Here you will find a convenient glossary of key media industry terms and phrases that will help you navigate the Imagine Communications website.



A set of HDTV video modes featuring 1080 horizontal lines of vertical resolution and progressive scan. The term usually assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 169, implying a resolution of 19201080 (2.1 megapixel), which is often marketed as "Full HD." A 1080p display device can accept 1080p signals in native-resolution format.

4K (Ultra High Definition Television)

Ultra high definition television (also UHDTV or UHD, and Super Hi-Vision in Japan) represents digital video formats used for displays that have an aspect ratio of at least 169 and at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native video at a minimum resolution of 3,840 2,160 pixels. Two resolutions, 4K and 8K, are defined as UHDTV 4K is 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall (2160p, 8.3 megapixels), which is 4x larger than the current HDTV (high-definition television) standard of 1920 1080 (2.1 megapixels). 8K is 7680 pixels wide by 4320 pixels tall (4320p and 33.2 megapixels), which is 16x more pixels than current 1080p HDTV.

Also known as: Ultra High Definition Television
Also known as: Ultra High Definition Television


Also known as: Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) Streaming
Account Executive

Title or position equivalent to advertising salesperson or sales rep assigned to sell advertising time and other services to one or more specific advertising accounts, agencies or prospects.

Also known as: A/E, AE
Accounts Payable (A/P or Payables)

Money owed by a station, channel or network to vendors, utilities or others providing goods or services to the company.

Accounts Receivable (A/R or Receivables)

An accounting function by which a company keeps track of money owed to it, typically by an advertising agency andor advertiser. Each invoice is tracked from the date it was produced until the date it is paid.


The capture of content (filming content with a camera, receiving content via a distribution system), and the cataloging and archiving of content for later use. In rights management, the purchase of distribution rights to a packaged or finished project by a production company, studio or distributor. Learn more

Ad Agency (Advertising Agency)

A company, engaged by an advertiser, which specializes in the production of creative advertising material and its placement in the media (broadcast, digital signage, magazines, etc.) in order to further the acceptance of a brand, product or service. Learn more

Ad Decision Router (ADR)

Application that mediates and directs (routes) real-time advertising requests between different Ad Decision Services (ADS), based on platforms, inventory owners, inventory types or other business rules.  This allows for the consistent management of multiple ADS systems and provides consistent reporting and measurement. Learn more

Ad Decision Service (ADS)

A rules-based system that determines how advertising content is selected and combined with program (e.g., entertainment) content. Decisions may be based on specific rules, such as date and time, or based on varying metrics like geography, subscriber demographics, etc. The Ad Decision Service (ADS) is defined in the SCTE-130 part 4 standard.

Ad Exchange

A technology platform that enables advertisers and agencies to digitally buy advertising space from ad sales houses, broadcasters and publishers in an automated manner. Also known as a programmatic exchange.

Ad Impression
A view of an advertising asset, or duration of time viewed based on an agreement between an ad buyer and ad seller.
Ad Insertion

Ad insertion is the process of splicing (inserting) an advertising message into a media stream such as a television program. See Dynamic Ad Insertion.

Ad Management Service (ADM)

A service that controls the actual splicing of advertisements into program streams, based on instructions from an Ad Decision Service (ADS).  ADM is defined in the SCTE-130 standard.


Industry-standard unique identifier for all commercial assets. Replacing the ISCI system, Ad-ID identifies content to ensure that the correct assets are delivered to media outlets, using a common, centralized, Web-based source for content identification. The Ad-ID code contains details of the ad, the media the ad will be used in, clearance status, and usage restrictions.

Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) Streaming

A technology that enables the best possible streaming video viewing experience for a broad range of devices by adjusting the quality of the content delivered to the viewer. ABR detects available bandwidth and CPU capacity in real time and adjusts the quality of the video stream as needed, to ensure that content is delivered with as little buffering as possible. Adaptive streaming techniques produce multiple small (usually 2-10 second) files encoded at different bit rates, from the originating source file, to distribute to viewers watching on different powered devices via different connection speeds. As content is streamed, the video player client switches between the segmented files depending on available resources. This operates transparently, with slight changes in quality as the streams switch. Learn more

Addressable Advertising

Advertising shown to different groupings of households who share common characteristics. Viewers will see advertising that is more relevant to them. Advertisers can address market segments by more precisely tailoring ads to their audiences and increasing the impact of the messages. Learn more

Advanced Advertising

Advertising solutions that leverage addressable and interactive capabilities of set top boxes and “smart” viewing devices to enhance the value of linear, live and multiscreen television, with features that may include personalization, dynamic ad insertion, information requests, voting, and commerce applications. Advanced advertising capabilities include addressable and dynamic advertising, interactive advertising, and measurement. Learn more

Advanced Analytics
Examination of data to discover deeper insights, make predictions or create recommendations. Techniques are typically more sophisticated than traditional business intelligence, and may include data mining, forecasting, visualization and complex event processing.

An individual, business enterprise or special interest group who uses the media to draw public attention to their products, goods or services.


Audio Engineering Society, which promotes standards in the professional audio industry. AESEBU is the informal name for a digital audio standard established jointly by the AES and the EBU (European Broadcasting Union).

AFD (Active Format Description)

An industry-standard (SMPTE 2016-1 and 2016-3) set of codes included in an MPEG video stream or baseband SDI video signal, and carrying aspect ratio and active picture characteristic data. AFD is used to enable both 43 and 169 televisions to optimally present content transmitted in either format, and to dynamically control how down-conversion equipment formats widescreen 169 pictures for 43 displays.

A record, typically notarized, that a commercial spot ran as ordered and invoiced.
Affiliate Station

A broadcast station in contractual agreement with a network (not owned by the network). The contract grants the network a broadcast signal in the stations market to air its programs, providing an audience for the networks advertisers. In exchange, the local station gets programming, and is typically allowed to air a small number of commercials during these shows.

Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS)

Non-profit broadcast and media industry trade organization focused on facilitating the adoption of industry standards for the transition from SDI to IP. Learn more

Alternate Log

In the event that last-minute changes are anticipated, an alternate log allows for the entry of alternate programming to give to master control in case the main log should not air.

AM (Amplitude Modulation)

A type of transmission used in either the standard radio broadcast band at 535-1705 kilohertz or shortwave broadcasting, or in some private radio services such as citizens band (CB) and aviation.


A measure of the consumption of the value of a depreciable asset (e.g., program content or a physical asset such as a video server), allowing the deduction of capital expenses across an asset's life. Learn more

Analog Video/Analog Audio

A video or audio stream transferred by an analog signal (electronic signal that varies continuously).


The discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in business data, such as sales performance data or historical billings, to describe, predict, and improve business performance. Learn more


Any advertising message in a broadcast medium, including promotional spots, public service announcements and station IDs, as opposed to commercial inventory.

Antenna (Aerial)

An electrical device that converts electric power into radio waves, and vice versa. In transmission, a transmitter supplies an oscillating radio frequency electric current to the antenna's terminals, and the antenna radiates the energy from the current as electromagnetic (radio) waves. In reception, such as what would be found in a home, an antenna intercepts some of the power of an electromagnetic wave, which is applied to a receiver to be amplified.

API (Application Programming Interface)
A set of routines, protocols and tools for building and interconnecting software applications, which specifies how components should interact.

A defect or distortion within an image, introduced sometime between origination, image capture and final display.

ASI (Asynchronous Serial Interface)

A streaming format used to carry the MPEG transport stream from the network origination point to the transmitter for modulation onto the RF carriers.

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of a screen's width to its height. Widescreen TV (169 or 16x9) has an aspect ratio of 1.77 to 1. Theater screens are generally 1.85x1, and TV (43) is 1.33 to 1.

Content with usage rights. Can be comprised of commercial advertising, programming, marketing promotions or other interstitial content.
ATC (Ancillary Time Code)

A method for allowing timecode to be embedded in video, in the Ancillary Data Space as defined in SMPTE 12-2.

ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee)

Standards organization for digital television and mobile television transmission over terrestrial, cable and satellite networks used by the United States, Canada, South Korea, Mexico and other countries. The high-definition television standards defined by the ATSC produce widescreen 169 images up to 19201080 pixels in size.


A group of households or individuals who are attending, listening or watching something. It is often used to indicate viewers of a television program or another advertising medium.

Audience Measurement
Measures the quantity and attributes of people consuming content, typically in relationship to total viewership or web traffic. See also Ratings.
Also known as: Ratings
Audio Description
Audio track that narrates a program or content, primarily for visually impaired viewers.
Audio File
File used for multi-language playout that consists of audio tracks as separate files, or included in the video file.
Audio Processing (Audio Signal Processing)

The intentional alteration of analog or digital audio signals (sound). Audio Processing includes storage, level compression, data compression, transmission and enhancement (e.g., equalization, filtering, noise cancellation, echo removal). Typical examples include adjusting overall loudness to the desired level and correcting errors in audio levels.

Automation (Playout Automation)

Computer-controlled switching between various on-air program and spot sources, according to a program schedule. Programs and commercials, as well as digital on-screen graphics stored on video servers, are controlled. These systems can be very extensive and include modules that allow the ingest (capture) of video and management of the video library, as well as delivery of electronic program guide (EPG) information. Learn more

Availability (Avail)

A representation of time on a station, cable channel or network offered ("available") for sale. Also known as an avail or commercial break. Commercial breaks typically run from 30 seconds to 5 minutes and can contain one spot or a cluster of spots.

AVC (Advanced Video Coding)
See H.264.
Also known as: H.264


Back Channel
See Return Path.
Also known as: Return Path
Band III

The VHF radio frequency band from 174 MHz to 230 MHz.


A range of frequencies in the broadcast spectrum occupied by a signal. The "necessary bandwidth" is the amount of spectrum required to transmit a signal without distortion or loss of information. Bandwidth can be subdivided to include PSIP data, several video subchannels (feeds) of varying quality and compression rates and non-video datacasting services, as long as the necessary bandwidth is not exceeded.

Bar Data

Signals unused areas of an image raster when the active video does not completely fill that raster. A key example is content created for a standard screen (43 aspect ratio) letterboxed in a frame with bars on the top and bottom to fill a 169 aspect ratio screen.


A signaling technique in which the signal is transmitted in its original form and not changed by modulation.

Big Data

A general term for any collection of large, unstructured or fast-moving data sets, with a complexity that is difficult to process with traditional data processing applications. Typically, big data may include traditional operating data from one or more systems, as well information from web logs, social media, geolocation and other datasets. Big data applications can provide analytics to provide support and insight into evolving business processes, and to spot business and competitive trends. Learn more

Short-form content promoting sponsorship of a program by an advertiser.

The basic unit of information in computing and digital communications, represented by the binary numbers 0 or 1. A bit is also a key component of a pixel, representing the number of colors a pixel is capable of displaying.

Bit Rate

The speed at which bits are transmitted, usually expressed in bits per second. Video information, in a digitized image for example, is transferred, recorded, and reproduced through the production process at some rate (bitss) appropriate to the nature and capabilities of the origination, the channel and the receptor.

Bit Stream

A continuous series of bits transmitted on a line.


A coaxial cable connector used in professional television systems. These connectors have a characteristic impedance of 75 and are standardized by IEC 61169-8 Annex A. BNC is an acronym for Bayonet Neill Concelman, named for the inventors of the connector.

Board Op (Operator, MCO or Master Control Operator)

Someone who physically operates the console in a studio so that a live program runs smoothly, or a recorded or network program airs properly.


A television or radio station, operating at relatively low power, which receives a distant input signal, amplifies it and then re-transmits it on the same channel.


Self-promoting graphical elements aired during television programming. Common branding includes channel logos (bugs), snipes (animated promotional logos), and "coming up next" graphics. Learn more


The time between two programs or program segments used for announcements, news briefs, credits or commercials.


Digital technologies that offer consumers a single, switched facility that provides integrated access to voice, high-speed data services, video-demand services, and interactive information delivery services.

Broadcast Calendar (Standard Calendar)

A calendar used in accounting procedures in the broadcast industry in some countries, containing four or five weeks, with each month beginning with the first Monday of the calendar month, and ending on the last Sunday of each and every month. Compare with the more familiar monthly calendar. Download


The distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via an audiovisual mass communications medium.


A translucent logo typically placed in the corner of the screen, used to watermark a program for channel identification. Known as a dog in the UK and New Zealand, and as a bug in the US, Canada and Australia. Learn more

Bumper (Transition)

A short announcement inserted between a program segment and the first commercial in a break. In some countries, this is required going into a break and coming out of a break. Example The program will return after these messages.

Business Continuity

The planning, preparation, policies and procedures intended to ensure that critical business functions will continue to function in the event of a serious incident or disaster.

Business Intelligence (BI)

Techniques to transform raw data into meaningful and useful information to help businesses identify and develop opportunities. BI uses historical, current and predictive views of business data to provide reporting and visualizations, typically with the goal of delivering a competitive market advantage. Learn more

Business Management Software

Systems for advertising management, sales, traffic, billing and analytics that maximize ad revenue by streamlining business processes across multiple channels and platforms.

BXF (Broadcast eXchange Format)

Standardizes the communication of data exchange of Schedule and As Run Data, Content Metadata, and Content Movement instructions, as defined by the SMPTE 2021 standards. BXF enables the automated exchange of Live Log information from Programming Rights, Sales, Traffic Billing, Asset Management and Playout Automation systems.


A complete set of quantized levels containing all the bits. Bytes consisting of 8 to 10 bits per sample are typical in digital video systems.



Ratings measurement that includes commercials watched live plus three days DVR (digital video recorder) playback.


Similar to C3, a ratings measurement that includes commercials watched plus seven days DVR (digital video recorder) playback.

Cable Converter Box

Set-top box (STB) equipment, often provided by a cable or satellite company in a subscribers home, which allows access or controls interference to cable services.

Cable Television Transmission

The transmission of television signals, usually for a fee, including signals that originate at over-the-air television stations to consumers on a wired network.

A non-profit research and development consortium of major worldwide cable operators that defines standards-based, interoperable solutions for the cable industry.
Calendar Billing Period

A billing period that has a date span of (or within) one calendar month. For example July 1 through July 31 is considered to be a calendar billing period.

Call Letters

A stations identification assigned to it by the FCC (USA), CRTC (Canada), ACMA (Australia) or other country's regulatory authority, which typically must be broadcast at a certain time, such as the top of an hour. Outside of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, call letters are not used widely in Europe or Asia, where abbreviations of the stations names are commonly used.


A specific advertising effort on behalf of a particular product or service that extends for a specified period of time.

Campaign Manager

A software system responsible for supporting advertising sales campaigns — managing and interactively optimizing campaigns, while verifying fulfillment through affidavits, billing, and analytic reports. Campaign Management is a component of sales, traffic and billing.


The total amount of inventory, represented in minutes and seconds or in units (radio), which the program format allows within the program.

Catch Up TV

Previously broadcasted content made available for on-demand viewing.  Also known as Replay TV or Backward EPG.


A feature of a network DVR that allows a subscriber to watch popular content that has already aired.


Command Control System (CCS) protocol provides for centralized remote control and monitoring of equipment at diverse locations across a network. The protocol provides real-time parametric adjustment and enhanced alarm management and correlation, delivering the ability to configure, control and monitor a network infrastructure. Learn more


See Content Delivery Network.


See Cloud DVR


A frequency band assigned by a regulatory authority for AM, FM or TV transmission. Each broadcast television station is permitted to operate on only one channel. Channels are assigned geographically to minimize interference between stations. Alternatively, a transmission path between two points.

Channel in a Box (Integrated Playout)

A system that collapses components that make up the traditional master control and playout workflow switchers, servers, graphics, channel branding, audio and routing into a single integrated software application that runs on IT-based hardware. Also known as Integrated Playout and Station in a Box. Learn more

Character Generator

A studio device for electronically projecting text across a television screen. Learn more

Cliff Effect

Also referred to as the "digital cliff," this is a phenomenon found in digital video systems that describes the sudden deterioration of picture quality due to excessive bit errors, which is often caused by excessive cable lengths.

Closed Captioning (CC)

A form of teletext for persons with hearing disabilities, which translates program dialog into written words that are superimposed on a TV screen. A special decoder is required to see the captions.

Cloud Computing (Cloud)

A variety of computing concepts that typically refer to network-based services delivered by virtual hardware. Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve economies of scale by sharing processing resources, electricity, air conditioning and physical equipment space. Cloud (virtual) servers do not physically exist and can therefore be moved and scaled up (or down) on-the-fly without affecting the end user, similarly to how clouds move through the sky. When a process moves to the cloud, it is moving away from a traditional CAPEX model (acquire hardware and depreciate it over time) to the OPEX model (shared infrastructure, paid for as it is used). Learn more

Cloud DVR

Cloud Digital Video Recorder (cDVR) enables a subscriber to make recordings of many linear multiscreen channels and programs in the cloud or over a network, with video content stored on an operator’s network, instead of on a local set top box hard drive. The service is typically offered in conjunction with Video on Demand capabilities.  Cloud DVR can contain a single copy of a program, shared by all users for catch-up viewing, or individual copies may be stored per user, which is referred to as Remote Storage DVR (RS-DVR). Also known as cPVR (Cloud Personal Video Recorder). See also Network DVR.  Learn more


Mobile television and multimedia standard developed and specified in China by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) controls digital video broadcast from satellites and terrestrial repeaters to handheld devices.

Coaxial Cable (COAX)

A type of cable commonly used in cable television systems, and composed of two concentric conductors an inner wire and an outer braided sleeve.


A device or piece of software that takes one file or signal format and translates it to another with an (ideally) undetectable loss of quality. CODEC is an acronym of Compression, Deompression.


Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex is a modulation scheme commonly used for digital transmission in which the information content of a complete ensemble (multiplex) is divided and modulated onto a multitude of closely neighboring RF carriers within a channel bandwidth. Several DTV standards, including DVB-T, DVB-T2, ISDBT, DAB, DMB and DTMB, are based on COFDM modulation.

Color Bars

A standard color test signal displayed as columns, often accompanied by a reference audio tone. Color bars are used to adjust the video signal of the incoming source tape to maintain proper color from tape to computer, and through to output.

Color Black

An analog video signal that displays a black screen. This signal is often used as a reference signal for timing purposes.


An abbreviation for combined stations, commonly referring to a method of selling commercials across a pilot (controlling station) and one more or satellite stations (typically in nearby, but different markets).

Command and Control

Unified management of the equipment and signal paths of a television operation, connecting master control, routing, production switching, transport systems and the multiviewer under a single control point, to enable efficient management and complete visibility over the complete facility workflow.  Learn more


Advertisement, announcement, spot or message aired on television, radio or cable and paid for by an advertiser.

Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)

Hardware or software applications available for purchase by the general public, and can be easily implemented into existing operations without custom development.

Communication Service Provider


Communications Satellite

A satellite that is used to relay telecommunications information.

Compression (Video Compression)

Reducing redundancy in video data using modern coding techniques to help reduce resource usage, such as data storage space or transmission capacity. Most video compression algorithms and codecs use audio compression techniques to compress the separate, but combined audio and video data streams as one package. Compressed data must be decompressed to use.

Conditional Access (CA)
Encryption system that controls access to programming for authorized viewers, typically in exchange for a subscription or payment.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A large network of servers deployed across multiple networks and data centers, designed to optimize speed and availability of content.  CDNs are used to deliver rich media including streaming audio and video, HTTP content and downloadable files.  Also known as Content Distribution Network.

Content Information Service (CIS)

A system that manages metadata (descriptive data) for program and advertising assets and makes the metadata available to other services. Specified in the SCTE-130 part 4 standard, the CIS service allows for search, discovery and alerts about the availability of media items and how they are classified.

Content Management

Tasks and workflows involving the capture, cataloging, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets, such as program content, commercials, audio, video and other media content. Used somewhat interchangeably with Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Media Asset Management (MAM). Learn more


In television, refers to the function people in a traffic department perform to ensure proper processing of commercial advertisements. In radio, refers to the script or text used in a radio commercial. In film and program production, refers to the act of ensuring that concurrent scenes continue correct settings of props and costumes. In advertising, refers to the scheduling of advertising consistently over a period of time without interruption, in order to build or maintain advertising awareness and recall.


An order by a client for the broadcast of commercials. Contains information about desired timing and context of the spots, as well as the billing information and usually serves as the legal agreement between an agency or advertiser and the station.


The transport of media content (video, audio, metadata, and ancillary data) to a studio or production facility for production and processing prior to delivery to the end-user.

Control Room

The technical hub of a broadcast operation, controlling the final point before a signal is transmitted over-the-air or sent on to a cable television or satellite operator. Master control rooms typically include multiviewers, satellite receivers, video servers, transmission equipment and broadcast automation equipment for recording and playback of television programming.

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
A reference time standard commonly used to regulate clocks and time. Formerly Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Material to be read or produced into a commercial spot. Generally used to refer to announcers material or commercial continuity. Commercial copy is often received at a station digitally.

Copy Rotation (Rotation Schedule)

Used by an advertiser to rotate multiple pieces of advertising copy (pre-recorded commercials or scripts) to avoid redundancy or to stress several different products or services in an advertising campaign. Typically, commercials are rotated evenly, or by a ratio or percentage.

Cord Cutting
Discontinuing a cable or satellite television subscription, due to service issues or to access less expensive options such as over-the-air or internet TV.
Cost Per Point (CPP)

The media cost of reaching one percent (one rating point) of a household or demographic. Used by most media planners in developing and allocating market budgets and setting rating point goals.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

The media cost to reach 1,000 people with a specific message, used to compare the relative cost efficiency of different programs, stations, or media. M is the roman numeral for thousand.

See Commercial off-the-shelf.
Counter Programming

Competitive scheduling, placing a program which appeals to a certain type demographic against other programs which appeal to a different demographic during the same time period in an effort to attract different segments of the audience.


Graphics typically residing in the lower third of the television screen space dedicated to presenting headlines or minor pieces of news, sports scores and other information. Also referred to as a news ticker or slide.

Cross Ownership

Ownership by a single entity of more than one communications medium in a given market.


The process of converting content from one high definition video standard to another.


Abbreviation for the Canadian RadioTelevision and Telecommunications Commission, the regulatory agency governing the broadcast industry in Canada.

CSP (Communications Service Provider)

A service provider offering telecommunications or information and media services, content and entertainment, including cable service provider, multisystem operator (MSO), satellite broadcasting operator or telco service provider. See the glossary entry on MVPD for additional information.

Customer Experience
Customer perceptions and related feelings created by interactions with products, systems and company representatives.
Cut-In (Rollover)

A station substitution of a local spot that will cover up a spot being fed to the station from another source, such as the network. Cut-ins may be regional messages, local news bulletins, or weather forecasts inserted in a national program. In radio, refers to a remote broadcast from outside the studio.


The latest time a spot is allowed to run. Cut-off time is determined by the client and is generally applied across the board. Spots running after cut-off usually will not be paid for.


DAB/DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting)

Audio broadcasting using digital modulation and digital source coding techniques to convert analog audio into a digital signal and transmit on an assigned channel in the AM or FM frequency range. Also referred to as digital radio or high-definition radio, DAB offers higher quality than traditional FM and AM broadcasts. Digital audio broadcast signals are transmitted in-band, on-channel (IBOC), and several stations can be carried within the same frequency spectrum.


See Dynamic Ad Insertion


Direct Agency Rep Exchange (DARE) enables buyers to speed the process of buying and order maintenance by sending electronic orders, make-goods, replacements for unavailable spots and bonus offers between sales houses (rep firms), advertisers and channels.

Dark fiber
Unused fiber-optic cable that has been deployed without the proper equipment to carry optical (light) signals, typically to provide support for future communications capacity.

Digital Audio Reference Signal (DARS) is a reference signal conforming to the format and electrical specification of the AES3 standard, but often has only the preamble active. This signal is used for synchronization in digital audio studio applications.

Data Monetization
Using data for quantifiable economic benefit, such as business performance improvements or identifying sales opportunities.
Daylight Savings Time (DST)

A method, typically set by regulatory authorities, of getting more daylight out of the summer days by advancing the clocks by one hour during the summer. This impacts radio and TV programming as an hour of programming must be eliminated at 200am in the spring and an extra hour of programming must be inserted at 200am in the fall.


The division of a television or radio broadcast day into individual parts for ad scheduling purposes typically reflect a TV or radio channel's programming patterns. Common dayparts include Morning, Daytime, Prime Access and Prime Time, but the times of each daypart vary by channel.

DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite or Dish)

A high-powered satellite that transmits or retransmits signals intended for direct reception by the public. The signal is transmitted to a small earth station or dish (usually the size of an 18-inch pizza pan) mounted on homes or other buildings.


The process of extracting an embedded signal from an input stream to generate two separate signals. Often used to describe the process of extracting AES audio that has been embedded onto a serial digital video signal.

Decibel (dB)

A logarithmic measure commonly used for measuring sound.


The transport of media content (video, audio, metadata, and ancillary data) for distribution to the end user.

Demographics (Demos)

The representation of program audience data based on various characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, marital status, etc. Usually this relates to the representation of the data for a sales presentation. Example Women aged 25-34 (abbreviated W25-34) is a demographic group.


An abbreviation for "de-multiplexing," which is the separation of multiplexed data streams for dispersal to different devices. Often used synonymously with "de-embedding" when used to describe the process of extracting AES audio that has been embedded onto a serial digital video signal.

Designated Market Area (DMA)

A geographic area defined by Nielsen Media Research in the United States, designating the areas that can view a specific group of television stations. Similar systems exist for radio, and in Canada, Numeris runs a similar system of zones. DMA may also be referred to as media market or broadcast market.

Digital Asset Management

Tasks and workflows involving the capture, cataloging, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets, such as program content, commercials, audio, video and other media content. Used somewhat interchangeably with Media Asset Management (MAM). Learn more

Digital Program Insertion (DPI)
Digital splicing of content, typically a commercial, into a live stream. For MPEG transport streams, as defined by the SCTE-35 standard, marker messages are inserted into the live stream. A splicer detects markers and inserts content into the stream.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
A coding system applied to digital content that manages the copyright and usage rights of that content.
Digital Signage

A form of messaging using an electronic display that shows menus, information, advertising, television programming and other messages. Digital signage allows the delivery of targeted advertising and content to specific locations and consumers at specific times. Digital signage can be operated over large networks with sophisticated control and monitoring systems that allow management and customization by location. Also referred to as digital out of home or DOOH. Learn more

Digital Signals

Information transmitted in discrete pulses rather than as continuous signals. Data is represented by a specific sequence of off-on electrical pulses. (see also Analog)

Digital Video/Digital Audio

A video or audio stream encoded into binary digits instead of wavelengths and amplitudes.


To convert analog (wave-based) media into digital format (zeros and ones) so that the media can be understood by computers. Also known as "capturing," and sometimes "encoding."

Disaster Recovery

An area of security planning designed to prepare and protect an organization from the impacts of a major event that might affect facilities, operational system availability or data loss.

Distant Signal

A television channel from another market imported and carried locally by a cable television system.


The transport of media content (video, audio, metadata, and ancillary data) for delivery to the end user.

Distribution Amplifier

An electronic device that accepts a broadcast signal, amplifies it, and then outputs the same signal many times, allowing a signal to be copied. Learn more


A personcompany that distributes signals from a satellite carrier and provides that transmission either directly to individual subscribers for private home viewing or to other program distribution companies for transmission.

DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting)

A modification of the DAB transmission standard, that uses MPEG-4 (H.264) and BSACHE-AAC V2 compression to permit sending of multimedia information (radio, TV, and datacasting) to mobile devices such as mobile phones.

Dolby E

Distribution coding system designed to transport up to 8 channels of audio with metadata across AES-3 cabling.


A converter that takes an HDTV signal and rescales it into a standard-definition TV signal.


The part of a satellite system that includes the satellite itself, the receiving earth station and the signal transmitted from the satellite to earth stations.

Drop Frame

A method of adjusting the nominal 30 frame-per-second frame rate of SMPTE 12-1 time code to 29.97 (29.97002618) frames per second. This permits time of day indexing of the frame numbers by dropping frames 0 and 1 at the beginning of each minute (except minutes 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50), to compensate for an approximate timing error of 108 frames (3 seconds, 18 frames) per hour.

DTH (Direct to Home)

Technology that enables a satellite company to directly beam a television signal to your TV set through a receiver (personal satellite dish) that is installed in an individual home or building. A DTH network consists of satellites, encoders, multiplexers, modulators and DTH receivers. Learn more

DTV (Digital Television)

The transmission of video and audio by a digitally processed and multiplexed signal, enabling the broadcast of movie-quality picture and sound, as well as multicasting and interactive capabilities. While sometimes used synonymously with HDTV (High Definition Television), DTV refers to the actual TV signal being transmitted digitally. Digital television supports both HDTV, for the transmission of high-definition video and standard-definition television (SDTV).


A duplicate recording of audio or video tape masters. Also used for creating a completely new soundtrack in an alternate language, as in dubbing English for a foreign film.

DUC (Digital Upconverter)

A circuit in the LPU modulator section that converts the digital modulated baseband signal to the 140 MHz digital intermediate frequency.


An instance where two or more stations in the same designated market area (DMA or market) are owned by the same company.

DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting)

European digital TV broadcasting standards organization active in developing standards for digital TV broadcasting on cable and satellite.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

A device or software application that records video in a digital format to a local or remote (networked or cloud-based) mass storage device for future playback.  Also referred to as PVR (Personal Video Recorder).

DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

A device or software application that records video in a digital format to a local or remote (networked or cloud-based) mass storage device for future playback.


A method for combining multiple fiber optic signals of different wavelengths onto a single strand of cable. Short for Dense Wave Division Multiplexing, the method allows up to 80 separate channels of data to be carried over a single optical cable using different wavelengths for each channel.

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

Process by which an ad is inserted into content as the content is being played out to an end user. The process allows for the replacement of advertisements that were previously inserted, either because they have expired or are not licensed for delivery on a new platform, and allows for targeting of ads based on user characteristics.



European Broadcasting Union, an organization of European broadcasters, which creates standards and technical recommendations for 62550 line television systems.

The final portion of a communication network chain that physically reaches the premises of an end user. Also metaphorically known as the “last mile” or “last kilometer.”
Edge Server

Application that caches or mirrors streaming multimedia content closer to the consumer of the content, to distribute usage of network resources.  Edge servers are components of a distributed delivery environment designed to place content delivery closer to the location of the consumer. Compare with Origin Server. Learn more

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)

The transfer of data from one computer system to another for conducting business transactions electronically. In Media systems, EDI provides efficient tools for processing spot TV buys electronically.


The process of manipulating video images, including cutting segments (trimming), re-sequencing clips, and adding transitions and other special effects in the post-production process. Traditional editing involves physically cutting film while modern digital editing, known as non-linear editing or NLE, creates a new file and does not modify the original source files during the editing process. Learn more

Effects (FX)

Graphical elements on a television screen, including Logos, Bugs, Crawls, Captioning, Scrolls and Squeezebacks. Learn more

EIDR (Entertainment Identifier Registry)

A unique identifier for motion pictures (movies) and television programs tied to an industry-standard registry to manage content identification, rights tracking and content usage metrics.

Elastic Scalability

The ability of a solution or network to scale up to meet demand and scale down when the demand decreases.

Electronic Contracts (EC)

Contracts sent "electronically" and through various processes, and accepted into traffic software packages.

Electronic Invoicing (EI)

The transmission of invoices electronically, whereby agencies receive them for payment. Learn more

Electronic Program Guide (EPG)

Digital schedule allowing television viewers to scan available channel offerings and tune to current programs using a remote control or other input. Digital TV receivers use this information to tune and label digital and analog channels. The ATSC-created PSIP Standard (Program and System Information Protocol) specifies the transport of channel names, tuning information and EPG data.

Elemental Rights
Rights for certain elements of a program, outside of primary rights, such as music, talent, voice-over and language dubbing. Also known as sub-rights.
Embedded Audio

Multiplexing digital audio onto a serial digital video data stream.


The process of combining one type of signal with another, such that both signals can be transmitted using the standard of just one. Frequently used to describe the process of inserting AES audio into a serial digital video signal.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

A broadcast warning system in the U.S. that interrupts normal broadcasting to provide authorities with the ability to send a message in the event of an emergency. EAS alerts contain an audible tone, as well as the message. Many other countries have similar concepts to EAS systems.


The process of putting information into digital format. Commercials received on tape may be "encoded" into a server.

Encoding transmitted data for security purposes, into a form that cannot be easily understood by unauthorized receivers. To decipher and read an encrypted file, you must have access to a decryption key or password.
Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF)
A multimedia content format that enables interactive applications on a cable television system. Developed by the CableLabs consortium, the format defines multimedia pages, similar to web pages, for use within an enhanced or interactive television (ITV) system.
Enterprise Solutions
The interchange of information from multiple business process areas and related databases, designed to disseminate important data throughout an organization.

A single show that is part of a series of shows. "The Incredible Machine" is an episode of the series "NOVA."

Error Correction

The process of checking for errors in data transmission. If an error is detected, the affected data can be deleted and retransmitted, the error can be corrected or concealed, or it can simply be reported.


Transmission equipment that converts an input signal (ASI or IP) into an RF waveform, which is later amplified by power amplifiers.



Version of a channel that may differ based on territory or time zone.

Fiber Optics

A method for the transmission of information (sound, video, data), in which light is modulated and transmitted over high-purity, hair-thin filaments of glass. The bandwidth capacity of fiber optic cable is much greater than that of copper wire, allowing more information to be carried. Learn more

Fibre Channel

A high-speed data link technology commonly running at 2-, 4-, 8- and 16-gigabit per second rates.

FM (Frequency Modulation)

Radio transmission covering 88-108 megahertz on the broadcast band. FM is less susceptible to interference than AM broadcasting, and is also used in other frequency bands for two-way communications in land mobile and marine services.


Program templates that contain program segment and break (avail) information. Formats are scheduled to cover each time period within the broadcast day, and are the framework used to build a log (playlist).

The division of broad television audiences into smaller segments, due to multiple viewing activity choices and different device and delivery platforms.
Frame Rate

The frequency (rate) at which an imaging device produces unique consecutive images (frames). Term applies equally well to film and video, computer graphics and motion capture systems. Frame rate is most often expressed in frames per second (FPS) and is also expressed in progressive scan monitors as Hertz (Hz).

Frame Synchronizer

A device that retimes an incoming video signal to a set reference such as genlock, bi-level or tri-level sync signals. Learn more


One of the many still images that compose a complete moving picture. When played back over time, the displaying of multiple frames gives the illusion of motion. NTSC video plays back 29.97 frames per second, and PAL and SECAM video plays back 25 frames per second. In digital technology, a video frame is represented as a rectangular raster of pixels.

In software, a style guide that defines the look, feel and interoperability of applications.

A measurement of the number of electromagnetic waves that pass a given point in a given time period. It is equal to the speed of light divided by wavelengths, and is ex-pressed in Hertz (cycles per second).

Full-Motion Video (FMV)
The display of video images at a rate (such as 30 frames per second, 525 horizontal lines per frame) at which objects appear to move continuously and smoothly. In government, military and intelligence agencies, Full Motion Video typically contains geospatial metadata and uses commercial image formats and playback rates; however there is no official, contractual definition.


Gap Filler

Lower power transmitter that is placed in areas where coverage from the main transmitter is sub-optimal.

General Ledger (G/L)

A general listing of all accounting transactions, including accounts payableaccounts receivable, payroll, fixed assets, etc.

Genlock (Generator Locking)

A technique used to synchronize television picture sources together using the video output of one source or a specific reference signal from a signal generator.


Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System. A space-based satellite navigation system, similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS).

GPS (Global Positioning System)

A satellite-based navigation system commonly used for determining position and navigating. In a network context, it delivers an extremely precise time reference, allowing electronic devices to pinpoint their location and the local time and time zone automatically, enabling exact synchronization of equipment.


Visuals prepared for display on television, such as electronically generated titles, charts or animations (motion graphics), designed to accompany content such as news, sports and commercials to improve understanding and recall of the content by viewers. Often referred to as Broadcast Graphics, Motion Graphics or Television Graphics. Learn more

Gross Rating Points (GRPs)

The sum of the rating percentage achieved, providing a unit of measurement of audience size. GRPs may be referred to as Gross Impressions or Gross Audience.

GUI (Graphical User Interface)

A type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices and software via images rather than text commands.



H.264, also known as MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), is a video compression format, commonly used for recording, compression and distribution of video content. H.264 is used by many HDTV broadcast standards, streaming internet video sites like YouTube and the iTunes Store, as well as on Blu-Ray Discs.



HD Radio

Trademark for iBiquity Digital's in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio technology, employed by AM and FM radio stations to transmit audio and data by using a digital signal embedded within a standard analog signal. The HD format allows a radio station to simultaneously broadcast one or more programs in addition to the program being transmitted on the radio station's analog channel.


High Definition Serial Digital Interface, A bit-serial digital interface for HDTV component signals operating at data rates of 1.485 Gbs and 1.4851.001 Gbs. The HD-SDI interface can be carried over coaxial and fiber optic cables.


The electronic control center of a cable system that receives, stores and processes television for distribution to a local region. The headend may provide interactive features, insert advertisements and manage VOD. Learn more

Hertz (Hz)

A unit of electromagnetic frequency that represents the number of complete electrical waves in one second (cps). One kilohertz (kHz) equals 1000 cps one megahertz (MHz) equals 1 million cps and one gigahertz (GHz) equals 1 billion cps.


High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), or H.265, is a video compression standard, designed to double the data compression ratio of the H.264 standard with the same video quality.  The standard currently supports 8K ultrahigh definition (UHD) video and resolutions up to 8192x4320, as well as 3-D and rendered graphics.

High Availability
A system or component that is continuously operational for an agreed upon long length of time. High availability systems typically avoid single points of failure by incorporating redundancy, failure detection monitoring and disaster recovery plans.
High Definition Television (HDTV)

An all-digital TV broadcast signal that delivers a high-resolution, wide-screen picture and six channels of digital sound. A resolution of 1,080 lines is considered high-definition imagery.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC or H.265)

A super high-definition video compression format supporting 8K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV and resolutions up to 8192x4320. Also known as H.265, HEVC can deliver the same video quality at half the bit rate of H.264AVC encoding, enabling high-quality video to be transmitted over less bandwidth. See also H.264.

Hot-Pluggable (Hot-Swappable)

A device that can be removed (and exchanged) while a piece of equipment is operating without suffering damage or causing damage to other devices.

Households (HH)

A statistical estimation of homes that have a working television.

HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)

An implementation of on-demand and live adaptive bitrate (ABR) video delivery of MP4 media over regular HTTP connections, developed by Adobe Systems. See the glossary entry on Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) Streaming for more information.

HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)

An adaptive streaming communications protocol for live and video on demand (VOD) content, developed by Apple, and used by QuickTime and iOS. See the glossary entry on Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) Streaming for more information.


The attribute of a color by virtue of which it is discernible as red, yellow, green and blue, and which is dependent on its dominant wavelength, and independent of intensity or lightness.

Hybrid Cloud

A distributed cloud computing architecture where an operation extends its private cloud with resources from the public cloud.


IAAS (Infrastructure as a Service)

A method of delivering cloud computing infrastructure, such as servers, storage, networking and operating systems, as an on-demand service.

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Media and marketing industry professional organization, focused on industry standard development, research and education about the digital marketing industry.


In-Band, On Channel. A hybrid method of transmitting digital radio and analog radio broadcast signals simultaneously on the same frequency.

Identification (ID)

A short on-air sponsorship or channel identification spot or mention.


Represents the relationship between voltage and current which a device is capable of accepting or delivering, taking into account resistance and AC reactance.


The delivery of one advertisement to one person. Derived from Ratings, impressions are a statistical figure based on the estimated number of people in a demographic area. For the Internet, an impression is the total number of times an advertising banner has been served and successfully loaded to the Web population. Learn more


The physical hardware (physical plant), for television processing, compression, signal management and delivery. Infrastructure includes the transmission media, routers, processing systems and other devices, as well as the software used to send, receive, and manage the signals that are delivered.


The process of capturing, transferring or otherwise importing different types of video, audio or image media into a media environment, typically a video server, in order to use it in a program. Once the video is captured, media can be easily moved, transformed (transcoded), edited or played out by the video server. Learn more

Integrated Playout (Channel in a Box)

A system that collapses components that make up the traditional master control and playout workflow switchers, servers, graphics, channel branding, audio and routing into a single integrated software application that runs on IT-based hardware. Also known as Channel in a Box and Station in a Box. Learn more

Also known as: System Integration
Interactive Television (ITV)
An approach to television advertising and programming that blends traditional TV viewing with the interactivity of a PC, creating the opportunity for viewers to communicate and transact with advertisers and programming producers. Features can include messaging, shopping, interactive games, voting and ordering on-demand services.
Two or more cable, satellite or telco television systems that work in partnership to distribute a commercial signal simultaneously, to simplify an advertising buy across one or more markets, and to maximize the effectiveness of an advertising schedule.
Internet TV
A system that distributes television content over the public internet. In contrast to IPTV, which delivers content on discrete service provider networks, internet TV is usually delivered over peer-to-peer networks.

Literally meaning "in-between." Refers to short programming that is often shown between movies or other events. On the Internet, an interstitial is an advertisement that appears in a separate browser window while the user waits for a Web page to load.


Time in a program that is available for sale, taking into consideration the time that has already been sold and the carrying capacity of the group. Also known as Avails, Spots and Time (airtime), the inventory system is a major component of an Advertising Sales and Traffic System. Learn more


The invoice (affidavit or proof-of-performance) documents the spots ordered by the advertiser, the spots aired by the station, the copy that ran for each spot, and any discrepancies that might have occurred during the given billing period.

IP (Internet Protocol)

The numerical address for any system connected to the Internet. Every system on the Internet has an IP assigned to it. Also, rules used for transmitting data over a network.

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)

The process of delivering entertainment services to IP-based devices (e.g. televisions, computers, mobile devices) over a network that employs the IP protocol to transport the signal. In contrast to Internet TV, which delivers content on the public internet, IPTV is delivered across a secure, managed network. IPTV provides dynamic opportunities to integrate video, audio, text, graphics, data and interactive services into the signal. IPTV services may be live, time-shifted, or video on demand (VOD).

ISDB (Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting)

A standard for digital television (DTV) and digital radio (DAB) developed by ARIB in Japan, which is used in Japan and several other Asian countries. A derivative of ISDB, ISDB-T International, developed in Brazil, has been widely adopted in South America. The core standards cover satellite television, terrestrial, cable and mobile broadcasting. All are capable of high-definition television (HDTV) and standard-definition television.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)

Switched network providing end-to-end digital connection for simultaneous transmission of voice andor data over multiple multiplexed communication channels and employing transmission that conforms to internationally defined standards. Considered to be the basis for a universal network that can support almost any type of communications device or service.


The ISO, International Organization for Standardization, and its affiliated International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) are the two major global standards-making groups for international standards.


The United Nations regulatory body governing all forms of communications. ITU-R (previously CCIR) regulates the radio frequency spectrum, while ITU-T (previously CCITT) deals with the telecommunications standards.



See JPEG 2000.

JITP (Just In Time Packaging)

Converting from one encoding format to another in real-time. Used to minimize storage and maintenance costs associated with storing content in multiple formats, by maintaining only a mezzanine file in the highest encoding format, and transcoding assets into the appropriate bit-rate, resolution or compression algorithm on an as-needed basis. Learn more

JITT (Just In Time Transcoding)

Converting from one encoding format to another in real-time. Used to minimize storage and maintenance costs associated with storing content in multiple formats, by maintaining only a mezzanine file in the highest encoding format, and transcoding assets into the appropriate bit-rate, resolution or compression algorithm on an as-needed basis. Learn more


The variation in timing andor displacement upon transmission or arrival of digital signal. High jitter can severely degrade the performance of an otherwise ideal system by introducing unwanted noise at the receiver.

Join in Progress (JIP)

The act of partially airing a program due to a run-over of the prior program or cut-in news segment.


International standards group, the Joint Photographic Experts Group, that develops international standards for image compression algorithms for continuous-tone still color pictures.

JPEG 2000

JPEG 2000 is an image compression standard and coding system developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. The standard provides for advanced compression when compared to traditional JPEG encoding, and features region-of-interest coding, allowing important regions of an individual image to be encoded and transmitted with better quality. Learn more



A device that inserts data into the video bit stream based upon a supplied key signal. The data can be videoaudio overlay or broadcast data.



A frequency band ranging from 950 MHz-2150 MHz and used mainly in satellite signal transmission over fiber. Multiple sub-carriers within this spectrum carry many video channels to satellite receivers where single channels can be selected.


The length of time it takes for a packet of data to travel from one point to another.


Lateral Diffused Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A type of Field Effect Transistor often used in RF linear power amplifier applications due to its high gain, bandwidth and excellent linearity characteristics.


A video frame that does not completely fill an image vertically, requiring bars at the top andor bottom of the image.

Linear Playout

Systems to manage the workflow of delivering channels to consumers, where content is received in time order following a specific schedule. Compare to nonlinear, or on-demand (VOD).

Linear Time Code or Longitudinal Time Code (LTC)

The time and address control signal standardized by SMPTE 12M. Typically written on a time code or address track of a recording device, it provides an individual frame number for each video frame recorded. LTC is also commonly used to distribute time of day information to wall clocks, automation systems and other devices throughout a television facility. In regions of the world using the NTSC or similar non-integer (11.001) frame rates, LTC must be corrected regularly when it is used to convey time of day information (see drop frame).

Linear TV

A video service that is originated and consumed in time order following a set schedule, whether that content is live or recordedstored and irrespective of delivery method.

Live Feed

The use of only one transponder to transmit the programming of a television or cable network. For example, programming that airs in prime time in the Eastern time zone at 8-11 p.m. will air in the Pacific time zone from 5-8 p.m. Some networks that regularly use a live feed include CNN, ESPN and The Weather Channel.

Live Log (Live Update)

A playout process that automatically and seamlessly integrates the traffic system log with content management and automation systems to enable all systems to accurately reflect content status, time code and metadata in real time. The traffic schedule communicates bidirectionally with a running playlist on an automation system, allowing changes to be made to the log minutes before airtime. After playout, the traffic log and automation playlist are automatically reconciled with any issues passed to accounting for processing. Learn more

Live Programming

Program content that is delivered and consumed while actually being performed, typically involving performers or spectators that are physically present not delivered from a previous recording.

Local Ad Insertion
Inserting commercials by headend, zone, post code or other physical grouping to reach a more targeted, geographically contained audience.
Local Marketing Agreement (LMA)

An agreement between two media company owners, in which a channel markets and sells the advertising for another.

Local Origination Channel

A channel programmed by a cable system, whether a public access channel, an advertiser-supported entertainment channel or a combination of both.

Location-Based Advertising
Advertisements that appear on a mobile device, providing relevant information based on the geographical or contextual location of a user.

In programming and playout, a log is a document that shows, in time sequence, the programming and commercial events of a television or radio stations broadcast day. The log is used for guiding the on-air staff in airing the proper events at the stated times, and as a document of actually aired times for billing and auditing purposes. Also known as Presentation Schedule. In transmission, a log is the chart used when taking transmitter or other required equipment readings. In radio, log may refer to a music log, a schedule for music. Learn more


The symbol identifying a station or network.

Loudness Control

Tools that manage the average volume of programs and commercials to meet regulatory or quality standards, setting commercial advertisements, program content and other events to have the same average volume (loudness). Loudness control solutions provide volume analysis, real-time correction, signal measurement and tracking. Learn more

Lower Third

A graphic placed in the lower area of the screen, typically featuring text or a graphic overlaying the video. Also known as CG, captions or supers, lower thirds do not necessarily cover the entire lower third of a video.

LPTV (Low Power Television Service)

A broadcast service that permits program origination, subscription service, or both via low-powered television translators. Includes the existing translator service and operates on a secondary basis to regular television stations. Transmitter output is limited to 1000 watts for a UHF station, 10 watts for a normal VHF station, and 100 watts when VHF operation is on an allocated channel.

LPU (Low Power Unit)

May also be referred to as the "exciter." Contains both an upper, modulator section and a lower, amplifier section.

LTC (Linear Time Code or Longitudinal Time Code)

The time and address control signal standardized by SMPTE 12M. Typically written on a time code or address track of a recording device, it provides an individual frame number for each video frame recorded. LTC is also commonly used to distribute time of day information to wall clocks, automation systems and other devices throughout a television facility. In regions of the world using the NTSC or similar non-integer (11.001) frame rates, LTC must be corrected regularly when it is used to convey time of day information (see drop frame).



A commercial offered to and accepted by an advertiser to replace a commercial that did not run as scheduled or was aired improperly, and is being run to "make good" (fulfill the intent) of the original order.

Master Control

The technical hub of a broadcast operation, controlling the final point before a signal is transmitted over-the-air or sent on to a cable television or satellite operator. Master control rooms typically include multiviewers, satellite receivers, video servers, transmission equipment and broadcast automation equipment for recording and playback of television programming.


Material can be a commercial, program, promo, PSA, ID, billboard or anything else aired by a channel. Business and playout systems use a unique Material ID to know when and where to run a specific piece of material.


In broadcasting, refers to materials (see Material) that hold data. Most media today is stored digitally on video servers.

Media Asset Management

Tasks and workflows involving the capture, cataloging, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets, such as program content, commercials, audio, video and other media content. Used somewhat interchangeably with Digital Asset Management (DAM). Learn more

Media Convergence Platform (MCP)

A next-generation platform combining traditional baseband video and audio processing, compression and IP networking capabilities in a single, modular frame. Reduces cabling and simplifies the broadcast infrastructure with a system that manages multiple compression standards, videoaudio signals and encoding formats. Learn more

Media Software Systems

Systems for advertising management, sales, traffic, billing and analytics that maximize ad revenue by streamlining business processes across multiple channels and platforms. Learn more


Metadata is "data about the data." For a video program or image, metadata might include information about the artist, image format, year, copyright holder, geo-spatial coordinates, compression method and any number of additional asset descriptors.

Mezzanine File

A digital master file used to create copies of video for streaming or download.  The file is typically stored in the highest quality video available based on the originally produced content type, bit rate and codec.

Microsoft Smooth Streaming

A communications protocol for the adaptive streaming of content to clients using HTTP, developed by Microsoft. See the glossary entry on Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) Streaming for more information.

Mobile Advertising
Advertising on mobile device screens such as smartphones and media tablets. Ad formats may consist of streaming, search, web and app-based placements.
Mobile Production

Electronic field-based production of television or radio programs from a mobile remote broadcast television studio, and typically used to cover sports and news events. Professional video camera and microphone signals come into the production truck for processing, recording and transmission. The mobile production control room is known as a production truck, mobile unit, remote truck, live truck or OB van. Also referred to as Outside Broadcast (OB). Learn more

Mobile TV
Wireless transmission of television content to platforms capable of moving, such as a mobile phone. Transmissions can be over free-to-air terrestrial services or a cellular network.
Mobile Unit

TV equipment used outside the studio, as at a football game. Learn more


To utilize something of value as a source of profit. In the media context, monetization involves finding ways to create additional revenue utilizing owned assets such as program content, user generated content, or a website or mobile property, with advertising, subscriptions or by creating additional impressions (viewers).

MOS (Media Object Server Protocol)

Protocol that allows newsroom computer systems (NCS) such as video servers, audio servers, still stores and character generators to communicate using a standard protocol for broadcast production. Learn more

Motion Imagery
In government, a sequence of images that must have the potential for providing informational or intelligence value. Regulated by the Motion Imagery Standards Board (MISB), viewable images must remain in time and date order, and require a space relationship between images that have a recognizable visual overlap.

Compression standards for moving images conceived by the Motion Pictures Expert Group, an international group of industry experts set up to standardize compressed moving pictures and audio.

MSO (Multiple System Operator)

A company that owns multiple cable systems.


Data flow from single source to multiple destinations can be distinguished from a broadcast in that the number of destinations may be limited.


Managing, using or controlling many television channels, networks or systems.

Multichannel Video Programming Distributor



The combination of various forms of media (texts, graphics, animation, audio, etc.) to communicate information. The term also refers to information products that include text, audio and visual content.

Multiplatform Delivery

The creation, management and distribution of content for delivery to multiple types of devices in multiple contexts, including traditional linear distribution (television), streaming and through various mobile and on-demand services.

Multiplexing (Mux)

A method of joining of two or more data streams for co-transmission over the same hardware. Also describes the device that does the multiplexing. Frequently used synonymously with embedding when describing the process of inserting AES audio into a serial digital video signal.


Adjective used in conjunction with the consumption, processing, delivery or monetization of video targeting multiple IP-connected devices such as connected televisions, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and OTT devices. Encompasses both live and on-demand content as well as advanced services (such as interactivity).

MultiService SDN™

A software-defined network (SDN) optimized for media applications, designed to merge baseband video and audio signals, compressed files and IP streams under an integrated, flexible command and control software layer and user interface. MultiService SDN decouples control and management services from the underlying transport layer, allowing media operations to manage video and audio as baseband signals via SDI and AES interconnects, while simultaneously managing video and audio as IP streams, providing a seamless way to integrate services from advertising sales to playout to the delivery of media content regardless of the network topology. This provides support for strongly integrated services that enable media operations to migrate their network infrastructure from baseband to IP, or migrate services running on local hardware to virtualized, cloud-based services with no impact to the operational workflow. Learn more


A system permitting multiple displays to be shown together on a single display used for monitoring incoming and outbound signals, quality, etc. Learn more

Must Carry (Retransmission)

Refers to a cable systems mandatory signal carriage of both commercial and noncommercial television broadcast stations that are "local" to the area served by the cable system, as specified in the (USA) 1992 Cable Act.

Mux (Multiplexing)

A method of joining of two or more data streams for co-transmission over the same hardware. Also describes the device that does the multiplexing. Frequently used synonymously with embedding when describing the process of inserting AES audio into a serial digital video signal.

MVPD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor)

A service provider, such as a cable operator, multisystem operator (MSO), direct broadcast satellite service or telco-based television service, which provides multiple channels of television programming, typically charging a subscription fee to consumers. See the glossary entry on CSP (Communications Service Provider) for more information.

MXF (Material eXchange Format)

A container format for professional digital video and audio media defined by SMPTE 377M and additional standards. MXF supports a number of different streams of coded essence, encoded with any of a variety of codecs, together with a metadata wrapper, which describes the material contained within the MXF file. The standard has full timecode and metadata support, and is platform-agnostic for future applications.


NAB (National Association of Broadcasters)

The organization that sets standards and practices for all broadcasters in the United States. It represents the broadcast industry before Congress, the FCC and other government agencies. It provides economic studies and interpretations of government rules and industry guidelines.

Transmit a television program or otherwise disseminate information to a comparatively small, targeted audience defined by special interest, demographics or geography.
National Rep

The link between the national advertiser, his agency and the station. The primary function of the rep is to create and develop sales of national advertising time for the stations it represents. Learn more


A program distributor interconnected with stations or cable systems for the distribution of programming.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Dedicated storage and file management server attached to a network, designed for file serving.
Network DVR (nDVR)

Network Digital Video Recorder enables a subscriber to make recordings of many linear multiscreen channels and programs over a network or in the cloud. Recordings can be initiated by an operator for Catchup/Time-shift TV, or initiated by a subscriber, where the end user selects when and what to record. Sometimes referred to as nPVR (Network Personal Video Recorder).

Network DVR (nDVR)

Network Digital Video Recorder enables a subscriber to make recordings of many linear multiscreen channels and programs over a network or in the cloud. Recordings can be initiated by an operator for Catchup/Time-shift TV, or initiated by a subscriber, where the end user selects when and what to record. Also referred to as nPVR (Network Personal Video Recorder).  See also Cloud DVR.

Network Feed

The sending of network program material over network lines to affiliated stations or cable systems. The feed may be aired live or taped and broadcast later.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
A network architecture that uses virtualization technologies to consolidate and deliver networking capabilities and components to support a fully virtualized infrastructure with virtual servers, storage, and additional virtual networks.
Network Management System (NMS)

Scalable software that provides an instant view of the entire network and device status, as well as control of every active device in the video delivery system. The system provides for immediate identification of critical issues, the automation of recurring tasks with graphical network schematics and alarm messages. Learn more


Systems to simplify and streamline signal management of any signal type from SD to 4K to IP, oversee the entire network from any location and ensure signal integrity. Networking includes routing, processing and compression, command and control systems, test and measurement systems and multiviewers. Learn more


Used to describe the editing and storage of video, audio and data. Information is available anywhere on the media almost immediately, without having to locate the desired information in a time-linear format.

Nonlinear Playout

Systems that manage the workflow of delivering channels that allow users to select and consume video content on demand, irrespective of delivery method. Nonlinear systems include video-on-demand (VOD), mobile or internet streaming, and DVR (digital video recorder) systems.

NRCS (Newsroom Computer System or NCS)

Provides tools for journalists in television newsrooms covering the news delivery workflow, including searching source material, writing scripts and preparing news rundowns (newscast schedules). Learn more

NRSC (National Radio Systems Committee)

An organization sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to set industry technical standards for radio broadcasting in the United States.

NTR (Non Traditional Revenue)

Revenue generated by special projects that may or may not directly involve traditional, broadcast commercial advertising campaigns. Typical examples would be job fairs or home shows, Internet and other non-broadcast advertising, printed coupon booklets, stage shows, the sale of promotional items, or anything not directly related to a simple broadcast log. Learn more

NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)

Industry group that develops standards for television broadcasting and receiving equipment in the United States. The NTSC video standard is an analog video format with 525 lines per frame, and is used as the broadcast standard in multiple countries that have not converted to digital television formats.



A station owned and operated by a national network.


Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM) is a method of encoding digital data on multiple carrier frequencies, and used in applications such as digital television and audio broadcasting.


Refers to making video and media entertainment content available for consumption anytime, anywhere, of any duration, in any format. Compare with the word multiplatform, which is similar, but is limited to specific supported platforms (e.g., linear television, VOD, mobile and web).

Open Architecture
A technology infrastructure designed to streamline integrations and data access by leveraging industry standards or publicly available specifications.

Automation of the management and coordination of complex computer systems, services and middleware. This creates a unified control system that allows for scalability, centralized management of resources, and the exchange of information between components, or across domains, as in the case of cloud computing. Learn more

Origin Server

Application that stores the original streaming multimedia content or applications for delivery to end users. Origin servers typically work in a distributed environment to efficiently manage network resources, using Edge Servers to offload content delivery closer to the location of the consumer. Compare with Edge Server. Learn more


The abbreviation for one-time-only, this refers to spots or programs that are to air only once.

OTT (Over-the-Top)

From a technical perspective, delivery of video and audio services over the internet without the involvement or consent of the underlying network provider or internet service provider (ISP). Referred to as "over-the-top" because these services ride on top of an existing internetbroadband service. From a business perspective, dedicated OTT video providers deliver video and audio services as an alternative to traditional subscription pay-TV operators (in contrast to TV Everywhere, in which access is tied to a subscription or authentication with a service provider). OTT content is made available to consumers through internet-connected devices such as tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, set-top boxes and gaming devices. Learn more

Outside Broadcast

Electronic field-based production of television or radio programs from a mobile remote broadcast television studio, and typically used to cover sports and news events. Professional video camera and microphone signals come into the production truck for processing, recording and transmission. The mobile production control room is known as a production truck, mobile unit, remote truck, live truck or OB van. Also referred to as Mobile Production. Learn more

Over-the-Air (OTA) Television

See Terrestrial Television.


Describes the situation when more spots are sold to advertisers than will fit in the avails defined for the log. Similar to getting bumped from an airplane, oversold spots will be bumped from the schedule.


PA (Power amplifier)

An electronic circuit that accepts a low level RF signal and outputs an amplified replica at higher power levels.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

A cloud-based software development service used to create, test and deploy web-based applications.

Paid Program (Infomercial)

A long-form broadcast commercial, frequently referred to as an infomercial or program-length commercial, which provides much more information than can be supplied in a typical 30- or 60-second commercial.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line)

The European analog standard for television transmission. An analog video format with 625 lines per frame, and used as the standard in many parts of the world providing analog programming.


A set of data that is intended to guide professional video equipment in extracting an image to be presented in an aspect ratio that is different from that in which the material was produced or distributed. Parameters are provided for pan (horizontal displacement), tilt (vertical displacement), vertical size, horizontal size and output aspect ratio.


A method of verifying the accuracy of transmitted or recorded data.

The proportion of homes subscribing to a cable network, measured as a percentage of the total number of TV households in a specified area.

Pillarbox describes a frame that the image fails to fill horizontally, requiring bars at the left andor right sides of the image. A typical example is playing 43 aspect ratio video on a 169 screen, requiring bars to fill the remaining space.


The smallest distinguishable and resolvable area in a video image representing a single point on a screen, or "picture element". In digital video, a single sample of the picture.

Placement Opportunity

A location in digital content where ad insertions or content modifications (including insertions, replacements or deletions) can occur. Placement opportunities are similar to avails in traditional linear television, but cover multiple delivery platforms and formats.

Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS)

A service that identifies availability to insert advertising (placement opportunities) into content, as defined by the SCTE-130 part 5 standard. The system provides opportunities for content placement, constraints (business rules and attributes), and rights information to allow for the appropriate placement of advertising. Learn more

Platform Independent
Software that is capable of operating on a variety of software or hardware-based computing architectures.

The official schedule of all events that a television or radio station will play during a specific period of time, typically one day. The playlist includes all program, commercial and interstitial (promotions, bugs, crawls, etc.) information for the station to be able to play out programming.


Systems to manage the workflow of delivering channels to consumers over traditional television, the internet and mobile devices, including playout automation, servers, integrated playout, news, graphics and branding. Learn more


See Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS).


An advertisement that is played after VOD content is viewed.


A process which moves data from Traffic to Accounts Receivable, so that the charges can be invoiced during the next regular billing cycle.


A final stage in the production of a film or program occurring after the action has been filmed, digitally recorded, or videotaped, typically involving editing, adding the soundtrack and special effects.


An advertisement that is played before on-demand content can be viewed.

Predictive Analytics

A data-mining technique that extracts information from existing data sets to determine patterns and forecast future trends or outcomes. Learn more


The displacement of a regularly scheduled program or commercial. When a regularly scheduled program is replaced by special programming, the regular program is said to have been preempted.

Prime Time

Time on the programming schedule with the greatest viewership and typically the most expensive airtime. Prime Time is the time when most viewers are available (e.g., at home, not at work) to view programming, and is usually a four-hour period falling between the hours of 7 p.m. -11 p.m.

Private Cloud

A non-shared cloud resource that extends an organization’s datacenter to provide storage and processing power for a variety of functions.


Analyzing, managing and optimizing analog and digital signals, including acquisition (capturing), quality improvement and compression. Learn more


A process that automates the planning, selling, buying, and optimization of TV, cable, satellite, IPTV and rich media advertising inventory usingaudience data. Programmatic is another word for automated, and programmatic buying and selling refers to any ad buy processed via a computerized interaction, as opposed to manual or partially automated processes such as fax or email. The term is frequently associated with real-time bidding (RTB), a process where ads are bought through computer-run auctions, which is a subset of programmatic buying.


The output or product of a station that is presented either in long-form or short-form styles. Long-form programming describes a schedule of programs covering longer increments, such as 30 minutes or an hour. Short-form programming describes a constant format of shorter content modules like music videos or weathercasts. Short videos on the Internet would also be considered short-form programming.


A spot, similar to a commercial, containing a promotional announcement for a channel, a program or an event.

PSA (Public Service Announcement)

A spot, similar to a commercial, containing information of interest to the general public, and aired by the station at no charge. An example of a PSA would be a spot informing the public of free blood-pressure check-ups on a certain day, or a Red Cross Blood Drive.


Program and System Information Protocol. The channel naming and navigation standard for digital television.

Public Television

Non-commercial television supported by federal and state funds, voluntary contributions and grants, and offering a variety of programming.


Content delivered to the user upon request.


Content delivered regardless of user interest. The user chooses what to view without controlling what is sent. Broadcast television and radio are considered "push."


QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation)

The modulation technique used in encoding and transmitting digital cable channels via CSPs.



Redundant array of independent disks (RAID), a method of writing to multiple hard drives to provide redundancy and protect against data loss.


The percent of all people in a demographic group tuned in to a specific station at the same time. A rating point is a value equal to 1 of a population (universe). Example If there are 1.9 million people in a metropolitan area and 12 of the people that own TVs are tuned in to Channel 4, Channel 4 has a 12 rating.

Measurements of how many people watch TV programming. In traditional linear television, ratings are an estimate of the size of the viewing audience in relation to the total universe of viewers. On demand ratings typically includes a count of viewers, and is measured across the interval of time that content is available to be viewed. See Audience Measurement.

The number of homes to which a service is available regardless of whether or not residents choose to subscribe or view, referring to the availability of a service in a community. Reach is also referred to as "net impressions" or "net audience."

Real-time Bidding (RTB)

A programmatic type of advertising sales, typically used for the internet, where ad inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis, through an auction. The process aggregates multiple networks together, allowing advertisers the ability to manage and optimize an advertising campaign across channels.

Reconciliation (Log Reconciliation)

The traffic process of balancing what spots aired and what spots were ordered, so that advertisers will be billed properly. Learn more

Rep Firm

A company that sells time on (represents) stations or cable systems to national advertisers. These firms are sales agents for large rosters of stations that otherwise would have no affordable access to national or regional advertisers. Learn more


Any rebroadcast of a TV program that has previously aired. Also called a "rerun." When a program aired for the first time, it is usually designed as the primary showing, with a repeat as any secondary airing.


Low powered, localized transmitters that automatically pick up the signal of a parent broadcast station and retransmit the amplified signal on the same channel. Used in remote geographical regions.


Measure of the detail of a TV picture. Horizontal lines of resolution are counted across the TV screen, and vertical lines of resolution are counted from top to bottom. The number of bits determines the resolution of the signal. Eight bits is the minimum resolution for broadcast television signals. 8 bits a resolution of 1 in 256, 10 bits a resolution of 1 in 1024.

Return Path
A physical way that a viewer or device is able to send information, requests or demands back to a network operator, used for interactive television, social media and measurement.
Rewind TV

Function enabling viewers to replay a scene that was just broadcasted on the currently viewed channel.

RF (Radio frequency)

An electrical oscillation at the frequency of radio waves in the range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz. In transmission, RF is typically a signal in the 168 MHz to 242 MHz frequency range.


An additive color model in which Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) light are added together in various ways to convey all necessary picture information. The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation, and display of images in systems such as televisions.

Rights Management

The process of tracking and maximizing the value of contracts that define both the creation of and distribution of intellectual property, media content and other media assets. Learn more

Rights Window
Time period where a rights owner has the authority to schedule a program. If rights to content are perpetual, there is no end date to the rights window.

The distribution of commercials across a representative cross-section of days and hours within the purchased broad time period. Scheduling of advertising in the same program or time period on different days each week is referred to as horizontal rotation, while distribution throughout the hours of a particular day is referred to as vertical rotation. Learn more

Routing Switcher (Router)

A multi-input, multi-output electronic device that routes an audio, video or data signal from any input to any output. Learn more


Remote Storage Digital Video Recorder or Remote Storage DVR.  See Cloud DVR.

RU (Rack Unit)

A standard unit of measurement equivalent to 1.75 in.44.45 mm. Rack units are used to describe the height of components that will be placed in audio-visual equipment racks.

Running Time

The length of time for a show to go from start to finish. Often abbreviated TRT (total running time).



Super-video or component video. A format in which a video signal is split into a luminance (brightness) component and a chrominance (color) component.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

A software licensing and delivery model, where software is centrally hosted and licensed on a subscription basis.  The system is typically accessed using a web browser.

Salesforce Automation
Technology to automate and enhance the sales process. Technologies can include platforms such as mobile devices or tablets for portability, and customer relationship management and interactive selling software.

Synchronous communications satellite orbiting earth from a stationary position 22,300 miles above the equator and transmitting television and other signals.

Satellite Dish (Satellite Receiver)

A kind of antenna used to pick up transmissions broadcast from a satellite.

Refers to how hardware or software can adapt or expand to meet increased demands, typically to adjust to new growth or expanded requirements.

A list of the advertisers commercials, time of day and dates, and the stations or networks programs.

SCTE (Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers)

A nonprofit professional organization focused on technology related to the cable telecommunications industry. The organization provides technical training, professional resources, and standards development for the cable industry.


An SCTE standard for communicating placement opportunities, placement decisions, and event data required for invoicing and affidavits, designed for video on-demand (VOD), traditional linear cable, set-top box applications and DVRs. The standard includes ADS, ADM, POIS and other components.


An SCTE standard defining how digital media splicing is performed (digital ad insertion), including the selection of media sources, the selection of streams, and where a stream is spliced. SCTE-30 messages are sent between an ad insertion server and a splicer to ad insertion points.


An SCTE standard used to flag locations where advertising insertions are triggered. The standard is sometimes referred to as “digital cue tones” because it is the digital equivalent of analog cue-tones that were previously used in network feeds to signal local advertising insertion.

SDI (Serial Digital Interface)

A standardized interface for transmitting digital television signals using fiber optic or coaxial cables, operating at data rates ranging from 19.4 Mbs up to 540 Mbs. SDI is often used informally to refer to 422 sampled standard-definition serial digital television signals, specified in SMPTE 259 and 310 standards.

SDK (Software Development Kit)
A set of development tools for the creation of applications for a specific software platform or framework.
SDN (Software Defined Networking)

An approach to computer networking that separates the control plane, which determines where traffic is sent, from the data plane, which forwards traffic based on what the control plane tells it to do. SDN enables more flexible networks, reduced costs and accelerated delivery of services. Learn more


A software-defined video network. See MultiService SDN. Learn more


An analog video format developed in France and used by multiple other countries broadcasting analog signals. SECAM has 625 lines total, 576 lines visible per frame, and has a frame rate of 25 frames per second.

Second Screen

Use of multiple types of devices (television, laptop, tablet, mobile phone) and information services (such as television programs, social media or web browsing), simultaneously. The term is frequently used to describe the use of second screen devices to provide interactive features during linear content, such as a television program, served from a web browser or special app. For example, a person watching TV uses a tablet device to interact with friends on social media as they watch a program.

Separation Rules

A scheduling policy determined by individual channels that allows for a specified time or number of commercials between two competitive products of the same product type, either within the same commercial break or some other period of time.


A computer that shares its resources (applications, files, programs, commercials, etc.) with other computers on a network. See Video Server. Learn more

Set-top Box (STB)

A device or software that converts video content into a format for viewing on a conventional TV set, enabling cable, satellite or over-the-top (OTT) Internet television to be viewed. Set-top boxes typically contain one or more television tuners and tools to display an Electronic Program Guide (EPG), and may host digital video recording (DVR) capabilities.

SFN (Single Frequency Network)

A transmission network in which all transmitters are synchronized in frequency and phase (symbol). This transmission technique guarantees high-frequency economy, as a single frequency can be used in a large geographic area.


The percentage of people currently tuned in to a program, station or network out of all the people currently tuned in to all stations.

Signal Flow
Transmission of an electrical or optical signal from a source to an output, across a network.
Signal Processing (Core Processing)

Analyzing, managing and optimizing analog and digital signals, including acquisition (capturing), quality improvement and compression. Learn more


A joint broadcast airing at the same time on two television stationsnetworks, a television and a radio station, or another media outlet and a streaming service.

SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers)

An international professional association of engineers working in the motion imaging industries. The organization has developed more than 600 internationally recognized standards and guidelines for television production, filmmaking, digital cinema, audio recording and information technology.

SMPTE 2021

See BXF (Broadcast eXchange Format).

SMPTE 2022

Standardizes the encapsulation of both compressed an uncompressed SD and HD video for transport over IP networks.


Lower third animation used to promote another show or product during a television show.


Simple Network Management Protocol. A standard computer network protocol that enables different devices sharing the same network to communicate with each other.

Social Network
A structure for creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships with business and social contacts, as well as to connect with people of similar interests, using internet-based websites and applications.
Special Event (Special)

A program that will be run only once or a small, defined number of times.


The range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data and television.

Spectrum Auction

A public sale of spectrum space, in which the price is increased by bids until the highest bidder becomes the purchaser.


In streaming video, the act of inserting (or removing) content from a video stream, commonly used to insert commercials.


An advertiser who buys the exclusive right to the available commercial time within a program.


A commercial announcement, typically less than five minutes in length, which is placed within or next to a program. The most common spot lengths are 15, 30 and 60 seconds.

Standard Billing Month

Also referred to as broadcast month," refers to the month advertising agencies frequently use for billing purposes. It is defined as a fiscal month that ends on the last Sunday of a calendar month.This month can have four or five weeks in it, but it will always allow for a complete Monday through Sunday billing week. Download 2015 Broadcast Calendar


A process by which a content subscriber can view a current broadcast event from the beginning (e.g., start a program over), normally initiated from the Electronic Programming Guide (EPG).


A summary of an advertisers accounts receivable status, typically sent with an invoice. Adds together all charges, credits, service charges on delinquent balances and shows the total amount owed by an advertiser, sponsor or program underwriter for all contracts and charges combined.


A broadcast entity licensed to a market by a regulatory authority such as the FCC (US), CRTC (Canada) or Ofcom (UK). Also known as a "channel."

Station Identification (ID or Station ID)

The announcement between programs on the hour or half-hour in which local stations are required by a regulatory authority to identify themselves (typically by name and city of origin).

Storage Area Network (SAN)
Dedicated high-speed network that interconnects and provides shared pools of storage to multiple servers. This allows raw storage to be treated as a pool of resources that can be managed centrally and allocated on an as-needed basis. Compare to Network Attached Storage (NAS).

Playing audio andor video content immediately as it is downloaded from the Internet, rather than first storing it in a file on the receiving computer. A high-speed Internet connection is necessary.


An inaudible portion of the broadcast signal that is added to the program signal of FM or TV sound and can be used for either broadcast or non-broadcast purposes. Uses include stereo sound, augmented audio for the blind, bilingual programming and paging.

Subscriber Information Service (SIS)

An SCTE-130 standard-defined service that can store, process and access subscriber information to assist in targeted advertising placement decisions.


An image superimposed over another image. Often the subject of an interview will be "supered" with identifying information. Also called "titles" or "lower thirds" because of the positioning of words.


A slang term used to describe switching a television from channel to channel in a continuous order with a remote control. Also used to describe the process of scanning entries on the Internet.


The technician who operates the television input control console to select or mix video input. Also known as Technical Director or TD.

Sync (Sync pulse)

The horizontal synchronization pulse in the video waveform which, when transmitted, creates the highest level of peak envelope power in the transmitter.

Syndicated Program (Syndication)

A program that is produced for national distribution, but which is shown on individual local stations, cable systems or cable networks rather than on a national network. These programs may be sponsored either locally or nationally.

System Integration
Process of creating a complex information system by connecting systems such as hardware, software applications, databases and communications to create a streamlined information-sharing workflow. Also referred to as Application Integration.


Target Audience

The intended audience for an advertisement typically defined in terms of specific demographics, such as age, gender or location, and psychographics, focusing on different interests or behaviors.

Targeted Advertising

See Addressable Advertising.

TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

A financial estimate intended to help buyers and owners determine the direct and indirect costs of a product or system.


Transmission Control Protocol-Internet Protocol. TCP governs the exchange of sequential data. IP routes outgoing and recognizes incoming messages.


Telephone company, typically providing multichannel video services. See also MVPD.

Terrestrial Television

Television signals broadcast from local radio towers. Homes with antennas capable of picking up the broadcast signals are able to receive the television program. Also known as over the air, or OTA.

Test & Measurement (T&M)

Tools to analyze, validate, and verify the measurements of signals, to maintain quality and regulatory compliance. Learn more

Time Period

An interval of time usually defined by day(s) and hour(s) without regard to the programming aired.

Time Shift

Ability to pause an in-progress television program and resume viewing at a later time from the point where a program was paused.  After resuming viewing, the user can catch-up to the current time by fast-forwarding.  Also known as Pause TV.

Time-Shifted Commercial Substitution

Dynamic insertion of replacement ads during time-shifted (e.g., DVR) viewing of content.


A method of associating each frame of film or video in a clip with a unique, sequential unit of time. The format is hours minutes seconds frames.


The ability for a content subscriber to scroll back in time to view an event that occurred in the recent past (typically limited to 6-8 hours prior to the current time).


Score information at the top of a screen, used on sports broadcasts.

Trade (Contra)

An agreement between a station and an advertiser, by which the station receives merchandise or services, not cash, in exchange for airtime. Outside the U.S. trade may be referred to as contra."


The scheduling of program material, advertisements and copy information for a broadcast day based on a program schedule and commercial time availability (inventory). Learn more

Traffic Department

The department in a station, channel or network that coordinates the information flow between programming, sales, continuity and promotion, and uses that information to create the program log. Learn more


The process of converting from one encoding format to another, typically used in cases where a target device (or workflow) does not support the format, requires a reduced file size, or to convert incompatible or obsolete data to a supported format.


Low-powered relay facility used by television stations to carry signals beyond the normal coverage area into remote areas. Usually situated in high terrain, the translator receives the over-the-air signal of a station and re-transmits it (usually with more power) on another unused channel in a prescribed direction.


Highly efficient networks that deliver content signals to viewers across vast geographies, maximizing distribution. Visit GatesAir


An electronic device which generates a radio frequency (RF) alternating current, which is applied to the antenna to generate radio waves. Information in the radio waves is converted by a television or radio into a usable form for viewing or listening.


A communications satellite component that receives and retransmits a TV signal or other data communications.


The movement of compressed and uncompressed audio, video and data signals. Learn more

Transport Stream

A container format for terrestrial or satellite broadcast encapsulating packetized elementary streams, with error correction and stream synchronization features for maintaining transmission integrity.


A video optimization process that changes video files from one bitrate to another, without changing the original encoding format.  Frequently used with adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming, the process enables efficient delivery of video with reduced bandwidth.

An event that may cause a change in the behavior of an application. Triggers can come from many sources, such as user interaction, a system clock or events in a broadcast stream.

A message that arrives at a specific point in time during a broadcast and intended to activate a specific event. When referring to automation systems, triggers start a different event in a program schedule, e.g., a video source code of SAT (satellite) would automatically trigger the automation system to play content from that specific video source.

TRS (Time Reference Signal)

Signals used to maintain timing in composite digital systems.

TS (Transport Stream)

A standard format for transmission and storage of audio, video and data for broadcast systems such as DVB and ATSC. The transport stream specifies a container format encapsulating packetized elementary streams, with error correction and stream synchronization features for maintaining transmission integrity when the signal is degraded. Depending on the digital transmission standard, the transport stream may be in the SMPTE 310, ASI or ETI format.

Time Shifted TV.
Also known as: Time Shift
TV Everywhere (TVE)

Multiscreen delivery services that provide consumers with content on multiple device platforms other than a TV, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, with access generally tied to a subscription or authentication with a service provider. Sometimes colloquially used as an umbrella term to describe video delivered and consumed on any device from any location. Learn more

Two-way Cable TV Capability

Interactive services offered by cable systems such as home shopping, banking and polling services.


Uncompressed Video over IP. General term for the transport of uncompressed video signals over IP networks, typically employing the SMPTE 2022-6 standard.
UDC (Up-Down Converter)

A circuit in the LPU modulator section that converts an 140 MHz intermediate frequency signal to the final desired VHF RF channel frequency (upconversion) or vice versa (downconversion).


User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a multicast audio-video streaming method, frequently used in streaming and live IP video delivery.  The lightweight broadcast delivery protocol does not use error-checking, and does not require a dedicated end-to-end connection.

UI (User Interface)

A type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices and software via images rather than text commands.

Ultra High Definition Television (4K or 8K)

Ultra high definition television (also UHDTV or UHD, and Super Hi-Vision in Japan) represents digital video formats used for displays that have an aspect ratio of at least 169 and at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native video at a minimum resolution of 3,840 2,160 pixels. Two resolutions, 4K and 8K, are currently defined as UHDTV 4K is 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall (2160p, 8.3 megapixels), which is 4x larger than the current HDTV (high-definition television) standard of 1920 1080 (2.1 megapixels). 8K is 7680x4320 (4320p and 33.2 megapixels), which is 16x more pixels than current 1080p HDTV.

Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

The part of the radio spectrum from 300 to 3000 megahertz that includes TV channels 14-83, as well as many land mobile and satellite services.

Uncompressed Video
Digital video that has never been compressed, or was created by decompressing previously compressed digital video. Uncompressed video has extremely large storage and bandwidth requirements, but provides the best quality.
Uncompressed Video Over IP (UCIP)
General term for the transport of uncompressed video signals over IP networks, typically employing the SMPTE 2022-6 standard: Transport of High Bit Rate Media Signals over IP Networks.
Transmission between a single sender and single receiver over a network.
Also known as: Multicast, Broadcast
Unified Billing
Consolidating customer billing and financial information across regions, software applications, databases and platforms, to create a single invoice for customers, combined reporting and streamlined recordkeeping, to improve account visibility, credit management and client performance analysis.
Unified Facility Control (UFC)

Scalable software that provides an instant view of the entire network and device status, as well as control of every active device in the video delivery system. The system provides for immediate identification of critical issues, the automation of recurring tasks with graphical network schematics and alarm messages. Learn more


The total householdspersons in a given demographic or population group, typically used to measure a television or radio audience.


A converter that takes an SDI signal and recodes it as an HD-SDI signal.


The signal that carries information from an earth station source up to a satellite.

UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply)

A battery-based system designed to provide power during an AC mains failure event (power outage).

User bits

User-assignable bits in timecode, typically used to contain date, reel numbers, scene and take numbers and other user-oriented data.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
A protocol residing on top of IP, used for end-to-end transmission of user messages, designed to deliver simple data to another server and for multicasting to multiple hosts. The protocol does not contain error checking or retransmission, which must be handled by the sending and receiving applications. Compare to TCP.
User Experience (UX)
Qualitative measures and impressions of a website or computer application, representing usability and affective measures of human–computer interaction. Compare with User Interface.
User Interface (UI)
The sensory and behavioral aspects of an operating system or application that allow a user and computer system to interact. It controls how commands are given to the computer or program and how information is presented on the screen. Compare with User Experience
Also known as: Coordinated Universal Time



Program rating information encoded onto a broadcast video signal in a Line 21 closed caption system, typically used to manage parental control of content. Television sets with V-Chip decoders will disallow viewing of programs if the rating is too high.

VANC (Vertical Ancillary Data)

Ancillary data packets carried in the active part of the lines during the vertical blanking interval of a digital television signal, containing metadata associated with the video or audio of a television bitstream. May also refer to the data space located in the vertical blanking interval where these packets are carried.


Video Ad Serving Template, an XML standard published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), defining communications requirements for serving ads to digital video players.

VDCP (Video Disk Control Protocol)

A communications protocol primarily used in broadcast automation to control hard disk video servers for broadcast television. Learn more

Video Distribution Edge (VDE). Solution that creates traditional linear broadcast streams from ABR inputs, eliminating the need for multiple networks to distribute linear and OTT content. When used in playout, it is capable of using OTT ad insertion technology, removing traditional ad splicing equipment from the linear workflow and significantly reducing the infrastructure needed to perform ad insertion across the entire network.
Instance of content (program, commercial, etc.) that varies from the original content, based on territories, language, duration, distribution path, format or other factors.
Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI)

The period of time between television pictures, visible as a black bar when the picture rolls. The VBI contains signals that allow receivers to keep the picture stable and has additional signal capacity that can be used to carry closed captioning information, test, cue and control signals, and other data services.

Very High Frequency (VHF)

The part of the radio spectrum from 30 to 300 megahertz, which includes TV channels 2-13, the FM broadcast band, and some marine, aviation and land mobile services.

Video Compression

Digital technology that compresses video and audio transmissions so that more data can be transmitted. This allows for expansion of broadcast, cable and satellite channels. Learn more

Video Server

A server that is dedicated to ingesting, storing and delivering video. Video servers use codecs and broadcast-quality processing to ensure high-quality streaming digital video. Metadata fully documents the identities of video clips for efficient distribution. Learn more

Virtual Machine
A software-based application environment which behaves as dedicated hardware. This allows multiple operating systems and applications to be configured on a single physical computer or in the cloud.
Virtual Master Control
Channel playout operations incorporating all aspects of channel production and integrated playout as a fully virtualized, platform-agnostic solution, capable of being deployed on hardware or hosted in a public or private data center. Typically includes integrated playout capabilities including graphics, branding, playback and automation, as well as commercial insertion, captioning, encoding, decoding, audio management and other functions for delivery of live and linear channels.
Virtual Network
An interconnected group of networks that appears as a single network to users. This enables connectivity of multiple virtual machines, and can be used to create a hybrid cloud and physical computing environment that interacts seamlessly and behaves as a single network.
Virtual Version
Creating an instance of a program by using a metadata file containing segment information and instructions on how to playout a file. Allows for the creation of alternate instances of content without maintaining individual physical files.

In software, the separation of an instance of an application from the underlying operating system and storage, allowing efficient resource sharing and disaster recovery.

The illustration of data to graphically illustrate relationships, enhancing the ability to manage large data sets and make conclusions based on a large quantity of information.

Vertical Interval Time Code, the time and address control signal standardized by SMPTE 12-1, encoded on one or more lines in the vertical interval of standard-definition television signals.

VOD (Video On Demand)

Systems that allow users to select and consume video content on demand. IPTV technology is often used to bring video on demand to televisions and personal computers. VOD systems typically stream content through a set-top box, computer or other device, allowing viewing in real time. Viewing recorded content from a DVR or website (also known as Catch up TV) is a form of video on demand.


VP9 is an open, royalty free video coding format, typically associated with ultrahigh definition video (UHD).  Compare with HEVC.


Web TV
Services that enable a user to access the internet and web browsing on a television set.
Local area computing technology that allows electronic devices to wirelessly connect to a network.

A sequence of connected steps required to complete a process, consisting of inputs, transformation rules and outputs. Examples include automatic routing, partially automated processing and integration between different functional business and operational applications and hardware systems. Learn more