Home Theater Glossary: P

Pan and Scan: An approach used to display widescreen (16:9) content (such as movies) on a standard (4:3) television. With Pan and Scan, a decision is made as to what constitutes the action area in each frame of the movie. That part of the film frame is retained, while the rest of the frame is lost.

PCM: Pulse Code Modulation. An older system for encoding analog music into a lossless digital format. Music CDs and many computer-based sound files (such as .wav files) are based on PCM.

peer-to-peer; P2P: A type of network that allows multiple users to download and share files simultaneously, using a direct connection between computers (without the need for a file server).

pin connectors: Speaker cable connectors with a straight or angled pin. These connectors work best with spring-loaded clip speaker connectors and five-way binding posts.

pixels: The individual points (or picture elements) that combined, form an image on a display.

plasma: 1. (noun) Sometimes called a PDP (plasma display panel). A type of flat-panel display that contains millions of gas-filled cells (pixels) wedged between two pieces of glass. The most common sizes of plasma displays are 42-, 50-, 56-, and 65-inch sizes. 2. (noun) The ionized gas inside a plasma display.

podcasts: Digital audio or video files that are available for downloading from a Web site. Usually available in a series that are often packaged like daily newscasts or commentary.

progressive scan: One of the two scanning methods that draws the picture on the TV screen. All HDTVs use a progressive scan, in which the entire picture is drawn at once.

PVR: Personal video recorder. A home theater device that records video onto a standard computer hard drive. PVRs (also called DVRs) connect to a program service, usually via a telephone line. TiVo is a major manufacturer of DVRs.

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