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Digital TV Jargon

As digital TV or digital television evolves, this fairly new science has now evolved its own digital tv jargon that is not just restricted to technical wires and physical make up of the digital television machines.

Digital television jargon is now encompassing much of our daily lives as more and more people switch over to satellite and cable systems. Digital tv jargon needs to explain the relevant sections of the industry.

Not everything in the digital TV world is simply 'plug and play' as many of the manufacturers would like us to think and digital tv jargon will help to break down many of the misunderstandings and misconceptions that currently surround digital television.


Media - Digital TV


Traditional method of transmitting television signals.



A company or organisation that broadcasts television programmes.


Cable TV

TV broadcasting service that delivers signals to households via a fibre optic cable rather than a conventional aerial or a satellite dish.


Dedicated advertiser location (DAL)

A visually rich site that enables advertisers to provide a greater depth of product information interspersed with dramatic video content, textual information and a built-in response mechanism.


Digital cable (DCable)

Digital services pass between the cable operator and the viewer’s home via fibre-optic cable laid below the ground.


Digital satellite (DSat)

Digital television signals are transmitted via satellite to a mini-dish installed at the viewer’s home and then converted by a set-top box into sound and pictures.


Digital television (DTV)

A new and more efficient way of transmitting television signals.


Digital terrestrial television (DTT)

TV channels using digital signals delivered to homes through a conventional aerial and converted through a digital adaptor.


Digital subscriber line (DSL)

Technology that transmits data through existing copper telephone lines at very high speeds.


Digital TV Group (DTG)

The industry association for digital television in the UK.


Digital Television Project

A partnership between government, broadcasters, industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders.


Enhanced Television

An interactive service directly related to a particular TV programme, which provides viewers with a means of interacting with that programme. Programme enhancements can include voting, competitions, quizzes and exclusive video footage.


Electronic programme guide (EPG)

An on-screen TV guide that helps viewers navigate all channels. The Sky guide EPG contains details of all television programmes to be aired over the following seven days as well as listings for interactive services.


Impulse response

A type of interactive ad. Viewers can interact with the brand while remaining in the broadcast stream.


Interactive advertising

Enables the viewer to respond to an ad by pressing the red button and find information that cannot be easily transmitted via a traditional 30-second linear TV ad.


Interactive digital television (iDTV)

Where the viewer interacts with broadcasters, advertisers or even other viewers via their television set.


Interactive main menu (IMM)

A section of the Sky guide EPG which lists a number of interactive services and portals, such as Sky Active. Sky viewers can bring up the IMM on their screen by pressing the ‘interactive’ button on their remote control.


Interactive service menu (ISM)

A menu listing a range of interactive services available in conjunction with a channel. Viewers can access ISMs by pressing the red button while watching a Sky channel (or certain other broadcaster channels, such as Disney, Cartoon Network, Channel 4 and Five).


Jump to text

A type of interactive ad. Viewers can press the red button during an ad to jump to a static page within a text service.



A type of interactive ad. A scaled-down version of a DAL and an effective mechanism for brand extension and data capture.



Sky digital subscribers have a mini-dish installed at their home to receive the digital signal from satellites.



A TV distribution service, comprising all the infrastructure (including transmitters, dish/cable/aerial, digiboxes and satellites) required to deliver TV channels to TV sets in the home.


Return path

The method by which a viewer communicates with a broadcaster when using an interactive service, thereby enabling full two-way interactivity. For example, the return path for digital satellite subscribers is the modem within the set-top box, which is connected to the viewer’s telephone line.



Sky leases the transponders it uses for digital transmissions from Société Européenne des Satellites S.A. (SES) and Eutelsat, situated at 28.2°E and 28.5°E, 22,300 miles into space. Sky uses some of the transponders it leases for Sky’s own channels and services. Some transponder capacity is subleased to third parties for the transmission of other channels or services.


Set-top box

Viewers need to attach this box to their television to unscramble digital television signals and convert them into sound and pictures.


Sky Active

The brand name for Sky’s interactive television services. It provides viewers with access to a range of services, including email and messaging, games, betting, shopping, banking, travel services and ticket sales.


Sky digital

Launched on 1 October 1998. This new digital service initially ran in parallel with Sky’s existing analogue service.


Sky Gamestar

Sky’s games portal. Viewers can access Sky Gamestar by pressing the interactive button on the Sky digital remote control or by pressing the red button while watching one of the Sky channels.


Sky Interactive

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Sky responsible for:

Creating interactive enhanced television services behind Sky channels (we also offer this service to third-party channels on the Sky platform)

Producing standalone interactive portals and channels on the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG)

Providing interactive television solutions to advertisers


Sky Subscriber Services Limited (SSSL)

SSSL stands for Sky Subscribers Services Limited, the operator of the Sky digital platform.


Software development kit (SDK)

A programming kit that enables a programmer to develop an interactive TV application.


Text services

Traditionally used for short text-based stories, news, weather, sport and holiday offers.





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