Jargon Buster

Buying electricals online is often the best way to get the price you want on the technology that you need. Whether you are looking for a TV, laptop, Blu-ray player, or any other device, staying abreast of the latest terms and technology has never been more important. At District Electricals, we are dedicated to helping you find the perfect product, so we have put together a guide for the most common terms and phrases that will give you all the information you need!


In order to correctly display a 3D image, both the screen and the input source must be capable of supporting 3D signals.

Active: Active 3D presents images by showing images to alternate eyes at very high speed. Active 3D uses more expensive, rechargeable or  battery-powered glasses that can deliver a [Full HD] image. Active 3D is often found in [Samsung] and [Panasonic] [3D TVs].

Passive:   Passive 3D creates 3D images by polarising light, and is the type of 3D used in most UK cinemas. Passive 3D uses less expensive, lightweight glasses that do not require batteries; however, it does not deliver a HD image. Passive 3D is most commonly found in [LG] LED [3D TVs].

2D to 3D Conversion:Some devices, such as [Blu-ray players], allow you to convert standard 2D signals to give the appearance of 3D; however, the image is not truly 3D and does not work in the same way as original 3D content. See also [Upscaling] 


Blu-ray is a way of storing more information on a disc that is the same size as a DVD. Greater amounts of information allow Blu-ray discs to produce more detailed images, and they are often used to produce [HD] and [3D] signals. Only Blu-ray drives can play Blu-ray discs, but they are often capable of playing DVDs and CDs as well.


Component video

This is a connector made up of 3 RCA jacks, usually red green and blue, which transmit video as three separate analog signals. This is method of connecting your TV to other devices without using a HDMI port. It is capable of transmitting signals up to 1080p in resolution, but does not carry audio. See also  [Composite video], [HDMI] and [VGA] 

Composite video

Composite video is a connector made up of one jack, usually yellow, which transmits video (but not audio) as one analog signal in standard definition. It is a way of connecting devices to your TV without a HDMI port and works well with older devices, such as VCRs. See also [Component video], [HDMI] and [VGA]

Contrast Ratio

Contrast Ratio compares the brightest and darkest colours of a screen. Higher contrast ratios provide more realistic images and more vibrant colours, while lower contrast ratios will have less clarity and lower definition. 

Dedicated Graphics

Laptops with dedicated graphics have a separate graphics card that allows them to handle unusually detailed images, such as those produced by some high-end games and computer programs, such as Photoshop. Dedicated graphics are specialist equipment that are most often found in gaming laptops, and usually come with 1GB or 2GB dedicated [RAM].



An Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) displays channel and programme information on screen. EPGs typically have information 7 days in advance, and many allow you to set reminders and view programme data and ratings before viewing. 


Freeview is a terrestrial way of viewing digital TV with no subscription. In order to receive Freeview, both an aerial with strong signal and a Freeview tuner must be present. Freeview tuners cannot decode Freesat. All modern TVs now include [integrated Freeview] tuners, although they are also available separately as set-top boxes. Freeview+ is an additional service which allows you to record all of your favourite Freeview programs. See also [Freesat]


Freeview HD

Freeview HD broadcasts a greater number of HD channels than [Freeview], giving you access to quality HD programming from such channels as BBC One HD, ITV HD and Channel 4 HD. Freeview HD can only be picked up via a Freeview HD tuner. Freeview+ HD offers HD digital TV recording capability.  


Freesat is an alternative method of viewing digital TV in the UK without subscription. Freesat is received via satellite dish and decoded using a Freesat tuner, which can be a set-top box or integrated into the TV. Freesat tuners cannot decode Freeview. Freesat has access to almost all of the same channels as Freeview, and is often available in areas where [Freeview] is not. Freesat+is a separate service which allows you to record live TV using your Freesat receiver. See also [Freeview]


Freesat HD

Similarly to [Freeview], Freesat HD is a separate tuner that provides extra HD channels with no subscription. It can often deliver better quality than [Freeview HD]. With this service, you can enjoy a fantastic range of extra HD channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and more at no extra cost!Freesat+ HD is a separate service which also lets you record your favourite Freesat HD programs. 

Full HD (1080p)

‘Full HD’ screens are the highest [resolution] screens currently available. They can display signals from HD devices, such as Blu-ray players and some games consoles, in the highest possible definition. See also [HD] and [Resolution]


HD (High Definition)

High Definition (HD) refers to any digital signal above [720p]. HD images have very high [resolution] and are much clearer and sharper than standard definition. HD enhances colour saturation and brightness, making colours appear more vivid and lifelike. 

In order to correctly display a HD image, both the screen and the input source must be capable of supporting HD signals, although images can sometimes be [upscaled] to near-HD using the correct equipment. A screen can only display signals in its original resolution regardless of the quality of the source.  See also [Resolution]


HD Ready (720p)

‘HD Ready’ screens can display signals from all devices in HD. 720p signals are highly detailed and are used to transmit most HD programming in the UK, however, they are not as detailed as [Full HD]. 

GB (Gigabyte) and TB (Terabyte)

A gigabyte (GB) is the standard way of measuring available memory and storage space on a device. A byte is a single unit of digital information, so 1GB is the same as 1,000,000,000 bytes of information. The next largest unit of measurement is a terabyte (TB), which is the same as 1,000GB.



A Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is the part of a device in which information, such as documents, movies, games and photos, is stored. The size of a HDD is most commonly measured in gigabytes (GB). The larger the amount of memory available in the HDD, the more information can be stored within it. External storage devices, such as USB sticks and external hard drives, can provide extra memory, but they cannot be stored within the machine itself. See also [SSD] 


High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the newest available connection, and is the best way of connecting HD devices to HD screens without losing picture quality. HDMI connections can be found on most modern devices, and can handle all digital signals, including [HD] and [3D]. Smaller electronics, such as tablets and some netbooks, make use of mini-HDMI cables and ports in order to save space and increase portability.  Mini-HDMI is still Full HD, but will require a different cable to connect with other devices.


LCD Screen

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens are formed by liquid crystal pixels that sit behind glass or plastic. This type of screen is older technology that is no longer found in modern products. Though some LCD technology can be found in LED screens, pure LCD screens are lower contrast and less energy efficient than their modern LED counterparts. 

LED Screen

Light Emitting Diode (LED) screens are the most common modern display technology. They are formed by backlighting an [LCD] display with small, light and energy efficient LEDs. LED screens are more energy efficient and provide the brightest and sharpest image contrast, as well as providing greater colour saturation. LED screens are also much slimmer than the [Plasma] or [LCD] varieties, making LED TVs and laptops some of the thinnest and lightest on the market. See also [Plasma], [HD] and [Resolution].


Parental Control

Parental Control allows parents to stop children from accessing inappropriate content by placing password or PIN-protection on it. It can be enabled or disabled by the main user as necessary. 


Pixels are the ‘building blocks’ that make up digital images on all screens. The number of pixels in a screen can be used to determine its [resolution], which indicates how much detail it can display. In general, the greater the amount of pixels there are, the more detailed and clear the images on the screen will be.


Plasma Screen

Plasma screens make use of ionised gases to produce a visual image. They are only found in TVs and are thicker and less energy efficient than LED screens, though they can reach the same resolution and clarity. While LED screens are more common, Plasma screens are considered to produce a more ‘natural’ image, and the most high-end Plasma TVs regularly win awards for their picture quality. Plasma screens can be found in many [Panasonic TVs]. See also [LED] 


Random Access Memory (RAM) is the memory a computer uses to run programs and processes. The larger the amount of RAM available, the faster your computer will work. RAM can often be [upgraded] to further increase a computer’s operating speed. See also [HDD] and [SSD]



‘Resolution’ is the number of horizontal pixel lines by the number of vertical pixel lines within a screen (e.g. 1920 x 1080). For example, a ‘1080p’ screen will have 1,920 pixels on its longest side and 1,080 pixels on its shortest side.

A screen's resolution indicates how much detail it can display; a higher resolution screen will give a more realistic and detailed image. A chart comparing different screen resolutions can be found below.



[Full HD]

1080p (1920 x 1080)

Currently the highest available definition. Full HD screens display HD signals in the highest available resolution.

[HD Ready]

720p (1280 x 720)

HD Ready screens are still classified as HD and can display HD signals from all sources, but the image will not always be as detailed as 1080p.

Standard Definition

Any signal that is not considered to be HD. Often found in older devices such as VCRs.


A SCART connection is a 21-pin connector that is used to link older AV equipment, such as VCRs and early DVD players, to a TV. SCART leads are incapable of supporting any signals above [Standard Definition], and are not always compatible with modern equipment; however, there are some products that still support SCART connections.


SD Card

A Secure Digital (SD) Card is a form of removable storage that is often used in portable devices such as [cameras],[tablets] and mobile phones. SD Cards come in many different sizes, with the smallest being 2GB. There are also a number of different types of SD Card, such microSD and miniSD, so it is important to check that any SD cards you buy will be compatible with your device. See also [USB] 


A Solid State Drive (SSD) is a storage drive which is much faster and more energy efficient than a traditional [HDD]. SDDs have no moving parts, which allows them to react to commands almost instantaneously, and also allows them to store information more efficiently. SSDs often need less memory than HDDs, allowing them to be thinner and lighter than their older counterparts. SSDs are usually found in very high-end laptops and netbooks.  SSDs are sometimes used in combination with HDDs to provide almost instantaneous boot times alongside fantastic storage capacity.


True Movie/True Cinema 24p

Screens that can process ‘True Movie’ 24p display video at 24 frames per second (FPS), which is the same rate as most UK cinemas. This high FPS rate makes images appear more cinematic and reduces pixellation when scanning, displaying motion and action scenes more smoothly. Most HD screens can handle ‘True Movie’ 24p. See also [HD] 


Products that offer upscaling can convert lower [resolution] signals, such as 720p, into near-HD signals. Upscaling can offer significant improvements in image quality; however, it is not able to produce [Full HD] images.



Universal Serial Bus (USB) is by far the most common connector and is compatible across a range of different products, such as [TVs], [laptops], [digital cameras] and [desktop computers]. USB can be used to connect devices to one another, such as keyboards and computer mice, or as a method of external storage, as seen in USB memory sticks. USB connections come in three main varieties: 

USB 2.0: The most common form of USB connection. Almost all laptops and TVs now come with at least one USB connection. USB 2.0 is universally compatible with all USB ports.


USB 3.0: A newer, faster form of USB connection. USB 3.0 is capable of using all USB 2.0 connections, although some USB 3.0 devices do not accept USB 2.0 components. 

MicroUSB: A smaller version of USB designed to enhance portability. Often found on smaller devices, such as [tablets] and [digital cameras]. MicroUSB connections often use a smaller port and may therefore require a different connecting cable to other USB devices.


Viewing angle

Viewing angle describes the maximum angle at which a screen can still display an acceptable image. A higher viewing angle allows for a wider range of screen placements. Most modern [LED] and [Plasma] TV screens have viewing angles of up to 176 degrees, allowing them to placed almost anywhere in a room and still display a perfect picture.

As television technology progresses, there is a seemingly endless list of new terminology and jargon used. This can be difficult to keep up with for the normal consumer. To assist in making your purchasing decision easier, we have put together a guide for commonly used terms. This should help you understand all that you need to know when choosing your new TV.

Aspect Ratio

This Refers to the ratio of the picture with common names such as widescreen or letter box. It is the ratio of the pictures width relative to the height. The aspect ration of a HDTV is 16:9 whereas a standard TV is 4:3



Bit Rate

Bit Rate is measured by bits per a second or bps. This measures the rate at which data is transmitted. So the higher you find the Bit Rate or bps the better the sound quality and image.


Component video

This is a connector made up of 3 RCA jacks, usually red green and blue. The 3 jacks carry component video signals that conveys the picture information

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio is a comparison of a screens whitest white and blackest black. A higher contrast ratio indicates that on screen colours will be more vibrant, and that the screen has the capability of replicating the most true to life colours within the colour spectrum.



EPG stands for Electronic Programme Guide. This is an onscreen display of channels and programme data. Usually comes as a now and next function along with a 7 day guide just like a “what’s on” TV guide


Full HD (1080p)

“Full HD” or “1080p” refers to the amount of lines of pixels on a screen ie. 1080 lines. A standard definition TV has 576 lines, and a standard HD TV has 720 lines. Only 1080p TV’s are able to display the highest quality of video output, such as that produced from a blu-ray player. 1080p is a “progressive scan”, in which all of the pixels are displayed at any one time, providing a sharper, smoother picture.


HD (High Definition)

High definition TV’s are capable of displaying pictures to a much higher quality than standard televisions. However, to achieve this the input to the TV must also be high definition. For TV viewing, this can be achieved by using a subscription service such as Sky HD, or the non-subscription service Freesat.



HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. This is a digital connection for video and audio data. They can be found on all HD Ready TVs, digital camcorders and dvd recorders plus many more devices that support HD. This method of connection has largely replaced the old “scart” cables, and is the best way of connecting HD devices. With a HDMI cable you can be sure to get the high quality video signal from your device to your TV to ensure true HD picture quality.



LCD stands for liquid crystal display. It is formed by hundreds of thousands of small lcd pixels that sit behind the TV screen. These pixels are charged through a fluorescent white backlight that sits behind the pixels. The light charges the pixels by sending an electric current and determines what colour should be shown, and the millions of tiny light variations make up the image that you see on your TV.



Led stands for “Light Emitting Diode”, and is the latest TV technology that is taking the world by storm. The greatest benefit is the picture quality which has much higher contrast and colour saturation levels than LCD TV’s. The other benefit is the slimness of the TV, often being little more than an inch deep. 


Parental Lock

Allows parents to “lock out” certain content and so that children cannot view unsuitable channels. Usually it is accessed by use of a pin number system



Pixels are small dots on the screen. It is the pixels that form the picture on your screen that you see. As a basic principle, the more pixels the screen has, the better the picture quality. High-Definition TV’s have up to four times as many pixels as a standard definition TV.


Plasma TV

Plasma screens are different to LCD technology. Plasma screens use xenon and neon gas which fills thousands of tiny chambers. Plasma screens are actually made up of 2 screens of glass and the xenon and neon gas is placed between both of the screens. Behind the tiny chambers that are filled by the gas there are a series of red, blue and green phosphors. When electricity hits the plasma chambers, they emit invisible UV light, which then hits one of the coloured phosphors. This creates a visible image on the screen.



Scart is a type of connection and cabling used to carry video and audio signals, and is usually found at the back of TV’s, DVD recorders, PVR’s, and Home Cinema Systems. It is outdated technology now, and HDMI connection should always be used for the best quality connection.


True Movie 24p

24p is a feature that allows films to be viewed at 24 frames per second, as opposed to 25 frames per second on a normal TV. This means that films are viewed as the director had originally intended.


Viewing Angle

LCD screens were originally used as computer monitors, and as such were designed for head on viewing. Viewed at an angle these early screens lost much of their contrast and brightness. In response to this manufacturers are continually increasing viewing angles for LCD TV where the quality is retained. Viewing angles as high as 176 degrees are now being achieved.

As television technology progresses, there is a seemingly endless list of new terminology and jargon used. This can be difficult to keep up with for the normal consumer. To assist in making your purchasing decision easier, we have put together a guide for commonly used terms. This should help you understand all that you need to know when choosing your new TV.