Tell your plasma from your LCD from your 1080p and Blu-ray with our guide to making high definition language easy to understand.

100Hz: A form of video processing which can enhance the smoothness of picture motion with some TV screens.

1080i: The name applied to the HDTV standard most commonly available in Australia. This delivers digital video with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels (1920 x 1080), or 1440 by 1080 pixels (1440 x 1080), in interlaced format.

1080p: The video standard used for Blu-ray, the highest quality currently available. This provides 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution (1920 x 1080), normally at 24 or 60 frames per second.

576i: The name applied to Australia’s standard definition TV system. This is basically the same as PAL.

576p: According to Australian law, this is a high definition format. In reality, it offers little over the 576i of SDTV. It is used in Australia by SBS in what it claims is its HD channel.

720p: A high definition digital video format where the image has a width of 1280 pixels and is 720 pixels tall (1280 X 720). The video is in progressive scan format, and may be delivered either 50 times per second (in Australia on ABC HDTV) or 60 times per second (in the US with downloadable HD movies and TV).

Artifacts: Any unwanted visible effects, including ‘pixelation’, ‘smearing’ or contouring’, in a picture. Typically caused by transmission problems or poor processing of the video signal.

Aspect ratio: The width of a picture relative to its height. Analog pictures have a 4:3 aspect ratio, while high definition displays (projectors, plasma and LCD TVs) and HD broad-casts have a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Blu-ray: The successor to the DVD, this format has nearly six times the capacity of a DVD, permitting it to carry movies in high definition format, providing the best in-home video entertainment ever developed.

Contrast ratio: The range of brightness between the deepest blacks and brightest whites of a TV screen. Usually gives a good idea of how black a screen can go. The bigger the number the better.

Dolby Digital: A digital audio format for carrying good quality surround sound, with up to 5.1 channels. Used on DVDs, Blu-ray and HDTV.

Dolby Pro-Logic: An older surround sound system which still works today to turn stereo into surround. Can work well with many stereo movies and TV transmissions. Pro-Logic II and IIx enhanced versions improve the surround effect from stereo sources such as TV broadcasts, music and games.

Downconvert: The conversion of a higher-resolution video signal to a lower one. For example, some digital TV receivers can be set to downconvert HDTV 1080i signals to standard 576i signals that any TV can display.