• Broadcast & ProAV glossary

Broadcast & ProAV Glossary

An A-Z glossary of terms for the Professional AV range.


Advanced Audio Compression coding provides high quality compressed digital music files in the SD format

AACCrystal Engine

The Crystal Engine is a special image processing circuit for 3CCD camera systems. Processing the signal from each of the three CCDs independently, it gives both moving and still pictures exceptional quality

Advanced progressive scan

Instead of the standard field by field interlace method this system displays all active lines at once as a complete frame. The result is a picture that is superbly sharp and clear.


A way of storing data using electrical signals. An analogue TV tuner uses radio frequencies which are susceptible to interference. Digital components - such as TVs, radios, recorders, video players, etc, use digital signals which are less prone to interference and offer enhanced quality, ease of use and greater versatility.

Aspect ratio

Describes the shape of a screen: a box that is 16cm wide and 9cm high is therefore 16:9. Movies are shot in a particular ratio for particular types of screens. There are four main aspect ratios: 4:3 the shape of a conventional TV and used by older films 16:9 widescreen: a compromise between 4:3 and the wider formats used by film makers 1.85:1 letterbox: the most commonly used picture format 2.35:1 Cinemascope: The widest of the most common ratios and also expensive. Used for the ultimate widescreen experience.


In computer and digital terminology a bit is the smallest unit of data. It is expressed in binary notation so that it is either 0 or 1 - basically an 'off' or an 'on' switch. The word 'bit' is an amalgam of 'binary' and 'digit'.


Charged Couple Device- the key image-processing component. A semiconductor chip which coordinates photosensors (pixels) to turn a picture into electronic signals. Most cameras have a 1 chip but the best is a 3CCD unit with a chip for each color element (red, green and blue). The higher the number of pixels the more information can be resolved resulting in a better picture.

Codec (compressor-decompressor)

A circuit or software module used to compress and/or decompress data. When an analog video signal is converted to a digital signal, the resulting digital data is a massive 20MB per second. The codec is used to compress this data for recording (for example, to a memory card), and then to decompress it to its original form for playback

Component video

The video signal is separated into its component form i.e. red, green and blue (RGB). For television, the signal is modified and referred to as YUV. It offers the highest quality of picture reproduction, especially from a DVD source. Component video input connections are usually three RCA phono-type plugs colour coded red, green and blue. Often labeled Y, Pb, Pr


A process that uses an algorithm to reduce data volume while preserving the original data content. Compression is used to reduce the time required to send and receive data over a network, and to enable the recording of more data onto a memory card or other storage medium.

Digital output

Allows DTS or Dolby Digital signals to be taken from a DVD player and fed to an external decoder.

Digital signal processing

Unique Panasonic digital signal processing technologies deliver true-to-life detail and color, with whiter whites, deeper blacks, and superb rendering of fine details such as individual strands of hair.

Dolby Digital (5.1)

Dolby Digital is a form of digital audio coding which makes it possible to store and transmit high quality digital sound. This audio coding can be used for mono, stereo or multi-channel soundtracks. Dolby Digital 5.1 is a multi-channel system used by film producers to deliver five discrete (ie the signals for each channel are recorded independently), full range channels: front left, front right, front centre, left surround and right surround. The .1 refers to the Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel which is purely for bass and is therefore not full range.


Abbreviation for "Dots per Inch." Indicates the resolution of a printer, scanner, or monitor. Refers to the number of dots in a one-inch (approx. 25.4-mm) line.

Dynamic range

Dynamic range describes the ratio of the softest sound to the loudest sound in a musical instrument or piece of electronic equipment. This ratio is measured in decibels (abbreviated as dB) units. Dynamic range measurements are used in audio equipment to indicate a component's maximum output signal and to rate a system's noise floor. As a reference point, the dynamic range of human hearing, the difference between the softest sound we can perceive and the loudest, is about 120 dB. Compressors, expanders, and noise gates are processing devices that are used in audio to alter the dynamic range of a given signal. This is done to achieve a more consistent sound when recording or as a special effect (by radically altering the dynamics of a sound, thereby creating a sound not possible from the original source).

EP mode

Extended Play mode featured on a Panasonic DVD-RAM recorder. Can offer up to 12 hours of record time when used with a 4.7 gigabyte blank disc.


A PC interface used to connect computers and peripherals in a Local Area Network (LAN). Huge amounts of data can be transmitted quickly over ethernet cables — up to 10,000,000 bits-per-second is possible. The latest Panasonic Hard Disk Recorders feature ethernet connectors so that they can be incorporated in a LAN.


Popular interface standard for connecting PCs and peripheral devices. Allows 400-Mbps high-speed data transfer. "FireWire" is the name used by Apple Corporation and is identical to IEEE1394. It is also called "i.Link."


Hard Disk Drive. Although usually associated with computers, Panasonic's top-ranging DVD recorders also feature hard disks. Their enormous capacity can store huge amounts of video and images which can be archived or edited before transferring to a 'soft' disk such as a blank DVD-RAM or DVD-R.


HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface and offers an easy and convenient way of interconnecting digital audio-video components. With HDMI, digital signals are not compressed - transmission is direct. And because the signal stays in the digital domain, it is free from the degradation and noise that occurs with analogue signal transmission. HDMI is especially suitable for displays which use all-digital image processing (such as plasma screens, LCDs, etc), DVD-Audio, DVD-Video and other high-quality digital formats.


HDTV stands for High-Definition Television. This highest-resolution subset of Digital Television offers filmlike picture quality with impressive surround sound. With twice the vertical and horizontal picture resolution, the picture of HDTV is approximately twice as sharp as that of NTSC. HDTV has widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 and Dolby Digital sound system.

Interfaced scan

Advanced Audio Compression coding provides high quality compressed digital music files in the SD format

Leica Dicomar Lens

This advanced lens system actually incorporates 13 individual lenses, which are arranged in 9 groups and work together to deliver images of outstanding quality. Four lens surfaces on three aspherical lenses combine to render ultra-precise images with minimal chromatic aberration. A special multi-coating is applied to the critical parts of six lens surfaces on five lenses to minimise flaring, allowing uniformly high picture quality even under difficult shooting conditions.

Li-ion battery

Compact and high powered Lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack. These batteries can be charged at any time as they do not suffer from memory effect.

Lux level

A scale used to measure light intensity. All of our camcorders have a very low lux rating, meaning they can still be used in low light levels.

Mega pixel

Mega refers to over 1 Million. The more pixels there are the better the picture quality in video and still mode


Stands for Motion Picture Experts Group and represents a family of digital audio and video coding standards. It enables data compression of sound and movies so that they take up less capacity. This makes them easier to store and access over the web, a PC, a data card, etc. MPEG4 is the latest variant.


This is a standard established by the Moving Picture Experts Group for transmitting broadcast-quality images equivalent to S-VHS. It is one of the compression technologies used in DVD and digital television.


MPEG4 has a high compression ratio, which creates a small file size that's suitable for personal computer and Internet applications.

Multi Format Playback

Panasonic DVD players can play DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, DVD-RAM/R, CD, CD-R/RW, HighMAT (Level 2), WMA, MP3, JPEG and HDCD. A single unit lets you enjoy everything from movies to audio. Compatibility varies depending on the models

MultiMedia Card

A solid state storage device used to hold digital data.

ND Filter

Abbreviation for Neutral Density Filter. Attached to the front of the camera's lens, it reduces the amount of light entering the lens. When light levels are strong, such as when outdoors in sunshine, attaching an ND filter allows you to use both your maximum aperture and slower shutter speeds.


Developed by the BBC in the 1990s, NICAM is a TV sound encoding system. It enables the transmission of programmes in stereo and at 14-bit the sound quality is almost as good as CD. NICAM also allows for simultaneous multi-language broadcasts. To receive a broadcast with NICAM sound, your TV and/or VCR must be equipped with a NICAM decoder. And if you really want to know, it stands for Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex.


In the US and Japan, NTSC (National Standards Television Committee) is the standard used for all video equipment. NTSC uses 525 lines to make up a TV picture and scans at 60Hz. Unless otherwise specified, NTSC video equipment is only compatible with NTSC software and TV broadcasts.

Optical digital output

This allows you to connect the portable to a digital surround sound processor so that you can take advantage of a movie with a Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 soundtrack. A thin fibre optic cable is needed to connect the two.

Optical Image Stabiliser

The best Stabiliser system on the market, using two gyro sensors, operating 500 times per second, for detecting movement in both the horizontal and vertical axis. Image stabilizing is also possible even during fast zooming. As this is not a digital mode the picture is not affected by its use, allowing far superior picture quality.


PAL (Phase Alternation Line) has been developed by Walter Bruch at Telefunken/Germany in the mid of the 60's of the last century to minimize the colour reproduction errors of the NTSC televison system. Based on the idea that two consecutive television lines are very similar each second colour difference signal (red channel) can be shifted by 180° to have a recalculation of the colour in the televison set. By using this technique an occuring colour transmission error will be shifted to a smaller colour saturation error. PAL has been adopted by BBC2 and ARD/ZDF in 1967.

PC Card Adaptor

The PC Card Standard defines a 68-pin interface between the peripheral card and the socket into which it gets inserted. It defines three standard PC Card form factors, called Type I, Type II and Type III. All PC Cards measure the same length and width, differing only in thickness. Smaller cards can fit in larger sockets. In addition to electrical and physical specifications, the PC Card Standard defines a software architecture to provide "plug and play" capability across the widest range of products. For Panasonic Products it is a device to allow a memory card to be plugged into a computer for the transfer of data.

PCM Digital Recording

Pulse Code Modulation. Analogue sounds are converted to a digital bitstream signal. 16 bit (48khz) PCM stereo recording allows record and playback with the same sound quality as DAT, which surpasses even CD. Also, in the 12 bit (32khz) mode audio dubbing is possible, utilising 2 stereo channels for the original sound track and 2 more for either narration or music.


Short for: PICture Element, Pixels are the tiny dots of information that make up a digital image. The more pixels there are on the camera's image sensor (CCD or CMOS) or display?s, the higher the image resolution will be. The higher the resolution, the clearer an enlarged print can be.

Progressive scan

Progressive scan is a method of displaying an image on a cathode ray tube like a standard television (not an LCD or plasma screen.) A progressive scan system displays the entire image once every sixtieth of a second. The true framerate is therefore 60 frames per second.

Quad-Density Pixel Distribution

Increases picture resolution by increasing the effective number of pixels on the screen by 1.5 times. Offsetting one CCD half a pixel horizontally and a whole pixel vertically fills in the gaps between the pixels from the other CCDs.

QuickTime-Motion JPEG

A format for recording moving pictures and audio. QuickTime is widely compatible, allowing easy playback of moving pictures and audio on either a Windows or Macintosh computer.

RAW format

A name for data read directly from the CCD, that has only been converted from analog to digital. Data output in this format is in its original state, i.e., it has not been processed internally by the digital camera.


Recording Company of America? RCA (or phono) is the standard way of connecting audio and video components. RCA leads and sockets are usually colour coded: red and white are used to denote the right and left channels respectively for audio components. A single yellow connector is for video equipment

Recording mode

Panasonic DVD recorders offer four different recording modes: EP (Extended Play), (LP) Long Play, SP (Standard Play) and XP (eXtra Play). Which you choose depends on the quality of recording you want: XP gives the best picture quality but only allows for around one hour of recording using a 4.7 gigabyte blank disc. EP compromises picture quality but can deliver around 12 hours record time.


Stands for red, green and blue. A video connector or lead which offers RGB output carries these primary colours separately for greater picture quality. Inferior scart leads may not offer RGB, so check before you buy one.


An enhanced version of the VHS video cassette system. The 'S' stands for Super and offers superior picture quality from video tapes - but you need a compatible VCR, tapes and socketry to take advantage of it.


A high quality video connection which offers better picture quality than standard RCA or composite connectors. S-Video cables have round, mini four-pin plugs and sockets.

S-Video Out

4 pin socket used to carry high quality video signals. Luminance and Chrominance signals are carried separately to optimise picture quality.

SD memory card

Next generation of MultiMedia card, standing for "Secure Digital". It is a solid state storage device for still images, video footage and music. Data can be encoded to protect copyright material. More than 520 companies worldwide support the SD standard. It is increasingly popular as a "bridge media" that lets different types of devices share data.


The French broadcast system. Sequential Coleur A Memoire uses 625 lines scanned at 50Hz

Smart Accessory Shoe

Port on the top of the camcorder, which allows the user to attach peripheral equipment. The port has connections that allow the equipment to draw power and information from the camera.


Abbreviation for Standard RGB. sRGB is the international color space standard created by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). Performing all color adjustments in this color space minimizes color disparities from input and output data collected via PC peripheral devices, such as digital cameras, printers, and monitors.

Super Image Stabilizer

In recording situations where shaking is likely to happen i.e. when using zoom mode, filming from a vehicle or whilst walking, this function will stabilize the recording. (Also see Optical Image Stabilizer).


Abbreviation for Super Video Graphics Array. Resolution is 800 x 600 pixels. One of the standard PC display modes.


Abbreviation for Super eXtended Graphics Array. Resolution is 1280 x 1024 pixels. This resolution is a vertical and horizontal expansion of XGA (1024 x 768 pixels).


Universal Serial Bus. A connection port for transfering digital data. Fast data transfer speed of up to 12 Megabits per second.

USB 2.0

High-speed 480-Mbps data transfer interface. Approximately 40 times faster than USB1.1 (12 Mbps).

UV filter

A filter designed to cut UV (ultraviolet) light. Also used as a lens protection filter.


Abbreviation for Ultra eXtended Graphics Array. Resolution is 1600 x 1200 pixels. This resolution is a vertical and horizontal expansion of XGA (1024 x 768 pixels).

Variable Bit Rate

This data is compressed so that you can record more on a single disc. The Variable Bit Rate continuously controls the amount of compression for a more efficient recording.


Abbreviation for Video Graphics Array. A graphics system developed by IBM. Resolution is 640 x 480 pixels and uses 16 colors. Widely used as a standard for PC graphics systems.


Abbreviation for eXtended Graphics Array. Resolution is 1024 x 768 pixels. One of the standard PC data display modes.


Component Video signal the same as YUV where Y = luminance Pb = blue minus luminance and Pr = red minus luminance.


A modified form of the component RGB video signal. The black and white (luminance) part of the signal is removed from the red and blue and added to the green. This gives greater detail to the picture, as the human eye perceives detail in green better than red or blue


Allows the user to get a close up image of far away subjects. In the optical range the image is magnified by the lens. In the digital range the image is enlarged electronically