The horizontal to vertical proportions of some TV screens, including HDTV screens. Find out more in the full definition of 16x9.
The ratio of width to height of a picture. Most movies have an aspect ratio geared to their being shown on a screen in a theater, which often poses problems when they are shown on a TV screen. Find out more in the definition of aspect ratio.
A technology used in the 1970s and '80s for watching movies prerecorded on magnetic tape. The tapes were played using a videocassette recorder connected to a TV set. Find out more in the full definition of Betamax.
Blu-ray Disc Player
A device that can be connected to a TV set and used to play movies which have been prerecorded on Blu-ray discs. Please note that there are PlayStation models capable of handling the Blu-ray format.
A technology permitting an optical disc to contain five times as much data as a traditional DVD, which means that a movie stored on a Blu-ray disc can be shown with a sharper, more detailed picture. In 2006 movies began being released on Blu-ray discs, but they can't be played on traditional DVD players. Read more about Blu-ray.
Movie DVDs that come from the studios almost always have the video and audio data stored on the disc in such a way that it is not possible to make a copy of the contents of the DVD in a straightforward manner. Find out more the full definition of copy protection.
An audio technology used on many movie DVDs to provide sound. Read the full definition to find about more.
There are businesses that will sell or rent you a movie and via the Internet put a copy of it on a device in your home. Find out more the full definition of downloading.
DTS is a technology capable of providing high-quality sound, and on the audio menu of some movie DVDs, you can optionally choose DTS. Find out more in the full definition of DTS.
A device that can be connected to a TV set and used to play movies which have been prerecorded on DVD.
Stands for Digital Versatile Disc, which is a disc 12 centimeters (approximately 4 3/4 inches) in diameter that is used to store data, including video and audio. Find out more in the full definition of DVD.
Bonus material contained on some DVDs that cannot be accessed using a DVD player, but can be accessed by using a computer with a DVD drive. Examples of DVD-ROM features include interactive games, links to Web sites and text-based information, such as screenplays.
Stands for digital video recorder, a device with a hard drive that is capable of recording video content and then playing it back on a TV set. Find out more in the definition of DVR.
A DVD bonus material that the menu system gives the user no obvious way to access. Find out more in the definition of Easter egg.
Refers to a picture with a width-to-height ratio of 1.33:1. Such a picture will fill a 4x3 TV screen, but will be shown on a 16x9 TV screen with black bars on the left and right sides.
HD DVD Player
A device that can be connected to a TV set and used to play movies which have been prerecorded on HD DVD, an obsolete technology.
A technology that became obsolete in 2008. HD here stands for high definition, and movies began being released on HD DVDs in 2006. These movies had a sharper, more detailed picture than those on traditional DVDs, and the video and audio quality of HD DVD was about the same as that of Blu-ray. But HD DVD and Blu-ray were incompatible with each other, and Blu-ray drove HD DVD out of the marketplace.
Stands for high-definition television, which uses digital technology and has a resolution approximately twice that of traditional analog television. HDTV screens have a width-to-height ratio of 16 to 9, while traditionally that ratio has been 4 to 3 for a TV set. Find out more about HDTV.
Home Theater System
A collection of devices used for viewing a movie at home and typically including not only a fairly large screen and some sort of DVD player, but also an audio system with several speakers.
A technology used mainly in the 1980s and '90s for watching movies prerecorded on optical discs 30 cm (approximately 11 3/4 inches) in diameter. Find out more in the definition of laserdisc.
A U.S. guideline available for most movies that is intended to help parents decide the suitability of a film's content for viewing by their children. Find out more in the definition of MPAA rating.
Most movie DVDs have a region code intended to restrict the area of the world in which they can be played. Most DVD players sold in a particular area of the world will not play a DVD encoded for a different region. Read the definition and find out more, including a rough breakout of the regions.
A catchall term for a device that can be fed a video signal from some source and display it on a TV screen. Find out more in the definition of set-top box.
There are businesses that will sell or rent you a movie and deliver it via the Internet in a way that it is displayed on your screen, but you don't end up with a copy of it on your hard drive or anywhere else. Find out more in the definition of streaming.
A device that can be connected to a TV set and used to play movies which have been prerecorded on VHS tape. Find out more in the definition of VCR.
A technology that during the last two decades of the 20th century provided an enormously popular way of watching prerecorded movies at home. Find out more in the full definition of VHS.
The vast majority of widescreen movies have aspect ratios of either 1.85:1 or 2.35:1, where the numbers are approximate.