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Guide to Plasma TVs

Plasma TV Jargon

Find out more about Plasma TV Jargon

While we have attempted to avoid plasma TV jargon on this site as far as possible, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into a lot of seemingly impenetrable terminology before long. Especially if you download a manufacturer’s brochure.

To help demystify the more common plasma TV buzzwords and abbreviations, we’ve compiled a glossary of the least intuitive plasma phraseology.

Component Signal

High resolution signal standard used by DVD players, satellite receivers and HDTV set-top boxes. The signal is separated into the basic video components of luminance and color difference.

Composite Signal

Signal standard carried normally by “RCA” type pin jacks which connect a VCR, DVD player or satellite box. Also known as direct video connection. Gives improved picture quality over simple coaxial cable as audio and video signals are carried separately.

Composite video

A video signal that amalgamates brightness, synchronization and color into one single signal.


Cathode Ray Tube. The picture tube of a conventional TV set.


Digital Light Processing was originally designed for use in digital projectors but has stepped over into TVs now. The on screen image is built by bouncing red, green and blue shafts of light off microchips covering with tiny mirrors. The mirrors pivot up or down to mix the light and create the image on screen.

Dot pitch

The distance between pixels. The smaller the dot pitch, the greater the image definition.


Stands for Digital Versatile Disk; the video disk that usurping video tape.


High-bandwidth digital connection between home theater components and the television. Normally used for cable and high definition TV.


High Definition Television. Term that denotes the highest resolution and performance digital television. Currently the accepted definition is either 720 progressive vertical lines of resolution by 1280 horizontal pixels or 1080 interlaced vertical lines by 1920 horizontal pixels. High Definition programming is now widely available via cable, satellite or over-the-air systems.

Integrated Television

Plasma TV with a built in HDTV tuner doing away with the need for a separate set top box.


A technique used in video signaling that reduces the monitor or screen flicker.


Plasma’s big rival in the flat panel display market. Liquid Crystal Display uses different technology, shining light through a matrix of miniscule colored liquid crystal cells which are either activated or deactivated to create the on screen image.


Compressed movie file format used on computers.


National Television Standards Committee TV transmission format of 525 lines and 30 frames.


Phase Alternating Line TV transmission signal of 625 lines and 25 frames.

Parental Lock

System that blocks inappropriate programming from appearing in channel selection and tuning menus. Access is via a code number only.

Picture–inside-Picture (Picture-outside-Picture)

Ability to display two images on screen simultaneously either as an inset or outset.


The dots that creating the on screen image. Each pixel consists of phosphor dots for each of the primary colors, red, green and blue.

Plasma TV

A plasma display stacks hundreds of thousands of tiny gas cells between two layers of glass. A high voltage is applied to each of these cells, creating plasma – a cloud of charged particles that emit ultraviolet light, not dissimilar to fluorescent lighting. This ultraviolet light strikes red, green or blue colored phosphor dots on the screen and is turned into visible light. By varying the signal applied to each of the cells, the overall color and pattern can be controlled and a complete TV image is created.


A measure of picture quality based on the number of pixels or dots horizontally and lines vertically on a screen that makes up the image. In general, the higher the resolution, the better the image quality and sharpness.

Scar (Euro Scart)

A European multi-pin connector which enables separate transmission of audio and video signals.

Screen Aspect

Viewing mode. Widescreen is 16:9 similar in proportions to cinematic images while standard TV programming is 4:3.


TV signal standard shortened from Sequential Color A Memory.


Special loudspeaker system dedicated to reproducing and enhancing low frequency sound.

Surround sound

3D sound simulated using only two speakers.


Computer video output signal of 800 x 600 resolution abbreviated from Super Video Graphics Array.


Super Video. Video signal that splits the component parts of brightness and color.