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Glossary of Terms



AC power outlet
It is the power source configured through the SETUP MENU to provide for switched or unswitched AC capabilities. Due to possible voltage surges, it should be left in the unswitched mode.

AC Control - aka Control (NAC), National Access Services (NAS)
The national controller that controls the addressable set-top National Access boxes, digital headend equipment, BSIDS, and Tag/Tiers.

access & control (AC)
Includes all functions required to protect the access to both digital and analog signals, to encrypt the digital signals, and to entitle them to subscribers individually or in groups. It includes tagging individual program services, virtual channel mapping, all other features which are not video and audio program or low speed data related, text services, and Program Guides. Also includes the procedures that control access to programming services, including key delivery, privilege (tier) management, and parameter authentication.

access and control interface (ACI)
A data collector component that handles communication between the HMS and the HITS Operating System.

addressable set-top box
The device in the customer's home that receives the commands sent from the cable office and converts the compressed digital signals to analog video and audio.

A unit of electric current strength, equal to a flow of one coulomb per second. See COULOMB.

A device used to increase the power or amplitude of an electrical signal. Amplifiers are spaced at regular intervals throughout a cable system to restore the amplitude of television signals which are attenuated as they pass through the cable network.

The physical quantities that vary to produce varying degrees of loudness in a voice signal. The size or magnitude of a voltage or current wave form; the strength of a signal. See FREQUENCY.

A continuously varying signal. Analog signals have an unlimited number of possible values ranging from very soft to very loud (amplitude), and at the same time, from very high pitch to very low tones (frequency). Electrical signals are used to produce analog signals to carry voice and video information and are distinguished one from the other in terms of their frequency. These continuously varying voltages make up an analog voice or video signal. Contrast with DIGITAL.

analog corruption
Signal interference that shows up on the TV screen as ghost images, snow, and lines in the picture. See DIGITAL CORRUPTION.

analog descrambler
Descrambles the analog signal and sends it to the modulator.

ANI (Automatic Number Identification)
An automated interface to the BS/SMS that enables the customer to call into a pre-determined phone number, and order PPV events. Based on the caller's phone number, ANI links the caller's account and the addressable set-top box to the authorization of the event.

American National Standards Institute. A nonprofit, independent organization established in 1918 for establishing nationally (USA) coordinated voluntary safety, engineering, and industrial standards. Members include industrial firms, trade organizations, technical societies, labor and customer organizations, and government agencies. They represent the USA to ISO and they defined ASCII.

@Home Network
Fast Internet access over the cable company's network.

The difference between transmitted and received power resulting from loss through equipment, transmission lines, or other devices; usually expressed in decibels.

audio loop-thru
An audio connection that would allow the audio signal to be passed through a particular piece of equipment.

autho code
The numeric value assigned to a service or event. Also known as Controller Event ID.

Decodes authorization information from the OOB receiver and allows the analog descrambler to operate.

authorization code
A code, made up of a user's identification and password, used to prevent unauthorized access to data and system facilities.

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(1) The range of usable frequencies that a cable television system can carry. (2) A measure of the information-carrying capacity of a communication channel. The bandwidth corresponds to the difference between the lowest and highest frequency signal that can be carried by the channel. (3) The speed (bit rate or velocity) at which data can be transferred and presented. A voice transmission by telephone requires a bandwidth of 3 kHz. An NTSC TV channel occupies a bandwidth of 6 MHz. A cable system bandwidth may occupy from 5 to 550 MHz on the electromagnetic spectrum.

bandwidth capacity
The maximum number of channels fitting onto one band at one time.

The RCA jacks, for example, for audio/visual ins and outs. The band of frequencies occupied by the signal in a carrier wire or radio transmission system before it modulates the carrier frequency to form the transmitted line or radio signal.

baseband RCA jack
On the DCT, they are used for audio and video connections from the DCT to a video monitor, stereo or VCR. It provides signal output to the TV.

billing system
A vendor that provides account management and billing services to cable offices. The term also applies to the computer program that manages customer records and provides the functional interface between the office staff, customer accounts, and controller.

blink back
Allows the user to determine the 3-digit device code to program the universal remote. Using the numbers 1-3, count the number of times the device indicator light blinks as each number (1,2,3) is separately pressed. This is the 3-digit device code needed to program the remote to operate that piece of equipment.

BSID (Billing System Identification)
The numeric value assigned to a service or event. Also known as an Autho Code or Controller Event ID. The software application shared by the billing system and interface controller.

A function button of the DCT that allows signals to bypass the DCT so cable-ready features of TVs and VCRs can be used. This feature is similar to a VCR/TV button, and lights up when this mode has been selected. An LED lights up when radio frequency (RF) is bypassed.

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C6U Commander-6 Up-Converter.
Provides frequency translation of the TV-IF output signal from the IRT to a selected broadband carrier on the distribution plant.

cable in
On the DCT, an F-type connector used for the coaxial cable input port.

Community antenna TV

A frequency band assigned by the FCC for AM, FM or TV transmission. Each station is permitted to operate on one and only one channel. Channels are assigned geographically to minimize interference between stations. Cable channels occupy a spectrum of 6 MHz each.

A function button of the DCT which changes the channel up or down.

channel authorization
The authorization for the addressable set-top box to display that addressable channel/service.

channel display
An LED on the DCT that displays the current channel; or in the diagnostics mode, it displays diagnostics codes.

channel map
The association between tuned and displayed channels. A list of frequencies corresponding to channel designations.

coaxial cable
A cable consisting of a conducting outer metal tube insulated from a central conducting core, used for transmission of electronic signals.

code search
A manual search for the proper "device code" to program the universal remote.

cold install
Set top install command that resets the user processor. Clears all memory (all data and all code). Re-downloads application software, resends all box parameters.

The capability to install a set top that is not pre-authorized.


A screen available through the DCT that shows how the system was set up, such as the model number of DCT, input and output numbers, etc.

code download
The version of the DCT Terminal Operating Software (DENA) provided by HITS over the out of band national feed. Can be downloaded to any DCT that is properly installed on a digital cable system. Included in this download process are Terminal Operating Software patches and extensions and the Prevue Application, if it is authorized on that DCT. Initially, this will be supported in the IN STALL_COLD command. This process is destructive to memory, and should not be considered a part of normal troubleshooting processes.

conditional poll
Poll that includes an additional preamble stipulating the set top is to respond only if the indicated state of purchases are greater than 0.

controller event ID
The numeric value assigned by the controller for a service or event. Also known as BSID or Autho Code.

Customer Premises Equipment

CPE installation
The required form used to draw the specific wiring diagram strategy for each customer installation.

Customer Satisfaction Specialist/Customer Service and Sales Representative.

Function buttons of the DCT that allow the customer to move the cursor up or down, left or right, through the options on the MENU screen. Also: Used as a verb, means to use the left, right, up or down arrows on a device to move the cursor on the screen to another position.

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Information suitable for processing.

data collection
Functionality in the HMS that receives, stores, and retransmits subscriber purchase information to the collection control center at the NDTC.

data stream
The constantly-flowing stream of data that contains headend and set-top box commands, guide data, and authorizations.

DCT (Digital Consumer Terminal (GI))
A General Instrument consumer device that receives compressed, encrypted digital signals and control data, then decompresses, decrypts, and converts incoming signals to analog output to the customer's television.

The DCT also responds to commands, transmits data upstream, stores and reports purchase data, and enables the customer to select programs to view and define user features and functions.

Data Collector Graphical User Interface (DC GUI)
Handles all user interaction on the DC, including HMS functionality.


Decibel referenced to a milliwatt. See WATT.

Decibels referenced to a millivolt. Expression of signal amplitude. It is the ratio of the signal power in a 75 ohm system to a reference power when one millivolt is across 75 ohms. See VOLT.

Direct Broadcast Satellite

Direct current

DCT Digital Consumer Terminal.
A device that receives analog signals, receives digital signals and converts them to analog, and transmits analog signals to the TV.

A unit that expresses the ratio of two power levels on a logarithmic scale.

The source that receives a digital message and translates it back into an analog message. Converts scrambled TV signal into a viewable picture. Also known as "descrambler" and decryptor. See ENCODER.

To restore a set of compressed information to its original state.

The process of unscrambling an encrypted signal back into its original format.

A separation. For example, the separation point (demarcation) between the telephone company's network and a customer's premise wiring.

A device that demodulates a modulated wave back into its original state. In CATV systems, a television demodulator derives a baseband video signal from the modulated RF carrier. See BTSC DEMOD.

The reverse of multiplexing. The process of recovering many channels from one high-speed signal into which the channels were previously combined. See MULTIPLEXING.

An electronic circuit that restores a scrambled video signal to its standard form.

device codes
Three-digit manufacturer's codes used to program a universal remote to operate other devices, such as another TV, VCR, or a digital audio tuner.

Takes the continuously varying physical quantities of analog (amplitude and frequency) and represents those varying quantities with codes consisting of 1s and 0s. This puts the signal into "discrete" (separate and distinct) levels and not "continuously varying" levels.

digital compression
Reducing the storage space and/or transmission data rate necessary to store or transmit information represented in a digital format. Common digital compression methods include the suppression of long strings of "1s" or "0s", delta transmission (that is, only sending information about the difference between signal sampled at two successive periods of time), and, for video applications, matching the characteristics of picture quality to the limitations of the human eye.

digital corruption
Signal interference that shows up on the TV screen in the form of tiling or the picture may be lost entirely resulting in no picture or a black screen. See ANALOG CORRUPTION.

digital equipment
The agreement between the Cable TV company and user agreement the customer that states equipment was delivered to and installed for the customer. The customer must sign it, thereby agreeing that they understand: they are renting the set top converter (DCT), they have been educated about the appropriate use of the equipment, and they are liable for loss of or damage to the equipment.

digital to analog
Mechanical or electronic device used to convert converter discrete digital numbers to continuous analog signals.

digital video
This is a method of reducing the amount of compression information that must be transmitted when sending a full-motion video signal from one location to another or when storing video.

Direct TV
Direct broadcast satellite system developed by Hughes Communications, RCA, and USSB.


Digital Music Express

A digital signal sent down from a satellite in orbit to an earth station source, i.e., the NDTC. The opposite of uplink, which goes from earth to orbit.

D-Station Wire
Typical house wiring.

Data terminal equipment. See POLLING.

dynamic dispatch
A process where orders are set up in a "first-in, first-out" or "on-demand" dispatch. This means technicians/installers are sent out shortly after installation and/or service is requested and assigned based on who is closest to the location. Customer waiting time is decreased to same-day service.

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In cable television, unwanted leakage of signals from a cable system. Contrast with INGRESS.

electronic program guide (EPG)
An on-screen navigational guide to facilitate selection of programming choices. It is a Non-PPV service that includes Data channel that uses dl_service_code_app for downloading applications.

EMM Data
Entitlement Management Message. A message containing a security key needed for enabling decryption of a service. The access controller inserts these messages into the EMM Data stream.

The source that changes the analog message into digital code and sends it. See DECODER.

Encryption is also a process intended to ensure the security of message or television transmissions. In the DigiCipher II system, this is the digital process of encrypting the packet payload through the DigiCipher II encoded signal (DES). Note that encryption is not the same as scrambling.

encryption key
Key used to encrypt and decrypt data.

enhanced PPV
PPV programming with 30-minute start times.

1. A popular local area data communications network, originally developed by Xerox Corp., which accepts transmission from computers and terminals. Ethernet operates on 10 Mbps baseband transmission over shielded coaxial cable or over shielded twisted pair telephone wire. 2. A CSMA/CD network system that uses coaxial cable; developed by Xerox and popularized by DEC. NOTE: 10Base-T is the IEEE standard for twisted-pair Ethernet cable and uses telephone wiring and standard RJ-45 connectors. It is wired in a star configuration and requires a hub.

event ID
The billing system numeric value assigned to an event.

A function button on the universal remote that when pressed, will return the viewer to watching TV.

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Frequently Asked Question

Favorite Channel Selection. The storing of selected channels in the memory of the channel-selector. Can be customized to the viewing habits of a subscriber, allowing for "channel-surfing" of only selected "favorite" channels.

Federal Communications Commission

Forward Error Correction

Software stored in read-only memory (ROM). Also known as microcode.

The physical quantities that vary to produce varying degrees of tone and pitch in a voice signal. The number of times an electromagnetic wave repeats an identical cycle in a unit of time (usually one second). One Hertz (Hz) is one cycle per second. A kHz (kilohertz) is one thousand cycles per second; a MHz (Megahertz) is one million cycles per second; a GHz (Gigahertz) is one billion cycles per second. See AMPLITUDE.

front end processor
A computer that handles communications processing for a mainframe. It connects to the communications lines on one end and the mainframe on the other. It transmits and receives messages, assembles and disassembles packets and detects and corrects errors. It is sometimes synonymous with a communications controller, although the latter is usually not as flexible.

fulfillment center
A location where one or more persons dispatch work orders and control/monitor technicians. Each fulfillment center services a geographical area divided into a set of plant management offices (optional) and schedule areas (required). Each schedule area contains multiple service locations and is managed by a single fulfillment center. Each service location belongs to a single schedule area.

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A weak image of the received picture, offset either to the left or right of the primary image, which is the result of transmission conditions that create secondary signals which are received earlier or later than the primary signal. A ghost displaced to the left of the primary image is designated as "leading," and one displaced to the right is designated as "lagging." When the tonal variations of the ghost are the same as the primary image, it is designated as "positive"; when it is the reverse, it is designated as "negative."

A function button of the DCT which displays the programming guide.

Graphical User Interface

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A headend is a facility that contains sending and satellite receivers, has antennas which receive signals from local TV studios, and sometimes has TV studios inside the facility which produce shows and send the signals to other locations by satellite or antenna. When a headend facility receives signals from a satellite, it retransmits the signals (analog and digital) at frequencies the cable plant can use.

Headend In The Sky
It is a HITS business venture to provide services through digital compression. Digitally compressed video and audio are uplinked from the NDTC to one or more satellites and downlinked to cable television headends at various locations.

headend management
Component supplied to HITS affiliate's cable systems station (HMS) for configuring and monitoring Headend Devices. HMS communicates with Headend Devices using RPC, Bootp, and Telnet.

The unit for measuring the frequency with which an alternating electromagnetic signal cycles through the zero-value state between lowest and highest states. One Hertz (abbreviated Hz) equals one cycle per second. Frequency measurement in Hertz is employed to define the bands of the electromagnetic spectrum that are used in voice and data communications, or to define the bandwidth capacity of a transmission medium.

Hybrid Fiber Coax

For digital, sends out Entitlement Management Messages [EMMs] which authorize the set top for specified services. For example, used when a subscriber's set top was temporarily disconnected from cable and/or when only wanting to refresh what is allowed to be watched on the set top.

Headend In The Sky

HMS (Headend Management Station)
The device located in the local headend to service the headend equipment and collect purchases and diagnostic data. Since the HMS collects IPPV data, it has also been referred to as the data collector (DC).

A non-specific, generic term for a command sent to an addressable device, i.e., IRT, DCT, or an analog addressable set-top box.

A refresh is a non-volatile set-top command that refreshes the data the set-top box should already have, without erasing or clearing the box memory. A refresh is a command that:
Refreshes the set-top box active/inactive status
Refreshes all service/event authorizations that are current in the billing system database.

Initialize Analog
The most destructive command sent to an analog set-top box. The Initialize Command clears all services, personal identification numbers (PINS), and customer defined settings, e.g., favorite channels.

On an analog set-top box, an initialization will cause the set-top box to drop from the currently viewed channel to channel 2.

A non-volatile command that sets authorizations, features, services, and channel map without erasing or clearing and DCT memory or restarting the DCT. On a digital set-top box, the command takes up to five seconds and is invisible to the customer.

Warm Initialize Command
The Warm Initalize command, also called a Warm/Install, restarts the DCT processor, clears the DRAM, and erases the program guide data, but does not erase or change the user-defined parameters. In addition to deleting the schedule data, the Warm Initialize command re-loads:
All services except PPV are available in approximately five to fifteen seconds. The command turns off the digital set-top box. Schedule data is available in approximately five minutes.

Lukewarm Initialize Command
The Lukewarm Initialize command restarts the DCT processor, clears DRAM and SRAM, clears the program guide data, and erases user-defined parameters. Primarily used when cycling a DCT through the warehouse to a new customer. A set-top command that clears:

Cold Initialize Command
Also called a "Cold Install." A very volatile command that restarts the box processor and clears DRAM and SRAM. A Cold Initialize command erases all firmware code and restarts the box with the code version stored in the box ROM. The Cold Initialize command erases all user-defined parameters. Primarily used for the initial burn-in of a new DCT. A set-top command that loads:

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Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. An international professional society that issues its own standards and is a member of ANSI and ISO.

impulse pay-per-view (IPPV)
A pay-per-view ordering mechanism whereby subscribers place orders directly into cable converters via universal remote control. Events are immediately authorized for viewing.

(1) A button on the universal remote that, when pressed, will show a description of the highlighted program. (2) A function button of the DCT that displays the current channel and programming information.

in care of address
The same as the first or lowest decrypt TSODA address. Upon receipt of a new IRT, the IRT address is determined by the address of the first decrypt TSODA. (When a satellite signal comes in, it hits this first decrypt TSODA, includes new insertion queue information, goes to encryption and goes to cable.)

The unwanted leakage of interfering signals into a cable television system. Contrast with EGRESS.

A shared boundary between elements in a system defined by common physical interconnection characteristics or signal characteristics.

A worldwide system of interconnected networks, originally supporting the non-profit data communications needs of government, education, and research institutions. More recently, for-profit commercial applications are increasingly using Internet resources.

The process by which digital headend network elements obtain configuration information and operating parameters at power up. This confirms that all indicators and constants are set to prescribed conditions. Data is loaded into a new set top terminal to customize its operation for use by a customer in a particular cable system. Typically, during this process the controller sends reset and initialize commands along with configuration and terminal control bytes.

insertion queues
IRT queue for replacing satellite messages with cable information (e.g., defining the insert for a service map to tell the system that HBO is on service 3 and on PID 105).



IR Blaster
A transmitter used to transfer data via infrared to a peripheral device, such as a transmission from a hand-held wireless remote control to a television or converter.

IR Blaster Jack
A socket in the DCT used for: High Power Data Jack to be used for DMX DJ remote and Low Power Data Jack to be used for one-touch VCR programming.

International Standards Organization. An international organization for promoting the development of standards for computers.

IRT/ IRT1000
Integrated Receiver Transcoder

IRT (integrated receiver transcoder)
A device in a digital headend that receives digital signals (program and data), decrypts those signals, re-encrypts the signal, and passes them through to the cable plant for delivery to customers.

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A socket that accepts a plug at one end and attaches to electrical circuitry at the other.

A unit of electrical energy equal to the work done when a current of 1 ampere is passed through a resistance of 1 ohm for 1 second. See AMPERE and OHM.

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The band of microwave frequencies used for satellite uplink (12 to 18 GHz) and downlink (11.7 to 12.2 GHz). Satellite dishes for Ku-band reception are much smaller than dishes used for C-band reception.

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RF frequency band from 950 - 1550 MHz.(LNB output)

Local area network

A function button on the universal remote that when pressed, will return to the previous screen or channel.

Liquid Crystal Display

Light Emitting Diode. Visual channel display found on the face of most cable TV converters.

Low Noise Amplifier

Low Noise Block Down Converter

A button on the universal remote that when pressed while watching TV, or while in a listings menu, will restrict viewing of the currently tuned or highlighted program.

lukewarm install
HITS_OC GUI option that resets the user processor. Clears all data in memory. Resends all box parameters.

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Address Media Access Control address. A proprietary address used for upstream/downstream communications. This is the lower sublayer of the Data Link layer in the OSI model and is used to describe the mechanisms used to arbitrate access to a shared medium.

Metropolitan area network provider.

Multi Cast Address

MegaHertz (MHz)
A unit of frequency equal to one million cycles per second.

A textual list of choices shown on-screen to facilitate navigation/interaction with video and audio services. An integral part of EPG.

An LED on the DCT that lights up when a message is waiting for the customer.

One thousandth.

(1) Modulator/demodulator. (2) A device that converts data from one form into another, such as from one usable in data processing to one usable in telephonic or RF transmission. See MODULATION.

The process by which original information can be translated and transferred from one medium to another. Information originally carried as a variation in a particular property (such as amplitude) of one process is transferred and carried as a corresponding variation in some possible different property (such as duration) of the new process.

Modulates the signal for output on channel 3 or 4. See MODEM.

Motion Picture Expert Group. The organization within the International Standards Organization (ISO) that produces standards for the transmission of digital [NOTE: what? images? data? Need a noun here.]. Formed in 1988 to establish an international standard for the coded representation of moving pictures and associated audio stored in digital storage format. A body of the ISO/IEC. An international standards setting group working to develop standards for compressed full-motion video, still image, audio, and other associated information in digital systems.

Compressed digital video/audio stream at one-fourth broadcast quality, or 352 x 240 pixels. MPEG-1 is typically compressed at 1.5 Ms[NOTE:shouldn't this be Mbps, not Mbs? See the entry below which mentions compression at 5 MB, a measurement of memory capacity. Only one of these is right…Please fix both.].

An advanced compression standard for digital audio and video encoding established by the Motion Picture Experts Group. The international standard (ISO/IEC 13818) for delivering compressed digital video. MPEG-2 is broadcast quality at 704 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second (fps) in North America and 704 x 576 pixels at 25 fps in Europe. MPEG-2 is typically compressed at higher than 5 MB and is intended for higher-quality broadcast uses.

Initially targeted for HDTV applications with sampling dimensions up to 1920 x 1080 x 30 Hz and coded bitrates between 20 and 40 Mbps. Initiative was abandoned when it was determined that MPEG-1and MPEG-2 syntax could meet HDTV rate video requirements.

An initiative, begun in September 1993, for very low bitrate coding of audiovisual programs. The MPEG-4 standard targets the Very Low Bitrate applications with sampling dimensions up to 176 x 144 x 10 Hz and coded bit rates between 4800 and 64,000 bps. This new standard could be used for low bit rate videophones over analog telephone lines.

MPEG Transport Stream

multi cast address
The MCA value is an address given to a DCT that identifies where it is located on the network. It is typically associated with a particular headend in a cable system.

This is a transmission technique that allows several signals to share a common transmission media. Specifically, (1) In cable television, counter-programming premium services by running their programming on different time schedules on more than one channel. (2) In data transmission, a function that permits two or more data sources to share a common transmission medium so that each data source has its own channel. The division of a transmission facility into two or more channels either by splitting the frequency bands, each of which is used to constitute a distinct channel (frequency-division multiplexing) or by allotting this common channel to several different information channels, one at a time (time-division multiplexing). See DEMULTIPLEX.

Standard Audio Compression Algorithm

Scrambles video and audio information on a user-selected modulating video analog addressable channel in a cable TV system. The processor scrambled signal contains information that allows only authorized converters to descramble and view the channel.

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National Access Control (NAC)
The national controller that controls the addressable set-top boxes, digital headend equipment, BSIDs, and Tag/Tiers.

National Digital Television Center (NDTC)
The NDTC is located in Denver. It receives programming, digitizes and compresses it, and then uplinks it via satellite for further transmission. The NDTC also has studios for origination of cable programming.

Guides the viewer through the operation of the DCT, programming, and viewer services.

National Cable Television Association (NCTA)
The major trade association for the cable TV industry.

network interface unit (NIU)
A unit on a network designed to provide an interface between the network and the customer's premises. These units are typically used in telephone and data networks and perform various functions based on the service being delivered.

National Television Systems(Standards) Committee(NTSC)
A committee formed in the late 1940s that produced the recommendations for color adopted by the FCC in 1953. Often NTSC refers to the standard itself.

[Missing term]
The industry standard video television signal used in North America, Japan, and other countries. Provides 525 interlaced lines scanned a horizontal rate of 15,734 Hz and a vertical field rate of 59.94 Hz. The color sub carrier of 3.58 MHz contains hue and amplitude (saturation) information. Contrast with PAL and SECAM systems.

A branching or exchange point in the network where light is converted to electrical energy. Small geographic area within a franchise tax area. This area can be a neighborhood, subdivision, etc., that is part of a fiber node. A node generally includes approximately 600 service locations.

non-responding box
A set-top box that fails to respond to conditional and unconditional poll commands.

Near Video On Demand. A video technology allowing a consumer to purchase an event within 15 minutes of its scheduled starting time.

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A measure of the electrical resistance of a circuit. If the resistance of a circuit is one ohm, one ampere of electrical current will flow through the circuit when a potential difference of one volt is impressed across it.

OM1000 (OBM)
A device in a digital headend that receives control data from out-of-band the primary IRT and modulates it to a carrier frequency that modulator is used to deliver the control data to the digital set-top box.


On-Screen Display

optical transition node (OTN)
An environmentally-controlled enclosure containing an optical receiver and transmitter. A fiber-optic repeater.

optical transmitter
An electronic device that converts electrical energy to light.

out-of-band signal
Signaling that is separated from the channel carrying the information, for example, voice, data or video. The signaling includes dialing and other supervisory signals. Typically, the separation is accomplished through a filter. Also referred to as Out-Of-Band Data Stream.

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A collection of contiguous bits of data. Each packet has a header that defines the attributes of the information in the packet. DigiCipher II packet format follows the MPEG format of a 188 byte data structure consisting of a short header field followed by a longer data (payload) field. Also called transport packet, as opposed to "PES packet."

parental control
A feature of the DCT that allows a customer to lock-out of a selected service or specified channels, to control by cost, to lock-out based on rating, or to control by time.

Usage-based fee structure in which the user is charged a price for individual programs requested. See also IMPULSE PAY-PER-VIEW and ENHANCED PAY-PER-VIEW.

people link
Local phone service and long distance access over the cable network.

personal identification number (PIN)
Registers within the digital set top. Defined for tasks such as Purchase PIN and Parental Control PIN.

The act of instigating a return message from a set top. Used to tell a pollable set top to call the data collector.

Poll command
A command to the DCT to call the local HMS to report purchase and/or diagnostic information.

Conditional Poll Command
An automated command sent to the DCT telling it to call in and report purchase data.

Immediate Poll Command
A manually-activated command that causes the DCT to report purchase or diagnostic data immediately to the HMS. An immediate poll command also forces the HMS to transfer all of its presently-stored purchase data to HITS.

Unconditional Poll Command
An automated command sent to the DCT telling it to call in no matter whether it has purchase data to report. The unconditional poll returns either purchase or diagnostic data.

polling cycle
A polling cycle includes conditional poll commands and unconditional poll commands that originate from HITS.

The method used on a multi-drop communications line operating from a Front End Processor to multiple cluster controllers which keeps more than one from transmitting at the same time. Operates with a roll call, then speak, but only when asked. A method of operating a data network where the central site DTE sends "polling" messages to remote data stations (like a DCT) in rotation. The remote data stations recognize their addresses and respond to these polling messages.

polling upload
A request sent from the BS/SMS to HITS to transfer all of the DCT purchase and report-back data so the cable customer can be billed for their IPPV purchases and the cable system can receive reports.

A function button of the DCT which turns the power on and off. An LED lights up when the power is on.

power supply
As used in cable television systems, (1) a step-down AC transformer that supplies low-voltage AC (usually 60 volts) to operate amplifiers in the system, and (2) the module located in the amplifier housing that converts the low-voltage AC to regulated DC for actual operation of the electronic devices inside the housing.


Prevue Interactive
A program of convenient options offered in menu format on the TV screen. Some of the options include: Reminders, Parental Control and Favorite Channel.

prom address
The unique value assigned to each analog set-top box to enable computerized control of that device.

The agreed upon standard code with which to exchange information by the sender (encoder) and receiver (decoder).

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Quadrature Amplitude Modulation. Also see 64 and 256 QAM.

quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK)
A digital modulation method that combines two carriers that are 90 degrees out of phase (in quadrature), resulting in four possible phase states.

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radio frequency
An electronic electromagnetic signal above the audio and below the infrared frequencies.

Remote Access Server

Regional Bell Operating Company

A DCT function that will remind the viewer in advance of a selected program.

On the DCT, an LED flashes an error-free signal when aimed at by the universal remote to indicate the universal remote is in working order.

remote control
A hand-held, wireless device that allows the user to control and interact with a program and/or piece of equipment, such as a converter.

Ringer Equivalence Number

return path connection
On the DCT, it is for a phone line connection that is used to return customer billing information to the data collector.

Radio frequency

Interactive Prevue Reference Guide

ringer equivalence number (REN)
The number of ringing units that the telco phone line can support. Typically, it is a maximum of five ringing units.

RJ 11/14 Plug
A telephone outlet plug.

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A space vehicle which receives radio and television signals and retransmits them back to earth. It is located 22,300 miles above the earth in a geosynchronous orbit so that it is stationary relative to a fixed position on earth. One use of a communications satellite is the transmission of programming used by the cable industry. Also known as a "bird."

An electronic device usually located in the headend. Used to alter a signal so that it may not be viewed on a normal TV unless another electronic device (decoder- DCT) is attached to the subscriber's set to unscramble the picture.

A function button on the DCT which allows the customer to select options such as PPV and tunes channels from the Program Guide (Navigator).

serial number
The unique value assigned to each set top.

set-top commands
Commands sent from the BS/SMS through the controller to the set-top box. See Initialization.

A feature of the universal remote that allows viewers to change to Preview Interactive, Parental Control, Digital Terminal, Audio and Video settings.

signal leakage
Undesired emission of signals out of a CATV system. Usually through cracks in the cable, corrosion, or loose connections.

Signal lever meter

sleep timer
A programmable timer that can be set to automatically turn the DCT "on" or "off."

S/N or SNR
Signal-To-Noise Ratio

In telecommunications, a specified range of electromagnetic frequencies or, in some cases, the whole range of frequencies considered to constitute electromagnetic signals.

spectrum analyzer
A device used to measure, display, and analyze the amplitude versus frequency characteristics of an electromagnetic signal.

store and forward
A technique used to purchase services wherein the purchase data is stored in the subscriber terminal (DCT) and retrieved later by a polling device. The retrieved information is forwarded to a data collector which is linked to a billing service for bill generation.

sync (synchronize)
(1) To occur or cause to occur at the same time (2) To operate in unison (3) To cause to agree exactly in time or rate (4) To arrange so as to indicate parallel occurrence.

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The numeric value assigned to the service or event on the MVP or IRT that the set-top box looks for when it is tuned to a scrambled or encrypted channel. The tag/tier is required for the set-top box to descramble/decrypt the video and audio.

telco line connection
On the DCT, a separate phone line connection.

The transmission of a message from one point to another through a variety of media, including wire or through the air. See TRANSMISSION.

The use or operation of an apparatus for transmitting sounds between widely removed points with or without connecting wires.

A checked image (tiny shifting squares/tiles) on the TV screen indicating digital corruption. See ANALOG CORRUPTION.

The sending of a signal from a transmitter.

Any of various electrical devices used to originate signals.

A combination receiver and transmitter on a satellite that relays signals transmitted to it back to earth on a different frequency. For cable TV customers this means the number of channels available[is what? greater? This needs further explanation], which is directly related to the number of programming options. For example, a 3-transponder (or 3-pack) system has the space to accommodate 36 digital channels.

Transport Sync OSD (On Screen Display), DES (Data Encryption Standard) Audio, Encryption/Decryption chip. TCI's proprietary digital device for encrypting and decrypting services.

As the security element, the TSODA provides the encryption/decryption in all of the indicated devices. The TSODA function on the IRT is to encrypt and decrypt the packets-encrypt services on the satellite side and decrypt services on the cable side.

This security functionality exists on the encoder and key server as Encryption Engine Element (EEE), on the IRT as TSODA, and on the set top as Access Control Element (ACE). The hardware is the same in all places, but the firmware changes.

TSODA chips
Encryption chips, similar to the EEEs (but different firmware), inside the IRTs and DCTs (the IRT encrypts and the DCT decrypts).

Separates analog from digital signals.

TV pass card
A small plastic device resembling a 3.5" computer diskette for insertion in the DCT. The card is encoded to provide authorized access to programming services. Also a slot on the DCT for an A/B switch, which allows you to switch the power supply from one piece of equipment, A, to another, B.

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unit address
The DCT unique address that is linked to the GI number. HITS only accepts the unit address to control the DCT.

unit key
Unique key for each TSODA. Messages intended for a particular decoder are encrypted under this key. Each chip GI makes has a series of unit keys and they are put into their set tops. The UK being used is identified by the unit key number. The TSODA likely derives the unit key based upon the unit key supplied on the CD-ROM, the group rekey, and the unit key address.

universal remote control
A remote control that controls the functionality of a TV, converter or DCT, VCR and/or other related equipment.

Refers to the order in which equipment is connected: from the first piece of equipment, to the second, to the third, and so on. Any piece of equipment connected first is upstream to equipment that is connected next.

The transmission of a signal from its earth station source up to a satellite in orbit. The opposite of downlink, which goes from orbit to earth.

United States Satellite Broadcasting

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VC Number
Virtual Channel Number. The channel number on which the customer receives service. It is a reference number for the virtual channel map.

Videocassette recorder

Video home system

video band
The frequency band utilized to transmit a composite video signal (4.2 MHz).

video on demand (VOD)
Programming that offers movies and events to be viewed immediately after selection.

The unit of electric potential and electromotive force equal to the difference in potential needed to cause a current of one ampere to flow through a resistance of one ohm. See AMPERE and OHM.

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Wide area network

warm install
HITS_OC GUI option that resets the user processor. Clears all DRAM (application memory, e.g., EPG data). Resends all box parameters.

A unit of power equal to one joule per second. See JOULE.
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