Digital TV business glossary & terms

The glossary below clarifies abbreviations and terms you might come across when you are getting familiar with digital TV technology or business (e.g. DVB, OTT, VOD, HbbTV, Smart TV; see below). Hopefully you’ll find this glossary beneficial!



Application Information Table; a DVB table that includes the application URL and other related data. Used to signal HbbTV application in broadcast.
Read how to signal HbbTV application with AIT

Android TV

Operating system (e.g. Smart TV), developed by Google, used in i.e. Sony, Philips, Sharp and Hisense TV’s.
Read about designing multiplatform Smart TV applications


Application Programming Interface; set of rules that enables third parties to obtain and change information or data of the service. When making a digital TV or any service some API’s (e.g. to CRM) usually need to exist to be able to communicate between different systems.


Analog switch-off; switching from analog transmission to digital.
Read about Malaysian ASO


Advanced Television Systems Committee; an American set of standards for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable and satellite networks. Used also e.g. in South Korea. Latest standard version is ATSC 3.0, marketing name “NextGenTV”, with support for more services, 4K UHD image and portable devices.


Ad-based Video On-Demand; offers consumers access to a catalogue of on-demand content and contains advertisements.


Conditional Access Module; device that enables watching scrambled (purchased) services, CAM has a slot for smart card. The module is inserted into TV’s or STB’s PC Card slot.


Conditional Access System; system to prevent unauthorized viewing of e.g. video material by content protection achieved by encrypting (scrambling).


Feature that enables end-user to watch e.g. previous series episodes (via IP).


Content Delivery (/Distribution) Network; optimizes content (e.g. video) accessibility globally, by geologically distributed servers, which usually includes load balancing, analytics and artificial intelligence.


Common Interface Plus; specification that extends the original DVB Common Interface standard (DVB-CI). The Common Interface is the connection between the TV/STB tuner and the module that decrypts the TV signal (CAM).


Common Media Application Format; standard intended to simplify delivery of HTTP-based streaming media, and to especially avoid storing and encoding video data in several different formats.


Consent Management Platform; a system or process for allowing customers to determine what personal data they are willing to share with a broadcaster or operator (related to GDPR). E.g. end-user must apply to certain minimal policies to gain the right to use an application.


Content Management System; assists with storage and organization and makes it possible to share e.g. video assets on different platforms.


Customer Relationship Management; required for subscription-based services (i.e. VOD) for identifying customer.


Client-Side Ad Insertion; inserting (or stitching) the ad media at client side by making a call to an ad server at ad breaks. Enables highly personalized ads, but is heavy for the server and susceptible to ad blockers.


Central Service List Registry; is a service list collection, combining all the available service lists in a single repository. Service lists are required by all devices implementing the DVB-I, like smartphones, tablets, PC’s, TV’s or STB‘s to access any service. These service lists may be operated by, or on behalf of, various kinds of organizations such as the manufacturer of the device, a national or regional regulator, or an operator or platform brand serving only their own clients.


Cascading Style Sheets; describes the presentation of an HTML document.


Connected TV; is any television set used to stream video over the internet.


Dynamic Ad Insertion; video ad technology that allows you to serve video ads into live linear programming and video on demand content. Can be client-side (see CSAI) or server-side (see SSAI).


Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP;  an adaptive bitrate streaming technique that enables high quality streaming of media content over the internet using HTTP.
Read about DASH reference application


Digital Rights Management; controls the use and distribution of copyrighted works, commonly used systems in area of video are e.g. PlayReady, Marlin and Widevine.


Digital Storage Media Command and Control; toolkit for developing control channels associated with MPEG streams, enables e.g. interactive commercials.


Direct-to-home; can either refer to the communications satellites themselves that deliver service or the actual television service.


Digital Terrestrial Television; specific abbreviation for digitalized terrestrial TV.


Digital Video Broadcasting; international open standard for digital transmissions. DVB Project ( is the maintaining organisation. Remark: There are well over billion DVB receivers deployed all over the world! And the number increases all the time…
Read about modern hybrid DVB PSI/SI & EPG generator (white paper)


Digital Video Broadcasting, Cable; international open standard for digital transmissions. DVB-C is common in urban areas, but newer DVB-C2 is not used currently.


Digital Video Broadcasting, Home Broadcast; to enable consumption of traditional broadcast services (i.e., delivered via satellite, terrestrial or cable broadcast networks) by means of in-home networked devices, e.g., smartphones, tablets, Personal Computers, IP-enabled TV sets or Set-Top-Boxes, etc.


Digital Video Broadcasting, Internet; international open standard for digital transmissions. Delivers services over the Internet to devices with broadband access, device can have also DVB tuner.
Read about DVB-I solution


Digital Video Broadcasting, Satellite; international open standard for digital transmissions. DVB-S broadcasting started mid 1990’s, and is still going strong.


Digital Video Broadcasting, Terrestrial; international open standard for digital transmissions. DVB-T2 is more advanced and efficient, and it gradually substitutes DVB-T.


Event Information Table; a DVB table holding program information, the start and end time with program description, possible age restriction etc. EPG consists of EIT data.


Electronic Program Guide; an application to show EIT information (e.g. title, description, rating) of broadcasted programs or other video assets OR sometimes meaning also the actual TV program or video asset metadata.
Read about EPG Management product


Free-to-air; free/clear (no cost) channels available to everyone (versus encrypted/subscribed).


General Data Protection Regulation; European Union (EU) have enhanced individuals’ control and rights over their personal data (since May 2018), this affects services where users must be identified. If e.g. a website holds EU citizens user data (name, cookies etc.) end-user must provide a valid consent for this purpose.

Google TV

Google TV platform is the successor of Android TV. This could also be called as rebranding or renaming, due to the fact that underlying software remains same. Many things still change, now focus is on personalized content and tailored recommendations, most noticeable change is new user interface which puts content first. It’s predicted that from 2022 onwards all Google-based devices are using Google TV, not Android TV anymore.


Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV; standard for interactive services on top of DVB, widely used especially in Europe. HbbTV enables ample offering of services on TV.
Read how to enable HbbTV


High Definition (Television); screen resolution from 1280x720p up to 1920x1080p.
See also other resolutions


HTTP Live Streaming; HTTP-based adaptive bitrate streaming communications protocol developed by Apple Inc. Adaptive streaming adapts to available network bitrate and adjusts the image resolution.


Hyper Text Markup Language version 5; the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. Version 5 supports audio and video controls, vector graphics, canvas support, localStorage, more mobile-friendly, track geolocation etc.

Hybrid TV

TV’s interactivity is implemented using broadband (via IP), combining this with broadcast (via tuner) makes TV a hybrid. HbbTV apps are considered as Hybrid TV services.


Internet Protocol; the principal protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet.


Interactive TV; data services added to television using IP and thus making it interactive.


Programming language widely used in digital TV services, both in HbbTV and Smart TV. Used alongside HTML and CSS.


Multimedia and Hypermedia Experts Group; usually found nowadays in form “MHEG-5” which refers to interactive applications on TV based on the MHEG-5 standard, used especially in United Kingdom.


Multimedia Home Platform; first open middleware system standard (end of 1990’s/early 2000’s) designed by the DVB project for interactive digital television. HbbTV has substituted MHP in many areas, MHP applications still exists in some countries.


Moving Picture Experts Group; literally means a group of authorities, but usually referring to compression formats used in digital TV: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC, HEVC etc.


Proprietary firmware by LG Electronics that was preinstalled on their smart TVs between 2007 and 2014. Later replaced with WebOS.

NorDig (group)

Represents broadcasters and network operators in the Nordic countries and Ireland that have e.g. agreed on common minimum decoder requirements. Few other countries have based their STB requirements on this specification also.


Network Personal Video Recorder; network-based digital video recorder stored at the provider’s central location rather than at the consumer’s private home (PVR).


Operator Application; a special HbbTV application that defines operator specific outlook and functions without separate STB, acts like “virtual STB” built on smart TV.
Read about OpApp case


Over-the-air; delivery of new software, firmware, to TV or STB via broadcast.


Over-the-top; a platform or application to provide set of TV and video services (VOD, start-over etc.) over IP, also to “companion screens” (tablets, mobile phones).
Read about OTT extension


Program Specific Information/Service Information; crucial data and metadata for digital transmissions. Specification for Service Information (SI) in DVB systems.
Read how to manage PSI/SI


Personal Video Recorder; a type of STB that allows recording of TV programs. Presence of scheduled EPG data is essential with this.

SCTE-35 and -104

Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers; non-profit professional association for the advancement of technology, standards and workforce education related to cable telecommunications engineering. “SCTE-35 markers” indicate where downstream systems can insert other content (usually advertisements or local programs). SCTE-104 is used in head-end side, SCTE-35 in the transmitted signal.
See also TA/DVB-TA


Standard Definition (Television); screen resolution from 704×480 up to 720×576.
See also other resolutions

Smart TV

A modern digital TV including several in-build applications, including a browser and normally having also HbbTV support.
Read about TV applications


Server-Side Ad Insertion; is a way of stitching an ad directly into the video that is being streamed – at the server and not the client. This eases the load on the server, and makes ad blocking difficult. The ads it enables are less personalized.


System software update; method to update STB/Smart TV system software via broadcast.


Feature that provides a way to start ongoing broadcast program from beginning (via IP).


Set-top box; Integrated digital receiver, a device able to receive digital TV signal and transform it into clear TV picture.


Subscription Video on Demand; consume as much video content as you want on monthly payment.


Targeted Advertising; a method to better monetize service offering by serving personalized and targeted ads for consumers. DVB-TA is the DVB Project’s specification for broadcasters who wish to dynamically substitute advertising in a linear broadcast over traditional DVB networks or over IP networks.


Operating system (e.g. Smart TV’s, smartwatches), used by Samsung since 2012. Most popular Smart TV platform globally (13%; 2020).
Read about designing multiplatform Smart TV applications


(MPEG) Transport Stream (also known as multiplex or mux); comprised of video, audio and data/metadata, contains several TV/radio programs. The packet format used for DVB and HLS transport.


Transactional Video on Demand; consumers purchase content on a pay-per-view basis, especially latest movies etc.


Ultra-high Definition TV (also known as 4K UHD); screen resolution 3840×2160.
See also other resolutions


Video on Demand; service for providing wide variety of video material (series, movies) to end-users, letting them to decide when to watch. Subscription often required, public broadcasters can offer service for free.


Operating system (e.g. Smart TV), initially developed by Palm Inc. (which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard) for mobile devices, later sold and also patents were licensed to LG Electronics.
Read about designing multiplatform Smart TV applications

576p, 720p, 1080p, 2160p, 4320p

576p = 720 x 576 video screen, representing SD image.
720p = 1280 x 720 video screen, representing HD image.
1080p = 1920 x 1080 video screen, representing HD image.
2160p = 3940 x 2160 video screen, representing 4K UHD image.
4320p = 7680 x 4320 video screen, representing 8K UHD image.

Sources:, and

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Juho Mäyränpää - Sales Director

Juho Mäyränpää

Sales Director
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