Digital Dictionary

Want to be able to speak true tech-talk? Here is our dictionary of TV terms!

480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p

These number and letter combinations are shorthand names for different types of resolutions. The number represents the amount of scan lines on your television. The more scan lines, the higher the resolution and clarity. The ‘i’ and ‘p’ stand for interlaced and progressive; two different ways the pixels on the screen are rendered. The standard for SD televisions is either 480i or 480p. The standard for high definition televisions is 720p, 1080i, or 1080p. All FOX networks, including FOX News Channel, telecast in 720p.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is the proportion of the picture’s width to height. Common
aspect ratios in television are 4:3 and 16:9. The traditional standard
aspect ratio for television has always been 4:3, but with the advent of high definition (HD) cable, the aspect ratio of newer television screens is moving toward a standard aspect ratio of 16:9.

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial is a type of cable that carries the digital signal you get into your
cable box from your cable company.

Component Cable

Component is a cable format that can carry either an analog signal or
a digital one. The video component cables are commonly identified by
red, blue, and green cable heads.

Composite Cable

Composite cables carry an analog signal. The video composite cable is commonly identified by a yellow cable head.

CRT Television

CRT is an acronym that stands for Cathode Ray Tube. CRTs were
the standard method for producing an image in ‘tube’ TVs for decades.
CRT televisions are not capable of displaying an HD signal and are
currently being phased out for LCD, LED and plasma televisions.


DTV is the new government standard in television telecasts.
DTV delivers both standard definition video (SD) and high definition
video (HD) transmissions.


HD, short for high definition, refers to the television format that can only
be displayed when watching an HD telecast and using an HD
television and cable equipment. All HD signals are digital telecasts.

It also has at least twice the picture detail of standard definition television.

HDMI Cable

HDMI, which stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, is an
interface and cable that carries uncompressed high definition
video and audio from a cable box, or video game system to the
television set.

Interlaced Video Scanning

Interlaced video or interlaced scanning is a method of telecast that
was originally developed for use with older televisions and has since
carried over to modern HDTVs. Interlaced is a way to transmit the
signal by breaking it up into two different fields. Each field of the picture
consists of odd lines and even lines. The odd and even lines are then
displayed alternately creating the picture you see on your television.

In some instances, interlaced transmission is preferred over
progressive because it uses half the bandwidth. However, interlaced can
sometimes become ‘de-interlaced’ or the two fields can become
unaligned and create the look of flickering horizontal lines
across the screen.

LCD Television

LCD is an acronym used in reference to Liquid Crystal Display televisions.
The image is displayed by lighting up liquid crystals that make up
pixels on the screen.

LED Television

LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes and is the light source associated
with a LED television. LED televisions are HD ready.


Letterbox refers to the black bars produced at the top and bottom
of a television screen. A letterbox is used to ‘fit’ a widescreen aspect
ratio (16:9) image into a standard-width ratio (4:3) television.

Plasma Television

Plasma televisions use a chemical reaction to light the image seen on the screen. They are very high quality but use a lot more power than
LED and LCD televisions.

Progressive Video Scanning

Progressive video or progressive scanning was developed for use with computer monitors and adapted for use in television. In a TV telecast,
each pixel displays on the screen, and then renders in a sequential
order from the top left down to the bottom right.

While progressive scan televisions use twice as much bandwidth
as interlaced, they provide higher resolutions and better image quality.


SAP, or Secondary Audio Program, is an auxiliary audio setting
that can be telecast or transmitted. It is often used for an
alternate language.


SD, short for standard definition, refers to a format of a
television signal commonly associated with 4:3 analog telecasts.
Now, DTV telecasts both the SD and HD formats.


Widescreen generally refers to a television with a 16:9 aspect
ratio or a television signal with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Top of Page

As television technology transitions, so do we! On September 28, 2009,
FOX News Channel made a format change to the way we telecast.

Why? Because we wanted all of our viewers to be able to watch FNC the same way regardless of old or new model TV sets.

Now, all of our viewers get to watch our channel in the widescreen format. Settings on your television may need to be adjusted to properly view our new telecast. Learn more about setting your TV for the widescreen format. And don’t worry, this in no way changes the way we bring you the news.