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Glossary

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8b/10b
A process of encoding and transmitting high speed serial data, converting an 8-bit character into 10 bits with evened out ones and zeroes for balanced DC. Used by DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. Results in 20% data overhead to actual payload.
10/100/1000Base-T
Local Area Network (LAN) adaptation yielding 10, 100 or 1000Mbps respectively, defined under IEEE 802.x
1080i
Video format referring to 1080 lines interlaced scan. 540 lines scanned, alternating between odd and even ‘fields’ combining to 1080 lines per frame.
1080p
Video format referring to 1080 lines progressive scan. 1080 lines are scanned in a single frame, giving smoother gradients with motion than 1080i
2160p
Video format referring to 2160 vertical pixels/lines in progressive scan. Precisely double the Vres of 1080p, and in the same aspect ratio also double the Hres, producing four times the total pixel count. Also called 4K, UltraHD or UHD.
2K
A Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) commercial cinema format comprising 2048 pixels in the horizontal (width). The corresponding Vres is determined by content, but in display hardware (ie; projector) is typically 1080 pixels.
3D Video
As defined in the HDMI 1.4 specification of 2009, more accurately described as stereoscopic 3D. Can be delivered within 2D bandwidth as top-and-bottom (half Vres per eye) or side-by-side (half Hres per eye) frame composition, or frame packing with sequential left-eye, right-eye full full resolution per eye. Active 3D employs LCD glasses, whereas passive 3D employs polarisation either in the glasses or in the display for showing or blocking respective elements per eye.
3D Audio
New multi-channel audio formats defined by CEA-861-F and HDMI 2.0 specifications, delivering three tiers of immersive audio. 10.2ch, 22.2ch or 30.2ch with rotational, height and dome steering of audio up to 24-bit 192kHz
4:3 Pixel
A option defined in HDMI 2.0 that permits video content to be horizontally condensed at a ratio of 4:3. When processed for display, this results in the image being expanded at the reverse ratio, resulting in a 2.37:1 aspect ratio. aka anamorphic. This means no loss of Vres in black bars, increasing effective resolution. When applied with UHD 2160p, the result will retain all of the 2160 Vres, but expand Hres to a substantial 5120 pixels.
4K
A Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) commercial cinema format comprising 4096 pixels in the horizontal (width). The corresponding Vres is determined by content, but in display hardware (ie; projector) is typically 2160 pixels. This term was adopted in the HDMI 1.4 specification of 2009 to describe both 4096x2160 and 3840x2160 formats. It is technically not applicable to the latter, where 2160p, UltraHD or UHD nomenclature is more descriptive..
4:2:0
A chroma subsampling technique that references a 2x2 component video pixel grid, dropping the Cb/Pb and Cr/Pr components of three out of the four pixels, and repeating the data from the first (pixel 0) across all four. This halves both the horizontal and vertical colour resolution, but without compromising the actual picture resolution (Y channel). It reduces colour bandwidth by 3/4, substantially saving on video file size and potentially data transfer load. The result is acceptable to most as the human eye being 1/20th as sensitive to colour as to luminance (B&W), so to most will be imperceptible. The standard technique as used on DVD and Blu-ray.
4:2:2
A chroma subsampling technique that references a 2x2 component video pixel grid, dropping the Cb/Pb and Cr/Pr components of two out of the four pixels, halving the colour bandwidth. It halves the horizontal colour resolution, but retains full vertical colour resolution. As the human eye is more sensitive to vertical resolution, this yields a perceptibly superior result over 4:2:0.
4:4:4
Full uncompressed colour, where the chroma component of each pixel is retained in full. Achieves YCbCr/YPbPr colour equivalent to RGB.
720p
Video format referring to 720 pixels of vertical resolution (Vres), or lines, in progressive scan

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A

ABS (plastic)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. A common and durable plastic
Active Cable
An interconnect which employs active components to augment signal transmission
Anamorphic
A technique of horizontally condensing an image to fit it into a narrower container. For example, in movie film capture an anamorphic lens is used to condense a wide image into the confines of a film cell which is typically 3:2 ratio. Projection of the respective print through a lens of the same anamorphic ratio will result in it being restored to original undistorted width. Similar principles apply in modern digital processes.
ARC
Audio Return Channel. A feature of HDMI introduced in 2006 with HDMI 1.3. Two types - Single mode which shares just one of the HPD wires to send PCM 2.0 or compressed audio formats from supporting displays upstream to a supporting AV Receiver. Common Mode utilises the HDMI Ethernet Channel, being a twisted pair in specially marked HDMI cables to transmit the ARC data upstream on a balanced line. The latter is superior, but rare in application. Most devices with ARC use Single mode, wherein any compliant HDMI cable should work.
Aspect Ratio
The ratio of a video image in width to height. For example, 16:9 is 16 parts wide to 9 parts high, the same ratio of can also be expressed as 1.78:1.
AV
Audio Visual
AWG
American Wire Gauge - a system for measuring the cross sectional area of a wire conductor. Every 3AWG reduction in value represents a doubling of cross-sectional area.

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B

Balun
An analogue transformer device for converting between unbalanced (eg; coax) and balanced (eg; twisted pair) transmission line. The name is derived from abbreviation of both words - BALanced-UNbalanced. Often incorrectly used to describe an HDMI extender, which is an active equalised all-balanced ecosystem.
Bandwidth
An analogue measure of the number of cycles per second of a given signal. In uncompressed digital every 1Hz of bandwidth equals 2 bits of data, as each bit is regarded as a 180° unit. Therefore a 1.485Gbps/ch data rate of 1080p/60 is 742.5MHz bandwidth. UHD 2160p is 2.97Gbps/ch, which is nearly 1.5GHz.
BER
Bit Error Rate or Bit Error Ratio. The ratio of erroneous bits (data) compared to the total number of bits over a specified amount of time. A measurement used to analyse the performance of a digital device, including HDMI cables
Bluray Disc
Optical Disc format defined by the Bluray Disc Association (BDA). Capable of supporting high definition to 1080p.

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C

CATx
Category (LAN) cable as defined by TIA/EIA-568 specification. The ‘x’ is a catch-all for the various iterations of CAT cable, including CAT5e (100MHz), CAT6 (250MHz), CAT6a (500MHz) and CAT7 (600MHz).
CCFL
Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp. Commonly called “flouro light”, not only as room lighting option, but also a very common backlighting technology for LCD displays. LED is taking over as the preferred (and superior) option.
Character
In the context of digital signaling, a character (sometimes called a ‘word’) is a defined block of bits. eg; in HDMI each character is 10 bits regardless of pixel clock.
Cinemascope
A nickname given to film or video image wider than 1.78:1. eg; Anamorphic derived 2.37:1
CEC
Consumer Electronics Control, a protocol of HDMI which (theoretically) enables system-wide control between various brands and types of devices all through HDMI connectivity. Also acts as the trigger for Audio Return Channel, whereby CEC needs to be turned ON for ARC to work.
Clock (Data)
A timing code which runs parallel to a one or more data lanes, like a digital metronome to ensure accurate timing of delivery.
Colour Depth
See ‘Deep Colour’
Crosspoint
A switch which compromises multiple inputs and multiple outputs, with the ability for either single I/O connection, or single in to multiple outputs simultaneously. More commonly referred to as a matrix switch.
Crosstalk
A signal through any conductor, which means voltage. And where there’s voltage there’s the potential for emissions, which to other nearby conductors is interference. Such activity between parallel transmission lines, even as part of the same transmission, is called crosstalk. A common example is between pairs in a CATx cable (crosstalk), where engineered skew between pairs is employed as a mitigation technique. Such interference between parallel CATx cables is called alien crosstalk, for which shielding is the only answer.

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D

Data rate
Often referred to as ‘speed’, it’s the measure of the number of bits of data per second travelling through a system or transmission line. Prefix with ‘M’ (Mega) for millions, or ‘G’ (Giga) for billions.
DB15
D-Subminiature 15-pin connector. Generally referred to in terms of the connector on a VGA cable. Technically, this should be DE15HD, but is commonly called DB15
DDC
Display Data Channel - A two-wire BUS originally designed for inter-chip communications on a PCBA, or awkwardly called “inter-inter-chip” between devices, hence I²C. One wire is for data, with the other being for Clock. In HDMI the DDC represents the number one cause of interoperability issues, as it carries sensitive EDID upstream and HDCP keys downstream. Equipped with anti-collision and arbitration protocols, it can still fall victim to high cable capacitance, attenuation and jitter.
Deep Colour
Generic term to identify a video signal comprising more color bits per pixel than the standard 8-bits (16k colours) per channel. Variations include 10-bit (, 12-bit or 16-bit.
DLP
Digital Light Processing developed by Texas Instruments. A technology which comprises millions of pivoting micro mirrors - one for every pixel in a video image - which flips up to reflect light path through a colour wheel and lens
DSD
Direct Stream Digital. An encoding format used on SACDs that uses a sequence of 1-bit values sampled (in the case of SACD) at a rate of 2.8224 MHz for very high quality audio
DTS
Acronym for Digital Theater Systems, developed by DTS, Inc. A series of multi-channel audio formats for commercial and consumer applications. Common on DVD and Blu-ray soundtracks, ranging from 5.1 compressed streams through to 7.1 HD-audio lossless.
DVD
Digital Versatile Disc. A high capacity multi-purpose disc, used to store data, video and/or audio
DVD-A
Digital Versatile Disc - Audio. A high-resolution audio disc, containing up to 6 channels of 24bit / 192KHz audio
DVI
Digital Visual Interface. Can contain both analog and/or digital video signals. A common video connector for the IT industry and used in the AV industry briefly before HDMI was established. Single-link supports up to 1.65Gbps/channel. Dual-link supports up to 3.3Gbps/channel. No audio. DVI-A is analogue only, basically VGA using a DVI connector. DVI-D is digital only, whereas DVI-I is an interface that supports either analogue or digital.
Deep Colour
Deep Colour refers to bit depth beyond 24-bit (8-bits per channel) colour. This is available as an option in HDMI 1.3 or later in 30-bit, 36-bit or 48-bit colour, allowing billions or trillions of colours
Dielectric
The insulation around a conductor. It’s called a dielectric as In cables, a good dielectric is one that has low capacitance as this effectively holds charge (signal) then re-releases it, adding distortion to the signal
DisplayPort
A digital display interface developed by VESA as an AV replacement for DVI. Similar in many ways to HDMI, but employs four high speed channels with embedded clock, and higher baud auxiliaries than HDMI. DisplayPort is on a different development trajectory to HDMI in that it focuses more on multi-display content delivery. DisplayPort 1.2 supports up to 21.6Gbps aggregate data rate, with rumors of DisplayPort 1.3 coming at a rate of 32.4Gbps.
Dolby Digital
A cinematic and consumer multi-channel audio format developed and licensed by Dolby Labs. Ranges from compressed 5.1ch through to uncompressed 7.1ch HD.
DRM
Digital Rights Management, a class of technologies used to protect copyright video content. HDCP is the encryption methodology used by both HDMI and DisplayPort, which is a type of DRM.
DSD
Direct Stream Digital. An encoding format used on SACDs that uses a sequence of 1-bit values sampled (in the case of SACD) at a rate of 2.8224 MHz for very high quality audio. HDMI 2.0 defines 3D Audio version of DSD, permitting 10.2, 22.2 or 30.2ch variants.

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E

EDID
Extended Display Identification Data - a data packet sent upstream from a display back to source to provide a list of compatible resolutions and timings which can be accepted by the display.
E-EDID
Enhanced Extended Display Identification Data. Extension to EDID, adding a list containing preferred resolution and timing, etc.
Ethernet
Blanket term to describe networking technologies for Local Area Networks (LAN)
EMI
Electromagnetic interference. An invisible electromagnetic field exists around all electrical devices and mains connectivity, the extent of which is determined by the nature of shielding in the said device, or the power and efficiency employed therein. Braid or spiral shielding is needed in AV interconnect cables to protect against the damage that the ambient EMI can cause.
FTP
Foil (wrapped) Twisted Pair. Refers to the construction of the cable, using pairs of conductors in a twist configuration, with each pair wrapped in foil, commonly with a mylar layer. This protects against RFI and alien crosstalk (interference between parallel pairs)

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F

Foam-PE
A short hand descriptor for foamed polyethylene. ‘Foamed’ refers to a process of airation to reduce the dielectric constant (capacitative potential) of a material, in this case PE. Two processes, most common being application of a chemical to cause the PE to react and foam. The purer, vastly superior process is to inject the PE with nitrogen, creating a true foam without potential for oxidants coming into contact with the electrical conductor within.
fps
frames per second, as a measure of moving video.
Full HD
A consumer term to describe 1080p video, regardless of frame rate.

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G

Gamut, colour
The complete range of colours, accepted as being defined by the CIE chart.
Gbps
A measure of digital data rate. Giga-bits per second, where ‘Giga’ = billion. ie; billion bits per second. For example, 2160p/30 is transmitted through HDMI at a gross aggregate data rate of 8.91Gbps, being 8.91 BILLION bits per second in real time.
GHz
Analogue bandwidth term describing billion (Giga) hertz. Billion cycles per second.

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H

H.264
The most common Advanced Video Codec (AVC) developed by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group. A compression format as used with Blu-ray, amongst others.
H.265
The next iteration from H.264, referred to as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). More efficient compression methodology results in approximately half the file size with equivalent quality when compared to H.264.
Hertz
Cycles as a unit in time, per second. In the case of bandwidth, it is the number of waveforms per second. Expressed as Hz.
HD
High Definition. A generic term typically used to describe video from 720p to 1080i. Below 720p is considered standard definition (SD), whereas 1080p is known as Full HD.
HD Audio
Lossless multi-channel audio formats which do not employ compression techniques. Where non-HD is 16-bit 44.1kHz or 48kHz, HD audio is commonly 24-bit 192kHz.
HDBaseT
A baseband technology similar to 10G Base-T, proprietary to the HDBaseT Alliance and based on silicon developed by Valens Semiconductor. Uses PAM-16 technology to achieve up to 10Gbps aggregate over a single CATx cable, combining digital video, audio, control, Ethernet and PoE/PoH simultaneously up to a potential length of 100m/330ft.
HDCP
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, an encryption method for protecting copyright content as a requirement of DRM.
HDMI
High Definition Multimedia Interface, founded by Hitachi, Panasonic Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics, Silicon Image, Sony Corporation, Technicolor S.A. (formerly known as Thomson) and Toshiba Corporation. Managed and licensed by HDMI Licensing, LLC.
HDMI 2.0
A new version of HDMI developed by HDMI Forum, Inc
HEC/HEAC
HDMI Ethernet Channel. An optional and little used 100Mbps Ethernet capability added to the HDMI protocol in 2009 with the HDMI 1.4 specification.
HEVC
High Efficiency Video Coding.
HPD
Hot Plug Detect - an integral part of the HDMI handshake protocol. After a sink device (eg; display) receives the 5V signal from a connected source, it triggers the 5V HPD signal to return upstream to source for mutual detection for handshake, before moving on to EDID delivery.
Hres
Horizontal resolution - the number of pixels in the width of an image, either display or content.

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I

Induction Soldering
A contactless process used by Kordz to terminate HDMI cables. The solder has a specific melting temperature, the corresponding frequency (in the IR band) of which is emanated the our induction ‘oven’ to generate heat within the solder itself, instead of the more common method of using transfer heat (eg; iron or bar). This ensures incredible precision with minimal material, for every contact to be terminated under the same precise conditions and at the same moment in time. The result is high yield, high repeatability, virtual elimination of instances of dry joints, low operational jitter, and the lowest in-field failure rate.
Interlaced
A video transmission method which divides each frame into two fields, each with alternating lines. In the early days of over-the-air television transmission, it was a solution to enable double effective resolution in the available bandwidth. With 480i it meant 240 lines per field, 480 lines per frame. 60Hz power equates to 60 fields per second, 30 frames per second. In effect it’s like 480p/30, the alternative of which would have been 240p/60. Lower power cycle countries (eg; Australia 50Hz) means less fields and frames, so the surplus bandwidth could be dedicated to resolution instead. eg; 576i.
IR
Infrared. A spectrum of light not visible to the eye. A typical application in this industry is for transmitting remote control signals

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L

LCD
Liquid Crystal Display. A common technology used in displays which uses liquid crystal in each pixel to partially or wholly block or colour the emissions of light from the backlight, which is typically CCFL or LED.
LED
Light Emitting Diode. A very efficient light source
LFE
Low Frequency Effects - a dedicated, limited bandwidth channel, typically for subwoofer use. The “x.1” is a multi-channel sound system.
LVDS
Low-voltage Differential Signaling. Defined by TIA/EIA-644. The serial communications protocol used in the four high speed AV lanes of DisplayPort

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M

MHz
Megahertz. Referring to frequency - millions (mega) of cycles per second (hertz)

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O

OFC
Oxygen-Free Copper. A term used to define the purity of copper, expressed as a percentage of pure copper, the balance being impurities. Reference to ‘Oxygen’ is something of a misnomer as the balance is NOT oxygen. For example, 99.9% OFC contains 0.1% impurities which may be other metals or oxide.
Ohm
An electrical term, unit of resistance
OLED
Organic Light Emitting Diode. An LED panel with an emissive layer of an organic compound which emits light. It eliminates the need for a backlight, and therefore has the ability for each and every pixel to turn on and off, or emit light at whatever voltage (brightness) is required. This results in outstanding picture quality, near absolute colour gamut capabilities and reduced power consumption. It can even be made flexible, giving way to curved TVs.

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P

PCM
Pulse Code Modulation. A method of packing data, now typically used in audio (eg. CD)
PE
Polyethylene, a common plastic & used in cables as a dielectric
Pixel Clock
The timing signature which accompanies the video signal, as distinct from the transport signal. Calculated by multiplying the total Hres, Vres (including blanking) and frame rate. Typically expressed in MHz.
Progressive scan
A video scanning method which does not use ‘fields’ as with interlaced, rather just full frames. Starts at pixel 0, top left, and progresses line by line to the last pixel at the lower right. Frame rate determines timing. All digital displays including plasma, LCD (CCFL or LED) and OLED are natively progressive scanning. Any incoming interlaced signal must be de-interlaced in order to be displayed.
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride. Also plasticised to use with cables, PVC is a cheap and durable insulator

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Q

Quad HD
Defunct term. An early, unofficial nickname for 2160p, based on it being four times the pixel resolution of ‘Full HD’. As Full HD was never in itself a reference, it could hardly be the basis for measuring anything beyond. Plus, with the existence of UHD 2160p, Full HD is not ‘Full’ anymore!
Quad-shield
A cable which comprises four layers of shielding for the primary conductors, usually combining multiple layers of foil wrap with at least one layer of metal wire braid or spiral.

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R

RCA
A common connector used in AV equipment, also called phono. Named after the company Radio Corporation of America who introduced it with early phonograph players
RFI
Radio Frequency Interference. Audio frequencies well beyond the capacity of the human ear are ever present wth emissions from plethora sources including DC through to mains power cables. Often referenced in conjunction with EMI.
RGB
Red-Green-Blue. Usually in video refers to the RGB colorspace - how a color is defined electronically
RGB-HV
Red-Green-Blue, Horizontal & Vertical sync, an uncompressed raw analogue video format
RJ45
An unofficial but widely used term refering to a 8P8C modular plug that connects to an ethernet cable, commonly used in networking
RS232
A low baud standard for serial communication transmission of data. Commonly uses DB-9 or DB-25 connectors, in either half or full duplex (the difference being handshake).

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S

S/PDIF
Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format or more commonly Sony/Philips Digital InterFace. A standard for carrying digital audio signals over coax or optical cables
SACD
Super Audio Compact Disc. A high resolution audio disc that uses the DSD format in stereo or multi-channel modes
SCART
A 21-pin AV connector designed to carry analogue audio, video and data. More common in Europe, this connector is becoming less common with the advent of HDMI
SCL
The Clock wire in DDC
SDA
The Data wire in DDC
Skew
The difference in physical length, and therefore delivery timing of an analogue or digital signal. In HDMI skew is measured as small as picoseconds, being billionths of a second. Skew between the two wires of a pair is called intra-pair skew, between parallel pairs is called inter-pair skew.
STP
Shielded Twisted Pair. A configuration of category (CATx) cable which describes it being shielded.
Streaming
Delivery method for AV content over the internet or from the ‘cloud’. See Video on Demand (VOD).
Sweet Spot
Nickname for a location used to describe the ideal viewing and/or listening position. In stereo sound the sweet spot is where the stereo sound will be most effective for sound stage perception. In video the sweet spot is the position from which the picture will look optimum, relevant for technologies like lenticular 3D (without glasses), or curved televisions where Hres will be distorted to anyone other than the one in the ‘sweet spot’.

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T

TC
Tinner Copper, which describes a conductor of copper coated in a skin or tin.
TMDS
Transition-Minimized Differential Signalling. A DC balancing technology employed within the High Speed signalling of HDMI.
TMDS Clock
A separate wire pair channel which runs parallel to the three high speed TMDS channels in HDMI, providing delivery timing. The Clock runs at 1/10th of the character rate in TMDS (one character being 10 bits). In HDMI 2.0 Mode above a character rate of 3.4Mcsc (Mega characters per second per channel) the clock slows to 1/40th the character rate in order to mitigate RFI at the higher frequencies.
TOSlink
Optical audio interface which derives its name from its inventor; Toshiba (TOShiba-link). Typically 1mm polyfiber terminated with either JIS F05 connector or 3.5mm mini plug, it employs S/PDIF format transmission originally limited to 3.1Mbps for PCM, but expanded to 125Mbps for 32-bit audio packets. Supports Dolby Digital & DTS compressed audio formats.
TTL
Transistor-transistor logic. A class of digital circuit widespread in Integrated Circuits (ICs)

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U

UHD
Abbreviation of UltraHD (see below)
UltraHD
Consumer nomenclature ratified by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to describe all consumer variants of 2160p as defined by the CEA-861-F and HDMI 2.0. Essentially replacement for the term ‘4K’. Includes both 3840 & 4096 Hres variants.
USB
Universal Serial Bus. Two versions currently, being HDMI 2.0 up to 480Mbps, and HDMI 3.0 up to a gross 5Gbps, using 8b/10b encoding like HDMI & DisplayPort. USB 3.1, dubbed “Superspeed USB” was specified in July 2013 for up to 10Gbps.
UTP
Unshielded Twisted Pair. A configuration of category (CATx) cable which describes it being unshielded. The lack of shielding Such cable mitigates crosstalk by using different twist rates

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V

VESA
Video Electronics Standards Association
VGA
Video Graphics Adapter. Originally a descriptor for 640x480 resolution, it has evolved to become a generic term which describes resolution agnostic analogue RGB video from a PC/graphics card source, either with or without DDC.
VOD
Video On Demand. Internet streaming video content, whereby internet access speed is typically the limiting factor. Resolutions can vary form 280p to 2160p. Provider examples include Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.
Vres
Vertical resolution - the number of pixels in an image from top to bottom.

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W

Widescreen
A generic term used to describe any image wider than legacy 4:3 TV. Basically everything now.

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X

X.V.Colour
also known as xvYCC, is a color space format that gives 1.8 × the color gamut of RGB, giving deeper hues and more natural colours

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Y

YCbCr
YCbCr is colour space format used to encode an RGB picture digitally or in the analog domain. Being more efficient than RGB, it is the native format encoded on DVDs for example. Y refers to the luminance or brightness picture information, while Cb & Cr is the chroma or color difference information
YPbPr
Used interchangeably with YCbCr however YPbPr only refers to the colour space in the analog video domain
YUV
YUV is a colour space format containing separate channels for Y (luminance), U & V (colour difference). Originally developed for PAL / NTSC / SECAM encoding methods to add color information to a black and white signal while maintaining backwards compatibility. YUV can be transmitted over composite, S-Video or component video and is often stated interchangeably with YCbCr & YPbPr in the case of component video

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