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Black Box Explains
1080p — Described sometimes as “full HD,” has 1080 vertical lines of
progressive scan (hence the “p”) resolution in a 16:9 aspect widescreen and a 1920 x 1080
frame resolution; compare with 1080i, which is an interlaced screen format.
Artifact — In the AV world, it's any unwanted object, visual
distortion, or defect on a video screen.
Aspect ratio — The dimensions of a display screen's image expressed
as a ratio of the horizontal width to the vertical height.
Attenuation — The loss of signal strength as it flows through a
cable. Usually expressed in decibels (dB).
Authoring — The process of creating and integrating content from
various sources for the purpose of displaying on digital signage; often involves converting
and sizing images and other digital media.
AV distribution system — The chain of audio and video devices used
to distribute audio and video signals from the media player, PC, or other audio/video
source to the point of display.
AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) — A common older multimedia file
format in which both audio and video data are contained in a standard container.
Back projection — A technique in which video is projected from
behind a translucent screen fabric, rather than in front of a screen, to make better use
of available space, cast an unobstructed image, and prevent shadowing on the screen.
Balun — A device that connects a balanced line, such as twisted
pair, to an unbalanced line, such as coaxial cable.
Bandwidth — In video applications, the range of available
frequencies that can be encoded and decoded as well as the signal-carrying capacity in a
video path; measured in Hertz (Hz) or bits or bytes per second (bps/Bps).
Banner advertising — Promotional content formatted as a text crawl
or graphic that displays horizontally at the bottom or top of a digital signage screen; can
be content paid for by a sponsor or the signage operator's own promotional content.
Baseband — The frequency band occupied by the aggregate of the
signals used to modulate a carrier before they combine with the carrier in the modulation
Bevel — A three-dimensional, shadowing effect that gives the
illusion of depth to a graphic or text.
Bitmap — A digital image file format in which bits are spatially
mapped for the purpose of storing images (i.e. raster graphics image). Common bitmap
images include JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and GIF files.
Broadband — A technique for sending data, voice, and video traffic
over long distances by transmitting high-frequency signals over coax, UTP, and fiber optic
cables, or wireless.
Captive audience network — Strategically placed digital signage that
targets viewers whose activities force them to be in one place, often for a lengthy period
Chroma — Short for chrominance, the part of a video signal that
carries the color component (as opposed to luma, which carries the brightness).
Codec — A device or software that compresses and decompresses
(or codes and decodes) data to preserve disk space; certain codecs convert and store analog
video signals in a compressed digital file format.
Component video — An analog video signal in which the luminance and
chrominance is carried on three wires. Also known as Y-Pb-Pr in which Y carries the
luminance, Pb carries the difference between blue and luminance, and Pr carries the
difference between red and luminance. Provides better quality than Composite Video does.
Composite video — An analog video signal containing brightness,
color, and sync pulse information. Referred to also as CVBS (Color, Video, Blank and Sync),
it is used for NTSC, PAL, or SECAM video formats.
Content distribution (or management) server — A server or computer
used to store content for distribution to digital signage.
Content management software — For digital signage, it's a
collaborative application used to import and organize graphics, electronic documents, HTML,
audio, and other media from various sources into an integrated multimedia presentation.
Contrast ratio — A measure of a video display's luminosity specifying
the difference between the blackest of blacks and the whitest of whites.
Convergence — The integration of the three primary communications
channels (data, voice, and video) into one using the same network appliances, one standard
network infrastructure, and the same administration. This high-bandwidth,
combined-transmission method is known as Internet Protocol, or IP.
CPM — Acronym for cost per mille (Latin for thousand), it's a
metric and cost modeling unit used to estimate the effectiveness of digital signage
advertising. This advertising model describes the amount paid for every 1000 times an ad
is viewed and an impression is recorded. For example, if a digital media firm charges
$10,000 to run an ad on its screens and claims 200,000 impressions, it has a CPM of $50
($10,000 divided by 200).
Day parting — Scheduling the display of content or advertising for
specific times throughout the day.
Demographic — A segment of the population that is categorized based
on variables such as age, income, ownership, and mobility; creating profiles based on these
variables enables advertisers to understand the buying habits of a typical member of the
segment and, in turn, develop effective marketing strategies.
Display device — Any LCD, plasma screen, projector, CRT, or other
type of video screening equipment used to show content in a digital signage system.
DLP® — Acronym for Digital Light Processing; video projection
technology of Texas Instruments that uses chips embedded with microscopically small mirrors.
Each mirror represents a pixel to project jitter-free 1080p quality images.
DVI — Acronym for Digital Visual Interface (DVI), a connector interface
for video displays and/or graphics accelerators that uses transition-minimized differential
signaling (TMDS). Types of DVI connectors include:
• DVI-D, a digital-only connector;
• DVI-I, which supports both digital and analog RGB connections;
• DFP, another digital-only connector; being phased out;
• EVC (also known as P&D), similar to DVI-I only slightly larger in size; used
primarily on projectors.
Dwell time — The period of time when a display draws the attention
of an audience member.
Eye tracking — Intelligent camera sensor technology that detects
the viewing of a screen by a person; reflective light is used to determine when the
person's eyes turn in the direction of the screen; in some cases, the camera can recognize
the gender and age range of the person.
Flash — Adobe® software that is used to manipulate vector and
raster graphics, often for the purpose of adding animation to Web pages and multimedia
Frames per second (fps) — The speed at which still images (frames)
in a video or animation are played in succession by an imaging device; sometimes expressed
as hertz (Hz).
GIF — Acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a bitmap graphics
file format that uses pixels to form an image; with its limited size and color palette (256
distinct colors), the format is best for displaying solid color images, small animations,
and low-resolution video.
HDMI — Acronym for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, a digital
connector interface that combines uncompressed high-definition video, multichannel audio, and
intelligent format and command data in a single cable; with a bandwidth of up to 5 Gigabytes,
it supports all HDTV standards.
HDTV — Acronym for High-Definition Television, a display format for
digital TV transmissions that boasts twice the number of scanning lines per frame (60 fps)
than conventional Standard Definition TV (SDTV), as well as offering a much higher number
of pixels and a wider aspect ratio.
Impressions — How many times an audience member observes a digital
signage ad or presentation.
IPTV — Digital television service delivered via a broadband IP link
using data communications wiring.
JPEG — Acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group (the ISO and
ITU-T committee creating the JPEG standard); a compressed graphics file format created by
reducing and encoding still photo images for use on the Web or for uploading to a content
LCD — Acronym for liquid crystal display, a thin, flat-panel display
device containing liquid crystal solution between two transparent electrodes and two
polarizing filters; when electrically charged, the crystal molecules align in one direction
or another in front of a light source, forming a pixel-rich, composite image.
LED — Acronym for light emitting diode, a semiconductor diode that
emits light when an electric current passes through it; in digital signage applications,
clusters of red, green, and blue diodes are grouped together to form large panels, many of
which are suitable for outdoor use.
Loop — A digital signage video or multimedia presentation that
repeats at a standard interval for seamless continuous play.
Lower thirds — Tiers of graphics, crawls, banners, and overlaid
text on the bottom portion of a video screen; also called chyrons.
Luma — The part of the video signal (represented as “Y” in YUV
video) that carries the brightness as black, gray, and white information, as opposed to
chroma, which carries the color.
Luminance — The density or the brightness of RGB colors in a video
or projected image, adjustable to produce not only colors, but also blacks and whites of
Lumen — Abbreviated "lm," a unit of measuring light wavelengths
perceived by the human eye; in the AV industry, it's used to describe the brightness of a
Lux — A unit of measurement for light that takes into account its
intensity and its ability to light a certain size area.
.mov file — An Apple® QuickTime® digital video file format
that serves as a container file for digitally encoded media, including video, audio, and
subtitles, as well as reference data.
MPEG — A video or audio video encoding and compression format
created for using media on the Web and standardized by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG);
the three major formats:
• MPEG-1, the original video and audio compression format; used for the popular MP3
• MPEG-2, the compression format used for DVD video;
• MPEG-4, the format algorithms expanded for use in 3D and DivX® video,
low-bit-rate encoding, and digital rights management (for protecting media copyrights),
with MPEG-4 Part 10 supporting play on Blu-ray™ and HD DVD equipment.
Multicast — The distribution of media content to multiple sites at
the same time.
Narrowcast — The distribution of media content to a select group or
creating customized content that appeals to a select group.
NAS (Network-Attached Storage) — Storage that's accessible to a
network rather than one server. An NAS device is not a server. It only stores data and does
not provide services such as e-mail, authentication, or file management.
OLED — Acronym for organic light emitting diode, a flat-panel
display device containing thin layers of self-luminous organic compounds for high contrast,
low power consumption (no backlight is required), and a faster response time.
Pixel — Short for “picture element,” the smallest unit of data on
display screen; represents only one color at at time.
Pixel response time — The time it takes for a signal pixel in a
video display to switch from active to non-active, measured in milliseconds (ms).
Player — Any device (hardware or software) that distributes video
and audio content to a display.
Plasma burn — The permanent disfiguring of a plasma screen image
caused by the continuous display of a high-contrast object.
Plasma screen — A thin, flat-screen display device that contains an
inert mix of neon and xenon gases in cells beneath glass; when electrically charged, the
gases turn into plasma that emits ultraviolet photons that, in turn, excite phosphors on
the back of the cells, creating colored light.
PoP — Acronym for point of purchase. Retail marketing term for a
display or any advertising that targets customers near the cash register or the counter
where items are bought; also known as point of sale (PoS), but PoS often refers to the
equipment used to facilitate the retail transaction.
Portrait orientation — A screen rotated to the height of the display
is greater than the width; portrait orientation can often be more eye-catching than
horizontal or landscape orientation, which many more viewers identify with evermore
prevalent widescreen TVs.
Proof of play — A reporting mechanism in which logs are used to
show that an ad actually played back on a digital signage system; some advertisers now also
demand “proof of display,” verification that the ad was actually shown on the screens, as
well as third-party audited play logs.
QuickTime® — An Apple multimedia framework for digital media,
including movie clips, text, animation, music, panoramic and 360-degree virtual reality scenes,
and digital video.
Recency — Advertising that is effective because it is timely,
relevant to an audience, as opposed to the frequency of impressions; the theory behind why
PoP displays are thought to be highly effective; also based on an education psychology
theory that says information acquired last is remembered best.
Remote virtual media — A method of connecting remote media storage
devices such as hard drives, CD-ROM drives, etc. to a local system. Users at the local
system can access these systems, and read and write from them as if they were local.
Resolution — The clarity and detail of an image because of the
number of lines of pixels; measured in dots per inch (dpi), with the higher, the better,
or in MHz.
RGB — Short for red, green, blue, the three colors that are combined
to create a broad array of colors on a screen.
RSS — Acronym for Really Simple Syndication, Web feed technology
that automatically detects when content on one site is updated and through subscriber feeds
and aggregators, distributes it to another Web site or to a digital signage content player.
RTP — Acronym for Real-time Transport Protocol, a transport protocol
for formatting packets for transmitting video and audio over the Web.
RTSP — Acronym for Real Time Streaming Protocol, a standardized
protocol for the remote control of a streaming media server.
Saturation — The intensity, or the purity, of color present on a
Screen zoning — Dividing a digital signage into to regions
containing separate static or real-time content feeds, or a mix of both.
SMIL — Acronym for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, an
XML markup language used to define and synchronize video, audio, and other multimedia
elements in Web sites.
Streaming media — Video or other media compressed and delivered to
an audience on-demand or live without the need for a complete transfer of the original file.
Sunlight-readable displays — Panels with coatings and films that
reduce the amount of reflective light, making them ideal for digital signage in brightly
lit or even direct sunlight areas.
S-Video — Short for separate video, a video connection interface
that carries luminance (Y) and chrominance (C) signaling separately to prevent color
crosstalk and for improved image reproduction.
Synchronized ad — An advertisement that works as contextual
advertising, running next to editorial or “infotainment” content with similar subject
Template — A document or file that contains pre-formatted design
elements, enabling the customization of content and text to a specific digital signage
Third-party advertisers — Agencies used by digital signage operators
to coordinate the delivery and sales transactions of advertising content and campaigns from
merchants, companies, and media resellers.
Ticker — Horizontal text streamed across a screen often used to
deliver headlines, promotions, and up-to-date stock information to an audience.
TOSLINK™ — A fiber optic connection interface for the transfer
of digital audio signals.
VGA — Acronym for Video Graphics Array, an analog computer display
standard with a resolution of 640 x 480 and a 256-color palette; most VGA devices use the
HD15 connector; although analog, VGA video from a PC is used in many digital signage
applications by using VGA extenders and splitters.
Video wall — A wallmounted or frame-mounted checkerboard
configuration of multiple video screens showing different images or the same image spread
across multiple screens.
VOB — Acronym for Video Object file, a file containing MPEG2 content,
such as that of DVD.
Wait warping — Anything that helps shoppers or a captive audience
experience shorter perceived wait times; a selling point of digital signage to airports
and transportation hubs.
Xvid — A PC video codec used for the faster transmission of digital
data over a network.
YCbCr (or Y,Cb,Cr or Y'CbCr) — A set of video color spaces used to
encode RGB information for digital video as an interlaced scan-only Component video
connections; contains the luma or brightness (Y) component along with the blue and red
chroma (Cb and Cr) components.
YPbPr (also Y/Pb/Pr or Y,Pb,PR) — A set of video color spaces used
to encode RGB information for Progressive Scan capable Component video connections; the
analog version of YCbCr connection, contains the luma or brightness (Y) information along
with the difference between blue and luma (Pb) and the difference between red and luma (Pr).
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