Here is a list of common (and not so common) terms you may have heard in the context of media servers and home entertainment.
Feel free to contact us if you come across a term you do not understand and we will put it here with a suitable description.
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1080i and 1080p These are currently the highest definition HDMI formats for video, each representing 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. However the 1080p format provides a smoother image because each video frame is progressively displayed whereas the 1080i format shows each video frame in alternative fields.
Blu-ray The next stage of optical disk format after the DVD, having more than five times the capacity of a DVD. Some media servers will play Blu-ray format videos.
BONJOUR This is Apple’s implementation of a service discovery protocol, formerly called Rendezvous.
card reader formats The most common forms of so called memory cards are CF (CompactFlash), SD/MMC (Secure Digital) and MS/MS Duo (Memory Sticks).
composite analog audio The earlier form of audio signal, also know as RCA stereo.
composite video An early form of analog video signal of low quality.
component or s-video A later analog video signal enhanced by separating the chrominance (color) and luminance paths.
DivX A popular media format which compresses digital video files to a small size without losing the high quality. DivX files include advanced features like subtitles and alternate audio tracks and can be downloaded from the Internet using your compatible media server.
DLNA Stands for Digital Living Network Alliance and is a standard used by manufacturers of home entertainment devives which allows these devices to share media content with each other over a home network.
DRM Media files bought or legally downloaded from online services such as Napster, MSN Music and MovieLink are usually protected by Digital Rights Management.
DVB-T Stands for Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial and is the standard for broadcasting digital terrestrial television.
HDMI Stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is a standard for both video and audio.
IEEE 802.11b/11g/11n These are wireless network (Wi-Fi) standards with 802.11n being the latest high speed variant.
IEEE 802.3/3u These are standards for Ethernet wired networks with 802.3u being Fast Ethernet (100MB/sec)
lossy, lossless These are forms of audio compression used to minimize file sizes for transmission of digital sound. When ready to be played the files can be expanded with lossless being able to exactly duplicate the original audio stream but lossy losing some of its sound quality.
MB A MegaByte of information is one million bytes, or characters. A media server with a 500 MB disk drive can store about 700 movies or 165,000 songs or 500,000 photos.
media server A hybrid home entertainment and computer device which allows viewing and listening enjoyment on your home entertainment systems (TV and sound system) by playing video and audio files which may reside on a PC, a storage device or the Internet. Other terms for media server include network media streamer, media streamer, streaming media box, media player, streaming media player, media tank, networked media tank, digital media receivers, digital multimedia receiver, network multimedia player, media bridge, media receiver, home theater solution, media extender.
MKV format This video format is used by camcorders.
H.264 format This is a high definition video format, also know as MPEG4.
S/PDIF This is the format for digital audio using either a coaxial or optical carrier. Many media servers support both coaxial and optical audio connections.
SAMBA This is an open source (free software) implementation of the networking protocol SMB/CIFS allowing sharing of resources (files, printers etc) across a mixed platform (Windows, Linus, Unix) network.
WEP A form of wireless networking security and stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, offering 40/64 bit and 128 bit encryption.
Windows Media Player 11 Media Sharing Enables legal playing of media files bought or downloaded which are DRM protected.
WPA A newer form of wireless networking security called Wi-Fi Protected Access. WPA-PSK is the Personal WPA version and requires password authentication.
WPS This is Wi-Fi Protected Setup and is a simple means of setting up a secure wireless network.