Digital Signage Glossary

Access control The protection of confidential material and data from unauthorized access and use.
Account A set of privileges assigned to a particular user within a software program.
Acoustic Pulse Recognition Similar to dispersive signal technology, acoustic pulse recognition utilizes two piezoelectric transducers located at positions onthe screen to turn the mechanical energy of a touch vibration into an electrical signal. The transducer signal allows the screen's hardware to determine the location of the touch through a complex algorithm. The screen is made of ordinary glass, providing excellent clarity and durability. Like dispersive signal technology, acoustic pulse recognition does not allow for motioned touch once a touch has been initiated.
ActiveMovie The Microsoft graphic driver software used by Windows Media Player. ActiveMovie supports AVI, Quick-time, and MPEG animations.
ActiveX A Microsoft software platform used on the web for enhancing interactive media control.
Ad Channels Channels on a digital signage or digital menu network which are dedicated to running advertisements. Many times channels can be sources of revenue for local companies who might be able to use the digital signage network.
Advertising Displays Any display in digital signage used for advertising purposes. These displays can be used in end caps, ATM toppers, Posters, Billboards, and POP displays.
Air An outline of text that helps to keep underlined text legible.
Alert A health monitor set up as an automated status message to indicate a specific unexpected error within a software program.
Alignment A position of an element, whether text or graphic on a display. It can be aligned on left, right, or center.
Animation A running sequence of still frames that, when played in succession at high speeds, presents a smooth moving image like a film or video.
Animclip FLC or AnimGIF formatted animation file that is loaded as a clip. Animclip's speed and parameters can be more easily controlled.
AnimGIF GIF animation which is in automatic looping playback.
Application A very generalized term for a software program designed for a specific function.
Archive Content and information that has been stored in an accessible format.
Arrow Keys Keys on a PC's keyboard which allow for directional control used to highlight text and graphic items on a display screen.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Exchange) A universal standard for representing text, numbers, punctuation marks, letters, and instructions in computer software.
ASF (Active Streaming Format) WindowsMedia file format standard.
ATM Toppers A built-in video screen implemented on the top of an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which run informational and advertising.
Attribute A specific characteristic of a style that can be modified.
Authoring Station A publishing device for the scripts that are sent to players built within the machine running signage software.
Authoring Tools Software used by developers of multimedia that helps create products. Authoring tools allow for computer programming without the needed knowledge of software programming languages.
AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) A large file format for developing and viewing audio/video files.
Back Channel A pathway where data can be pushed by a player back to the network manager or server.
Backdrop An area of color, usually a rectangle, that is seen behind a screen's element.
Background Image or plain color displayed behind the elements on a digital signage screen.
Backspace A delete key used to remove text in a text character, left of the cursor.
Bandwidth An amount, measured in bits/kilobits per second, that is able to move through a network connection.
Baud Rate An indication of the speed of serial communication, whether modem or null-modem, usually measured in bits per second.
Bevel 3D effect applied to text elements and graphics.
Bit Bit is short for "binary digit." It is the most undamental code for computing. It is measured in ones and zeros.
Bit rate A way to effectively measure bandwidth. Bit rate is measured in bits per second.
Bitmap A JPG. GIF, and TIF type file that can be viewed in any type of internet web browser.
BMP (Bitmap or .bmp) Pictures used in internet websites are known as bitmaps. A bitmap uses a conversion script to created a picture into dots and pixels. It appears blocky when zoomed in.
Bold A heavy look type style for text.
Boot Turning on a computer.
Bounding Box The box surrounding a text element. The text lines can be aligned within the bounding box independent of other elements.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) Tempo measurement for music and sound.
Branch A way to jump a different point in a linear sequence of events.
Broadcast A connection that allows for information to be sent to multiple displays at one time.
Broadcast Folder A folder where files sent for broadcast are stored on a broadcast server.
Broadcast Server A transmit machine for broadcast files intended to be sent to a digital signage network.
Browser Netscape, IE, Opera and Firefox are examples of a browser program that is used for viewing files on the web.
Buffering A way to compile data streaming over the web. Both traffic and bandwidth are determinants of buffering time length.
Busy Pointer Clock-shaped busy pointer that replaces a mouse arrow when an application is at work on a task.
Button An area that responds when selected on a screen. Scripts can be used to define where buttons are in a browser.
Byte The basic unit of measurement for storage on a computer. It stands for "binary term." It is generally used to store a typed number or letter.
Cable A medium of content deployment usual used for charging of advertising.
Cabling The cable lines used to connect display to computer, power, and internet sources.
Cache A term for computer memory in a high-speed environment that stores web pages on a temporary basis so it can be more quickly accessed the next time it is visited.
Cache Server A server used in network management that allows for content storage and aids in spreading large amounts of information to more displays by acting as a middle point between two points. It allows networks to optimize bandwidth usage.
Call Center Telemarketing locale used for telesales or technical support.
Capacitive Touch Screen Capacitive touchscreen panels conduct a continuous current of electricity across the sensor using a coating of indium tin oxide. As a result, the sensor has a much more controlled field of stored electrons in both the horizontal and vertical axes. The sensor acts as a capacitant. And, since the human body also contains stored electrons it exhibits capacitance. The sensors on the screen work based proximity and therefore do not have to be directly touched to be triggered. Capacitance touchscreens are used in many POS systems, informational kiosks, and control systems. One superb benefit of Capacitive resistance touchscreens is that they have a much higher clarity than resistive technology. One downside to capacitance technology is that it will only work with human touch and does not respond to a inanimate objects. Finally, capacitive resistance touchscreens support multitouch capabilities.
Captive Audience Networks A digital out-of-home media network installed where a captive audience is stationed and can be targeted for demographic advertising.
CAT5 A communications cable used and standardized by the Telecom industry. Category 5 uses all four pairs of wires to send and receive data. Cat5 operates at up to 350MHz.
CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory) A compact disc containing up to 650 megabytes of information that can be read only on a CD ROM drive.
CD-ROM Drive A laser optic device used for reading files and software contained on a compact disc.
Center Alignment Placing a file equidistant from both the left and right hand margins.
Channel A script that allows for subscribed players to be updated for content change when a server changes content.
Character Generator A program used to create text on video. In general, generators are used to make informational channels.
Choose The ability to highlight an object on a screen. It does not allow for actual action, but allows for highlighting only.
Click The ability to point to a particular item in a GUI and then press and release the item. This is usually done with a mouse.
Clip A media file that is viewed in an internet website.
Clip A graphic image that can be input into a digital signage display.
Closed Circuit Television Private television network where multicasting and narrowcasting can take place.
Codec A compressing software widget used to compress and decompress files, including digital video, in various compression formats.
Composite Video A video output signal that contains color, brightness and synchronization information.
Compression A method for making data smaller so a computer can store more information. It also makes file transfer much easier.
Configuration The technical specification to be used in a digital signage project or application. This could include RAM, processor speed, type of video, and hard drive space.
Confirmed Broadcasting A mode of broadcasting in which players have a communication link with transmissions where confirmation and/or error messages are included.
Connection Parameters used for naming and saving files used on different players.
Content Files, static and dynamic, that are played back on a digital signage media player device.
Content File A folder on a player where the content resides and is stored awaiting scheduled playback.
Cookie A file, sent from a server, to a browsing computer. Cookies allow for faster browsing later so a local browsing computer does not have to re download. In addition, cookies allow for tracking and recognization eliminating the need for redownload of information.
Crop To remove unneeded portions of a graphic image by adjusting the top, bottom, or side borders.
CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) A glass vacuum picture tube that can be found inside a tube television and computer monitors. They utilize an magnetically targeted stream of electrons to display an image.
Ctrl A keyboard shortcut key that allows for multiple selection when using a mouse.
D - Data Numbers, text, sounds, or images that, after it is transcribed into bits, is processed by a computer.
Database A collection of data on accounts which collectively comprise an information network.
Datacasting The broadcast of digital data information over a network of receivers and players. An alternative to traditional broadcasting.
Decompress A process of restoring a file to its original uncompressed format after it has already been compressed.
Default What is displayed or shown when a system does not specify anything.
Design Menu When composing a graphics page within a digital signage frame, a design menu allows for access to all text or graphics available to be uploaded as content in a presentation.
Dial-up A method of connecting to the internet via a computer modem that dials into the phone number of the other computer's modem.
Digital Media Video, sound, pictures, and text that is downloaded or streamed over a WAN or LAN.
Digital Video A video that has been placed in digitized format that is then able to be controlled by a PC.
DirectShow Microsoft's graphic software used for display of various animation type formats.
DirectX A graphics playback software developed by Microsoft for playback in PC environments of some scripts.
Dispersive Signal Technology DST was introduced by 3M in 2002. Mechanical energy in glass is measured by complex algorithms that interpret dispersive waves travelling through the solid medium. Because the technology is impervious to dust, scratches and other external elements, it is considered a very viable and scalable solution for multitouch on even the largest of displays. Dispersive signal technology also provides excellent optical clarity due to its lack of additional elements needed in the display. The displays can be detect both fingers and styluses. However, one downside is that the glass cannot detect a moving finger or stylus.
Dithering A process which makes images appear more smooth by adding additional colors into the mix.
Domain The URL or web address of a internet web site.
Download The transfer or install of software from one computer to another. Often done over the internet.
Drawing Program A structured or vectored drawing program which allows for the creation and manipulation of two dimensional images.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Lines) A telecommunications internet access line that is high-speed.
Electronic Billboard Billboards that can be updated remotely via the internet.
Electronic Signage Digital Media including stills, dynamic video, and interactivity that is used to replace static signage.
Embedded Player A player for digital media that is embedded within a web browser to display media clips.
Enclosure Equipment used to house digital signage hardware including displays, media players, and associated mounts and wiring systems.
Encoding A change or tranfer of media file types between multiple formats.
ERP (enterprise resource planning) Software used by a business for running almost every aspect of the business' operations including inventory, logistics, orders, and accounting.
Extension Letters that follow the name of a file. These letter abbreviations indicate the format the file is in and how it can be viewed. Filename extensions usually follow a period.
Fade A slow or gradual change in a setting like brightness or volume that takes place over a period of time.
Flash A vector graphic which can be animated. Flash files do not require as much bandwidth as standard media.
Flat Panel An electronic display device that is often powered by some type of digital signage hardware or software for content distribution.
Fly-on A type of file transition that brings in a file from outside the screen's borders.
Format The specific organization of information a program or device requires that allows for storage of that information in different ways.
FPS (Frames Per Second) The measured speed at which an video or animation is played.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) A standard protocol for data transfer over the web.
FTP Server A type of computer that can receive FTP link requests from a client computer.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) A graphic file format where images are built with pixels. GIF files can be downloaded quickly.
Graphics Non-text pictures and illustrations that can be viewed. There are two types: vector (object) graphics and raster graphics (bitmaps).
GUI (Graphical User Interface) The working environment look at feel that shows how files are arranged on a computer. It is outlayed in a succinct visual manner.
HDTV High Definition Television, or signage that is displayed at a resolution higher than 720.
Health Monitoring A process by which the status of computers on a network are regularly checked to see if they are running properly.
Hertz Cycles per second measurement of frequency. It is often used to measure a computer's central processing unit's (CPU) speed.
Host Server computer that allows access to documents by users. It is the start and finish point for data transfers.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) A internet document language code that tells the browser how to display text and graphics on the screen.
Hyperlink or Hypertext Objects, whether text or graphics, on an internet site that when selected using a mouse, navigate to a different page on the web.
Image Non-text graphics or pictures
Imagemap An interactive graphic image. When the graphic is clicked, another program launches. Unlike a hyperlink a imagemap has multiple hyperlinked areas on the same graphic.
Information Technology (IT) A general term used to encompass networking, computers, and information systems.
Intranet An internal communications network used by a company.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) A company that provides internet connections for business and personal accounts. ISP connection must be established before a connection to the internet can be made.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) A web hosting or software-as-a-service company.
JAVA A programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. It is network-oriented and designed for writing programs that can be downloaded to your to your computer with small programs called "applets."
Javascript A programming language that enables web pages to be designed with a higher level of interactivity.
JPEG or JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) A compression type for still image files. Works well with photographs.
Kerning An tweaking or adjustment of the normal space distances between specific character combinations. This is used to eliminate excess space.
Keyword A word or phrase, generally typed into a web search engine used to find a particular term.
Kiosks Small terminals that either provide a service or the deployment of information which are placed in public venues. They can incorporate and integrate many different types of technology, including digital signage.
Language Refers to the syntax programming language which sets rules for computers to be able to understand and carry out tasks set by a program.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) A monitor or display used for TV, computer, and signage applications where Thin film transistors (TFTs) on the surface apply an electric current to crystals of liquid. The current polarizes the crystals which makes them twist, blocking light and emitting different shades of light.
LED (Light Emitting Diode) In a diode electrical current is only able to pass through in one direction. When electricity is applied to the diodes, light is emitted. The technology is similar to that of a light bulb.
Link A hypertext link that allows direct access to a web address or URL which, when clicked on, takes the reader to the different website.
Local Playback Files that exist and play on a local computer as opposed to an external source.
Location Based Advertising The active placement of advertisements near the point of purchase where it can be most immediately influenced and measured for ROI.
Login An account profile giving a specific level of access to a computer or server.
Loop A repetition of a script or animation in a digital signage display.
Marquee A façade or canopy off the side of a building used to display some type of digital signage.
Media General term used for audio, images, and video which are used to reach an audience of some sort.
Memory The size of data that can be stored on a computer's disk or chip.
MIDI Stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It is a hardware and software standard for digital music instruments. It is also used as a standard audio file format (.MID).
MP3 (MPEG 1, audio layer 3) A compression format used for audio which can be downloaded and used on either a computer or handheld MP3 player.
MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) A standard for audio/video. There are three major MPEG standards: MPEG 1, MPEG 2, and MPEG 4.
MSF (minutes, seconds, frames) A method of measuring time on a CD. It is shown in the following format: mm:ss:ff.
Multimedia The integration of multiple forms of media including text, graphics, video, and audio. The content is created and intended to be pushed to an audience.
Narrowcasting Another term for dynamic digital signage where where locations have installed display devices, run by signage hardware and software for various content distribution.
Network Computers that are linked together with the intent to share information and resources. Networks can be set up on a Local Area Network(LAN) where computers are linked together in a single office, or Wide Area Network (WAN) where computers are connected at different geographic locations.
Newscasting The process of sending news over the internet.
NTSC National Television Standards Committee: A committee which standardizes color sequences in television for both the United States and Japan.
OEM An original equipment manufacturer of a product of digital signage hardware.
On-Demand Unconstrained directly accessible content that is stored or archived on a device.
Online An active connection to the internet.
Optical Imaging Touchscreen Optical imaging uses two or more sensors around the corner edges of the screen coupled with infrared backlights. The lighting, placed in the field of a camera's view of the other side of the screen, sense a touch when a shadow appears. The camera's triangulate the touch to locate its location. This technology is quite scalable and very affordable, especially when it comes to larger displays.
PDF (Portable Document Format) A document created by Adobe which allows for unchanged formatting for viewing large file-sized documents. Viewing a PDF requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Platform The core hardware or software that runs a computer system.
Plug-in An extension of file capabilities within a pre-existing program that allows specific types of files to be read and utilized.
Portal A web site that serves as an entrance to other destinations accessible through the internet.
PowerPoint A Microsoft Office software that allows for slide and presentation creation. Some digital signage solutions support PPT and some utilize PPT in the creation of digitla signage such as Helius MediaAuthor and X20 Media.
Projected Capacitance Touchscreen Projected Capacitance Touch technology is a subset of capacitance technology. It which involves X-Y array relationship where sensing wires embedded within two layers of non-metallic material are interrupted by a third object. In most cases, the third object involved is a human finger. The projected capacitance sensing wires and the user's fingers forms capacitance. The controller system measures the capacitance made by the touch made and then relays the communication onto the the controller system and computer software. Projected capacitance touch technology is used with Interactive Foil. In this instance, a gloved hand can make the touch. Interactive Foil allows for touch applications to be utilized in external "through window" touch applications. These applications don't require an actual "touch."
Protocol Established methods for communication and data transfer between two devices over the web.
Push The sending of data without the client requesting it. Email is an example of file push. In a programming scenario pushing refers to placing data items onto a stack.
Quicktime A software program that allows for play and view of multiple formats including: graphics, animation, text, music, and 360-degree virtual reality scenes.
RAM (Random Access Memory) Hardware used inside of a computer for short term storage capabilities. RAM is available in 32 bit, 64 bit, 128 bit, 256 bit and higher. More RAM can be added to a computer as the need arises.
Real Time Live broadcast of events or the time an event actually takes place.
Resistive Touch Screen Several layers make up a resistive touchscreen panel. There are two layers that are the most important. They are made of thin electrically conductive metallic layers separated by a small space. When pressure is placed on one of the layers, as when someone touches the panels, the layers are able to connect. In this way, the layers act like the connecting output of two voltage dividers. When the layers touch, there is a change in the electrical current, which is sent to the controller for processing. Although, resistive touchscreen solutions are, in general, considered the most price-conscious solution, they are also known to be the least clear. Unlike other solutions, the layers can be damaged by sharp objects. As the most widely used type of touchscreen on the market today, resistive touchscreen panels are not as susceptible to outside elements like water and dust.
Resolution Resolution is defined, in most instances, in dots per square inch. The resolution most often refers to the clarity and detail of an image. The higher the dots per inch (dpi), the more clear the picture quality will be.
Resources Anything that can be utilized to accomplish a particular task. This could include the size of a server, the speed of a connection, or the scalability of a digital signage network.
RGB Red, Green, and Blue. These combined colors are used to create an image on a computer screen or digital signage display.
Server A computer hardware or software package that allows for specific client software to be run on other computers. This could include an internet server, or digital signage server where content is pushed to client media players for deployment.
SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) A layout programming language that allows for the synchronization of multimedia elements for display on websites for interactive interaction.
Sound Card A hardware extension or circuit board that allows for audio media to be played on a computer. They allow for the translation of audio from analog to digital format to be read and played by a computer.
Strain Gauge Touchscreen Strain gauge touchscreens utilize a spring-mounted display where four corners are connected to strain gauges. The gauges are used to determine deflection when the screen is contacted by touch. Because the screen is mounted on springs, it also utilizes measurements along the Z-axis. Strain gauge is typically used in outdoor-exposed systems because they have a hearty resistance to the elements.
Streaming Media A data transfer technique that happens over the internet which allows for live flow of audio and video information to be played in real-time. A player is needed to interpret and send a signal of the streaming media to a display device.
Surface Acoustic Wave Touchscreen Surface acoustic wave technology or SAW utilizes ultrasonic waves that register the positions of the touch. It then sends this information to a controller to process. Because ultrasonic waves are used, surface contaminants like water and dust can interfere with functionality.
Template A pre-formatted file that allows for a foundation in creating a new document or media file.
Text Crawler A text segment, often generated from an RSS feed, that is displayed in a crawler box section on a digital signage display.
TIF (Tagged Information File) A bitmap graphic format found in web pages that is used for still images.
Upload The precise opposite of download. The transfer of data from the computer being used to another computer.
URL (Universal Resource Locator) The unique web address of a file or document on the internet.
VAR (Value added Reseller) A reseller of a product of hardware or software.
VBR (Variable Bit Rate) A two-pass encoding that compresses a movie file to the most optimal data rate possible. Unlike uniform data rates, VBR varies from second to second.
Vector Graphics Also referred to as "object oriented" graphics. Images that are stored on a computer using algorithms to define the shapes, lines, and animation of the media. Vector images can be scaled without distortion and, due to their relatively small size, they can be transferred easily over the internet.
WAV (.wav) Digital audio sound file extension, pronounced "wave."
Web Designer An individual who is responsible for the look and feel of an internet site being hosted on the word wide web. Both design and web-based programming knowledge is necessary to be a web designer.
Web Developer The individual responsible for building a web site's technical capabilities. A developer needs software programming skills.
Web Site A place on the internet where specific messages are communicated through use of text, graphics, audio, video, and any other type of dynamic media.
Webcast Movies, videos, or radio and television that is delivered on a live or delayed basis via the internet.
Wizard A help file that guides users through a process for setting up a specific application.
Zip (.zip) A data compression format that holds multiple compressed files in a directory. This allows for large software files to be sent more quickly and easily over the web.