Glossary of TV and Internet Terms


You probably hear these tech terms all the time. In the news. On your TV and Internet bill. But do you know what they actually mean?

Here’s a glossary of some of the most important TV and Internet terms that everyone should know. This isn’t an exhaustive list; the world of technology grows and changes all the time.

TV Terms

Depending on your choice of provider, you can access a huge number of channels and features. A few are defined below:

Cable TV – a television service that distributes televised programing to subscribers by means of a coaxial cable rather than through traditional broadcast transmission.

Satellite TV – a television service that uses an orbiting satellite above Earth to receive, amplify and transmit televised programing to subscribers.

Fiber-optic TV – a television service that distributes televised programing to subscribers by means of fiber-optic cables rather than coaxial copper cables.

Broadcast TV – a method of broadcasting televised programing using radio waves and receiving antennas.

Internet Terms

The Internet is a vast and complicated tool, but there are several terms to explain its many functions. Here are a few of them broken into different categories:


DSL – stands for “Digital Subscriber Line.” It’s Internet technology that provides a high-speed connection to subscribers via an existing telephone line. Unlike dial-up Internet, DSL Internet is always on.

Mbps – stands for “megabits per second.” Internet data is measured in megabits, and Internet speed is measured by the amount of data that travels per second.

MBps – stands for “megabytes per second.” Eight megabits are equal to one Megabyte.

FTTP – stands for “Fiber to the Premises.” Fiber-optic networks are considered FTTP if they reach from the Internet service provider directly to a subscriber’s home or business.

FTTx – stands for “Fiber to the X.” Fiber-optic networks are considered FTTx if they travel from the Internet service provider to a local loop in order to provide services to multiple households or businesses.

LAN – stands for “Local Area Network.” A local area network provides connection to a small area, such as a close group of homes or businesses. LAN networks use telephones lines and radio waves to form a wide-area network.

OSI – stands for “Open Systems Interconnection.” A standard description for the ways data is transmitted between two points in a network. It is used for the purpose of directing service providers in order for their services to work with other products.

Connection Terms

Data – information translated from one form or another so that it can be shared and processed between sources.

Binary Digital Form – the smallest unit of data possible, known as the bit. Bits are represented in two values, “0” and “1.” Data in non-binary form is shown when these two bits are combined.

Download – to copy data or programs from a main source, like a server or host computer, to another device or computer. The download speed of an Internet service is represented by megabits per second, or Mbps.

Upload – the opposite of download. It’s the process of transferring data or programs from a device or computer to a remote, central computer.

Bandwidth – refers to the rate at which data is transferred, specifying the amount of data that can travel from one source to another in a given period of time.

Hardware Terms

Ethernet – a system used for the purpose of linking different computer systems to form a LAN. The system includes a variety of rules to oversee the transfer of information.

Coaxial a type of cable that is used to transmit high-frequency signals, like those used in TV/Internet data transmissions, between the service provider and subscribers.

Copper this is the type of metal typically used as the conducting core of a coaxial cable. It has the highest electrical conductivity capabilities among nonprecious metals.

Fiber Optics a technology that uses thin, flexible glass or plastic fibers to transmit pulses of light carrying data from one point to another. Fiber-optic cables contain these fibers in bundles to carry large amounts of data very quickly.

Modem a device used to transmit digital data, like an Internet signal, via telephone lines. It translates digital data into an audio signal that can be moved through the telephone line. Then, it translates the audio data back to digital so it can be received by a computer.

Router a device used to transmit an Internet signal to multiple computers or devices in a building.

*All definitions sourced from


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This post was written by the Beacon team.

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