Coming to terms with terminology

Some hi-def definitions we can all agree on

Hi-def defs.

Even within showbiz itself, execs, techs and talent are rarely on the same page when it comes to defining terms. While delivery of content to the home is a burgeoning growth area, many phrases mean different things to different players. Here’s a primer:

Appointment Viewing: The way people watched TV for half a century. Programs were on at specific times and days, and auds arranged their schedules to be in front of the tube when the shows were broadcast. Sometimes referred to as “linear” programming.

Broadband: High-speed Internet connection that allows content to be transferred rapidly among computers.

Digital Download: Content sent via Internet to the user’s own storage for later viewing. Also sometimes used to refer to content delivered via cable or satellite. Can be free or paid.

Streaming Media: Content that is sent continuously from a remote location and viewed in real time, sometimes with a slight delay. Usually not stored on the viewer’s system. Can be free or paid. Hulu falls into this category.

VOD/Video on Demand: The opposite of appointment viewing. VOD is any technology that allows consumers to pick and choose from a variety of programs residing either at the cable/satellite company or in their set-top box and watch them when they chose to. All-VOD channels are sometimes called “non-linear.” VOD comes in several flavors:

nFree VOD

nPay VOD (can be per-view or on a subscription basis)

nCable VOD

nSatellite VOD

nInternet VOD

PPV/Pay-per-view: Term coined in the ’80s to designate the purchase of a single program over a cable system. A precursor of VOD.

Video: Formerly referred to a specific format for capturing, broadcasting and viewing television. Term is now applied to any moving-picture electronic content watched on TV, computer, game or mobile screens.

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