel displays such as LCD and DLP are limited to displaying one resolution and converting all others.
The National Television Standards Committee which created the standard for North American TV broadcasts.
NTSC Color Bar Pattern
The standard test pattern of six adjacent color bars including the three primary colors plus their three complementary shades.
Negative Picture Phase
Position the composite video signal so that the maximum level of the sync pulses is at 100% amplitude. The brightest picture signals are in the opposite negative direction.
Negative Picture Transmission
The transmission systems used in North America and other countries in which a decrease in the illumination of the original scene causes an increase in the percentage of modulation of the picture carrier. When demodulated, signals with a higher modulation percentage have more positive voltages.
An unwanted signal interferes with the reception of the desired information. Noise is often expressed in degrees Kelvin or in decibels.
The ratio of the actual noise power generated at the input of an amplifier to that which would be generated in an ideal resistor. The lower the noise figure, the better the performance.
A measure of the amount of thermal noise present in a system or a device. The lower the noise temperature, the better the performance.