Active Subwoofer - A dedicated bass speaker that has it's own power supply and produces low frequency bass sounds to allow a richer more faithful representation of a movie soundtrack, perfect for movies encoded in Dolby Pro-Logic & Dolby Digital 5.1

Amplifier - A component that boosts audio signals in your hi-fi setup.

AV - An acronym for Audio/Visual

Centre Speaker - A speaker in a home theatre setup that handles the dialog in a movie.

Chaptering/Scene Access - Almost 99% of DVD's have a feature called chapters. Basically it's like a bookmark in a book. Various parts of the movie are chaptered for quick viewing and saves the hassle of fast forwarding & rewinding to your favourite scene like with VHS.

Dolby Stereo - High end cinema surround system that was and in some case is still used in cinemas.

Dolby Surround - A home version of the Dolby Stereo sound system.

Dolby Pro-Logic - A modified & enhanced version of Dolby Surround with a separate channel for speech.

Dolby Digital -  A 5.1 channel surround standard that surpasses Dolby Pro-Logic. The system features separated stereo speakers for the surround speakers and a dedicated .1 subwoofer channel.

DTS (Digital Theatre Systems) - Rival sound system to Dolby Digital that is yet another 5.1 channel sound format. DTS uses much less compression than Dolby Digital and supposedly sounds a lot more clear and louder than Dolby Digital, although I cannot really tell the difference. Because DTS uses very little compression, it is usually the only sound format on a disc apart from standard 2 channel PCM sound and requires a receiver that can decode DTS digital streams.

DVD - New video format that has unsurpassed digital picture & sound all packed onto a CD sized disc, sometimes referred to as Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc

DVD Formats - DVD's are mastered in several different formats depending on length of the movie and it's extras and video and audio quality. DVD's will be created in one of these formats.

  • DVD-5: A Single Sided, Single Layer disc that can hold up to 133 minutes of video on one side.

  • DVD-9: A Single Sided, Dual Layered disc that can hold up to 240 mins of video.

  • DVD-14: A Dual Sided, Single Layered disc that can hold up to 270 mins of video.

  • DVD-16: A Dual Sided disc that is Dual Layered in one side and Single layered on the other. This format can hold up to 375 minutes of video on this format disc.

  • DVD-18: The grand-daddy of all DVD formats. DVD-18 is a Dual Sided, Dual Layered disc that can hold up to 480 minutes of video.

Easter Eggs - Everyone loves these. An Easter egg is a hidden feature on a DVD that are sometimes put there by the DVD producers as an extra surprise for consumers. 

Front Speakers - 2 stereo speakers that deliver stereo sound effects and music in your movie.

Laserdisc - Video format that has an analog picture and digital sound all on a disc the size of an old record, has since been replaced by DVD.

NTSC - A broadcast system that has less lines to make up the picture than PAL & is generally used in the U.S. & Japan.

PAL - A broadcast format that used by such countries as Australia & England and uses more lines to make up the picture than the NTSC system, PAL also runs about 4% faster than NTSC.

Parental Lock - An option on DVD players so that parents can lock the playback of movies that exceed a certain classification, eg: If a player is set to PG and an R rated movie is put in the player, it will not play back.

Rear Speakers - 2 speakers that handle the surround effects in a movie.

Region Codes - The world is separated into several different zones for copyright reasons for studios as movies are released at different times around the world. Those regions are:

  • Region 1: Canada, U.S., U.S. Territories.
  • Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East.
  • Region 3: Southeast Asia, East Asia (including Hong Kong).
  • Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central. America, South America.
  • Region 5: Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa.
  • Region 6: China.

Subtitles - An encoded stream of text that can be turned on and off at will. Up to 32 different subtitles can be encoded in different languages or formats for people who can not understand or hear the on-screen dialog.

THX - Although sometimes thought of as a sound standard all it's own THX is not. it is actually an advanced processing system running in conjunction with an existing sound format like Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS. Created by LucasFilm Ltd and used in many movie theatres and home theatre systems around the world, some movies are also mixed in a THX theatre for extra clarity.