LCD projector

One of the oldest, and generally the cheapest form of digital projector; creates an image by breaking a beam of light into its 3 primary hues before shining each one through a tiny LCD screen that displays the picture. The 3 hues are then recombined inside a prism before being beamed onto your screen.

LCoS Projector

LCoS stands for Liquid Crystal over Silicone. The light from the lamp is split into red, green and blue. The colours are then shone onto micro-devices, which contain liquid crystals atop a reflective surface. When an electric charge is administered, the liquid crystals alter their shape, and act like filters that control how much light hits the reflective surface according to desired brightness or contrast. The complete image is then recombined and projected onto the screen.

Line-level or line input

A component or analogue connection operating at 'line' voltage. If a device has a line input it typically means that it is capable of either amplifying or recording from an audio source. A pair of white and red RCA plugs or a 3.5mm mini jack is the most common form of connection.


Lossless compression ensures perfect recreation of stored data in smaller-than-original file sizes. For all you audiophiles out there, it means you get to rip your favourite tracks to your computer without it chopping bits out of them to preserve storage space. When these files (often known as FLAC or Apple Lossless files) are played back, they retain every bit of their original detail - music to our ears. This is used in Hi-Res music (see High resolution audio) due to the relatively small file size, while maintaining quality.

Midrange (audio)

The middle of the frequency range, that sits between the bass and treble. The midrange handles most instruments and the human voice, so is of particular importance to musical replay. As most humans are most aware of the frequency of midrange that vocals use, many hi-fi components focus on accurate replay of the midrange at the expense of the rest of the frequency range.

Motion Processing - Refresh Rate

The standard refresh rate on TVs sold within the UK is 50Hz. This is the number of times a second the picture is "drawn". Higher quality TVs later increased this figure to 100Hz and then 200Hz. The higher the refresh rate the less flicker you'll notice and the picture should be more "solid" in appearance.

More recently, manufacturers have begun using their own measurement systems of motion processing and can't necessarily be compared between brands. Examples include LG - Motion Clarity Index (MCI), Samsung - Clear Motion rate (CMR), Philips - Perfect Motion Rate (PMR), Sony - Motionflow XR and Panasonic - Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC). All these figures are twice or more of the traditional 100Hz/200Hz refresh rate figures. Higher figures should equate to smoother motion but remember to stick to individual manufacturers if you want to compare like with like. The best way to compare the motion of TVs is to demonstrate scrolling text. The better the screen, the smoother the image will be.

Moving coil, moving magnet

Types of phono cartridge. Moving coil cartridges generally require a special phono stage and are found in high-end systems. Moving coil cartridges generally have a flatter, more accurate response, but do not have replaceable styli, unlike the moving magnet option.

Multi-region (DVD)

The American system of TV broadcasting, this is not compatible with our PAL system. So, if you are buying DVDs from America, you will need to check that your DVD player/recorder is multi-region and has an NTSC-to-PAL converter.

NAS drive

An external hard drive with a twist! NAS stands for "Network Attached Storage" meaning that once you plug your NAS drive into your wireless router, you can fill it with music, movies, even photos and important documents. All of these can then be easily accessed by any other devices operating on the same internet connection - so you can back up all your favourite media, and still get your hands on it without even switching on your computer - ideal for anyone with a wireless streaming system (see Network streamer).

Network streamer

One of the newest additions to the world of hi-fi separates, a network streamer piggybacks onto your router in order to give you access to a variety of Smart services. For example, should you have any music stored on your home PC or on a NAS drive; the network streamer can discover it and play it through your hi-fi, all at the touch of a button. Depending on the model, you may also get streaming services like Spotify that, with a subscription, will give you unlimited access to a library of music that you can listen to whenever you like. Add an internet radio service into all that and you've got a massive mine of musical multiplicity!

NFC - Near Field Communication

NFC (near field communication) allows close proximity connection simply by holding your tablet or smartphone next to the device. Once paired you can either stream music (Bluetooth enabled speaker), or send files (to other smartphones / tablets etc.)


The measurement of electrical resistance, in hi-fi this is used to measure the impedance of a speaker.