We offer a HDTV Glossary

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You thought the internet was rife with arcane babble? Check out the buzzwords of the HDTV lunar landscape.

GRAND ALLIANCE Sounds like a secret society that wants to capture Homer Simpson, but it’s the networks and consumer electronics manufacturers that began meeting in 1993 to create digital-TV standards.

ANALOG TV Sounds and pictures broadcast via radio waves (and, more recently, delivered by cable). TV’s been that way since before Ralph Kramden yawped ”To the moon, Alice!”

DIGITAL TV Computerized 1s and 0s that organize each picture element to highlight, say, a truer, brighter Madonna in concert. Except you can probably see her crow’s-feet. At least DTV’s interactivity will let you change to the long shot.

INTERLACED FORMAT An electron gun in your TV monitor blasts image lines that weave from top to bottom at a frenzied rate, alternating at 30 times a second. The format’s best for moving pictures.

PROGRESSIVE FORMAT An electron gun spews the signal line by line, at 60 frames a second. The format’s best for on-screen interactive stuff like trivia games about Jesse.

VERTICAL BARS HD-TV’s version of the letterboxing curse. When old, square-shaped TV shows are aired on new high-def wide screens, you’ll see big black bars on the sides.

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