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Useful Glossary of Terms


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Glossary page


Alphabetical Index
S | T | U | V | W | X

Satellite Dish
A satellite dish is used to collect signals from a satellite in orbit and focus them to the front of the dish where a feed horn collects them and passes the signals on to the LNB to be amplified and sent to a satellite receiver. The larger the dish the more signal collected. The total amount of signal collected is a combination of the strength of the broadcasting satellite, the footprint of the satellite and the amount of signal the dish can actual collect and focus. In a digital system, the larger the dish does not translate into a better picture. A larger dish will reduce the effects of rain fade but not provide a better picture in normal operating conditions.
A sophisticated electronic communications relay station orbiting 22,237 miles above the equator moving in a fixed orbit at the same speed and direction of the earth (about 7,000 mph east to west).
Satellite Receiver
The IRD Unit which takes signals from a satellite dish and converts them so that they can appear on TV.
Satellite Broadcasting Communication Association. The SBCA is a organization of satellite TV manufactures, program providers, distributors and dealers. The SBCA is the leading voice for the satellite industry in congress and all across the country. In 2001 the SBCA began the National Standards and Testing Program.
See-through Menu/Guide Displays
Program guide and/or menus can be accessed without the loss of audio or video.
Set-Top Unit
Device that converts the digital signal received by the dish to whatever signals are required by the TV set; the name set-top implies that the device sits atop the television.
Slow Motion
This feature allows you to slow the speed at which you watch a taped program. This feature is found only on VCRs with more than 2 heads.
Smart Card
The Smart Card identifies the receiver to the network. It authorizes descrambling of the satellite signal, and authorizes purchases using the receiver.
Solar Outage
Solar outages occur when an satellite dish is looking at a satellite and the sun passes behind the satellite and within the field of view of the dish antenna. Solar outages can be exactly predicted as to the timing for each site. The outage occurs during the spring and fall as the sun moves up down the sky during the equinox. The outages only last a few minutes for a few days a year.
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.
Sports Subscription
A seasonal package of professional or collegiate games. The current popular packages are NBA-League Pass, NFL-Sunday Ticket, NHL-Center Ice and MLB-Extra Innings.
Spot Beam
A spot beam is a satellite transmission that is focused on a specific area within the footprint of the satellite. To increase the capacity of channels they can provide. Both Dish Network and DirecTV started using spot beams in 2002. By using spot beams both providers can use the same frequencies in several markets simultaneously. The use of spot beams has allowed satellite TV providers to meet must carry requirements set fore by the FCC. Spot beams would be the reason you could receive your local networks at home but not when you travel more then a few hundred miles from home.
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.
System Test
This function provides a standard test sequence to help evaluate any problems with a Satellite TV system.

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Timer Days
This feature indicates how long (in days) that your VCR will remember programs that you want to record.
The measure of sensitivity of a satellite receiver measured in decibels (dB).
Timer Events
Indicates how many programs the VCR may be programmed to record at one time. Once the events are programmed into the machine, the VCR does the rest.
Equipment inside a satellite, responsible for receiving a single up linked channel and re-broadcasting it back to earth.
Twin 500 LNB
A combination LNBF and multi-sat switch component for Dish 500 systems. Can accommodate up to 2 Dish Network receivers. If you need to connect more then 2 receivers, you will can switch to a QUAD LNBF.
Super VHS: These models have laser quality picture. This is a high-end feature and S-VHS models are generally top-of-the-line. These systems have the Hi-Fi stereo feature.
Will operate nearly every brand of television and cable box in addition to the VCR. Good feature because it means that you will only lose (and have to find) one remote.

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UHF Remote
Ultra High Frequency remote control that can operate the receiver from another room. The IR (Infra Red) remote needs to be pointed at the receiver. Some manufactures including Dish, RCA, Hughs and Sony offer UHF remotes. UHF remotes to not require line of site to operate. They can control a satellite system from another room or in the same room if you wish to locate the satellite receiver out of site. Some receivers have this function built in and others utilize a external box to receive the UHF signals and then pass the signals through a small cable that plugs into the back of the receiver. For satellite receivers that do not use a UHF remote you may be able to get a upgrade kit from your manufacturer which will give you UHF capabilities. If a manufacturer UHF remote kit is not available, Universal Remote Extenders can be used.
A signal's path from the Earth to a satellite.

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Video Heads
Effect picture image. More heads allow for a clean, steady picture; free from interference and shaky noise lines. The number of heads in a VCR varies from 2 to 6, although four is considered standard and plenty. Six head vcrs record and playback in EP mode with SP quality.
VCR Plus+ Programming
Simply enter the four digit code of the program you wish to record (found in the newspaper or TV Guide) and the system does the rest for you. You get to avoid the hassle of entering all the recording information such as date, channel, and start/stop times.
Encryption system which requires a decoder and Smart Card to be descrambled. Used by Sky and several other UK channels.
Video-On-Demand (VOD)
Multichannel system allowing a film to be broadcasted immediately if it is requested by an individual viewer.

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

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