Glossary A-C

A-C > D-F > G-K > L-O > P-R > S-Z

Access card:

A removable credit-card-sized plastic card included with each satellite receiver. The card identifies each individual receiver and provides PPV billing information each month to your program provider.


Additional Outlet (A/O):

Receivers other than the primary one can be connected to the dish allowing other televisions in the house to be on different programs than the one connected to the primary receiver. An A/O also refers to a convenience outlet where there is not another receiver and the television will show the same programs as the television connected to receiver.



A method of signal transmission in which information is relayed by continuously altering the wave form of the electromagnetic current. AM / FM radio, VHS VCR tapes, vinyl records and traditional land line telephones are examples of Analog communication.


Alternative Audio:

When a program offers more than one audio channel, customers can take advantage of that using the alternate audio feature on the satellite receiver system. There are two types of alternate audio programming: Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) and Multiple Audio Programs. SAP is a standard TV feature. Multiple Audio Programs deliver a set of audio selections with a specific program on each audio channel.


Audio/Video Jacks:

The A/V output jacks at the rear of a satellite receiver provide a superior picture and sound to your TV, VCR and Sound system. There are three jacks: one for the video, one for the right channel sound and one for the left channel sound. The audio jacks are necessary for the sound to be in stereo. Coaxial cable will not pass stereo sound to your television from the satellite receiver.



The side to side adjustment of a satellite dish from true north, along the horizon, to the DBS satellite, measured in degrees.



The complete range of frequencies over which a circuit or electronic system is allocated to function. Bandwidth is the range of frequencies, measured in hertz (Hz), that can pass over a given transmission channel. The bandwidth determines the rate at which information can be transmitted through the circuit.


Beam width:

Beam width, as used in RF transmission of an antenna pattern, is the angle between the half-power (3-dB) points of the main lobe when referenced to the peak effective radiated power of the main lobe. Note: Beam width is expressed in degrees related along the horizontal plane.



Bent-pipe is a signal relay scheme in which a terrestrial-based signal is sent to a satellite, which then relays the signal back to earth with minimal processing by the satellite.



Binary digit: The smallest unit of data in a digital system, with a value of either 0 or 1. A group of bits, such as 8-bits or 16-bits, compose a byte. The number of bits in a byte depends upon the processing system being used. Whenever you see a lowercase b associated with a number, it's likely to be a bit. It can be prefixed with kilo- (for 1,024 bits, or 2 to the 10th power) or mega- (1,024 x 1,024 bits)--and sometimes finds its way into data transfer speeds (such as 14.4 kbps).


Blackout Area:

A predefined area of the country where a particular programming service will not be available, usually because of contractual agreements.



Broadband is the transmission of multiple channels of data over a single communications medium. It also commonly refers to a transmission greater than 128 Kbps.


Broadband Satellite:

A Broadband Satellite is a special high-bandwidth satellite that provides multiple channels of data over a single communications beam.



A group of data bits that are processed together. Typically, a byte consists of 8 bits. There are kilobytes, Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes, etc. 1 Byte = 8 bits 1 kilobyte = about 1,000 bytes 1 Megabyte = about 1,000,000 bytes 1 Gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes 1 Terabyte = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes.



A CableCARD is small device, about the size of a credit card, that when plugged into a compatible

television allows for the reception of digital cable television channels. These cards are rented from the cable company. CableCARD technology can also be applied to digital video recorder, and personal computers. The CableCARD will not work with two-way technologies such as Internet, video on demand, or other service that interact with the user.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires cable companies to allow non cable company devices to gain access their networks. Cable providers are required to offer these cards for rent, with rare exceptions.


Check Switch:

A procedural term used in DISH network receivers to establish a good signal connection between the receiver and the multi-sat dish switch. Running a check switch procedure will start a series of test. At the end of the test you will see a display of the what satellites you can receive. If you see any " X " listed, call you local service technician or use our database to locate a technician.


Circular Polarization:

Circular Polarization is the peculiar condition of a RF transmission, in consequence of which they exhibit different properties in different directions. A signal transmitted from a transceiver at an angle (called the angle of polarization) will only be received by a similar transceiver when the transceiver are parallel to each and no when they are perpendicular to each other. If a transmission beam, which has been transmitted from a transceiver at an angle of about 56 deg, be received upon a second transceiver similar to the former, and at the same angle of inclination, the beam will be readily received when the two planes of incidence are parallel to each other, but will not be received when the two planes of inclination are perpendicular to each other. The beam has, therefore, acquired new properties by transmission from the first transceiver, and is called polarized transmission, while the modification which the beam has experienced by this transmission is called polarization. The inclination in which the beam is transmitted from the first transceiver is called the angle of polarization. A signal beam reflected from a metallic surface acquires properties still more complex, its vibrations being no longer rectilinear, but circular, or elliptical. This phenomenon is called circular or elliptical polarization.


Clarke Belt:

Named after its founder Arthur C. Clarke, the Clarke Belt is an orbit used by satellites at a height of 22,250 miles, in which satellites make an orbit in 24 hours, yet remain in a fixed position relative to the earth’s surface.


Closed Captioning:

Text stream included in broadcast signal that provides narrative description of dialogue, action, sounds, and other elements of the picture. Most often used by the hearing impaired and in environments where audio is undesirable (such as in restaurants).


Coax Cable:

Coax or coaxial cable is the standard type of cable used by all satellite TV technicians. The cable is round and is available in black, gray and white although black is most common used. Coax cable carries the signal from the dish to the satellite receiver and on to your VCR and TV. The two types used in today's construction is RG59 and RG6.


Component video:

Component video uses three cables to carry video signals. These three cables contain signals that represent the levels of Red, Blue and Green in the video signals. They do not directly transfer the actual levels of Red, Blue and Green (RGB) , but an accurate representation of those levels in the original video signal. These cables and their corresponding connections on the back of HDTV sets, DVDS, and HD satellite receivers are called: Y, B-Y, and R-Y.

Y: Contains the "Luminance Signal". The luminance signal represents the levels of black and white with in the video signal.

B-Y: Contains the difference of how much blue there is in the video signal relative to the luminance signal.

R-Y: Contains the difference of how much red there is in the video signal relative to the luminance signal.

more information available here


A term used to denote reducing the amount of bandwidth needed to transmit video or audio, thus increasing the capacity of a satellite transponder. Signal Compression can lead to a lower image quality, depending on the degree and method used to compress the signal. When used on Internet video, compression allows a video to be transferred faster than an uncompressed video. The loss of image quality is offset by the shorted down load time.


Contiguous United States (CONUS) is a acronym for all the states in the US except Hawaii and Alaska. A satellite is said to be a "Full CONUS" satellite when it can effectively serve the entire continual United States. Satellites located west of 130 longitude and east of 75 longitude are too low above the horizon to effectively provide services to the opposite side of the United States.

Example: DISH Network satellite 61.5 is too low on the horizon to serve the west coast and DISH Network satellite 148 is to low on the horizon to serve the east coast

Product names, logos, brands and other trademarks referred to within are the property of their respective trademark holders. These trademark holders are not affiliated with or our website. They do not sponsor or endorse our materials.