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UPnP (Universal Plug 'n' Play) or DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) are methods of sharing digitally stored information between compatible devices through a shared internet connection. For example, if you want to show your friends your latest holiday snaps, you can access them from your computer and display them on your Smart TV in all their glory! UPnP determines the devices compatibility and their role in the transfer i.e. which device will be sending or receiving data. DLNA has its own restrictions to govern the type of information that will be sent, such as music or video files. With more DLNA-compatible devices becoming available every year, including Blu-ray players and smartphones, you can integrate your media files with your home cinema like never before!
A technique invented by audio technicians and used in some specialist DACs to improve the quality of audio replay. In essence it means generating more pieces of information than the digital file contains. This is done by adding more samples, effectively creating a smother, more natural sound wave. Very clever indeed.
When the picture you want to watch isn't the same resolution as your TV, it needs to be upscaled to fit; otherwise, it would be a tiny image in the middle of the screen with swathes of black all around. The process of upscaling is effectively guessing new pixels to fill in the gaps. Some systems, such as those found in higher-end Blu-ray players, make more sophisticated guesses (or 'interpolations' to use the techy term) than others, resulting in pictures that appear sharper from the same DVD. A lot of units advertise their '4K upscaling’ or ‘8K upscaling’ technology. This is exactly the same process as what's described above, but for the 4K or the latest 8K Ultra HD TVs. With such a set it's more important to make sure you have high quality upscaling, as a lot of what you watch will still be either standard definition, regular 1080p HD or 4K UHD. Also bear in mind, all HD and Ultra HD TVs and projectors will also upscale the resolution of a video (with varying degrees of quality).
Usually tied in with Smart Home technology, voice control is now popular across a wide range of AV products. Voice control can either be an exclusive system tied to a particular product – as a TV. More commonly, though, voice control devices tie in with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri. The device either works with one of these devices (such as an Amazon Dot), or has the technology built-in.
Voice controlled speakers
At the most basic level, voice controlled speakers use voice recognition to select the music you want to listen to – often tying in with services such as Spotify and Tidal. The vast majority of voice-operated speakers go much further, though. Used in a ‘smart home’, they can also control a wide range of other functions such as lighting, heating, TV and even ordering goods over the Internet..
A measurement of power. In hi-fi parlance it tells you how powerful your amplifier is or the amount of power your speakers can handle. Remember power doesn't always equate to quality, so a powerful amp isn't necessarily the best. Sometimes manufacturers tweak the figures by quoting at lower impedance or at a high amount of THD (total harmonic distortion), which should always be below 0.1% for accurate power ratings. We always aim to quote the most accurate "real world" power rating for amplifiers in the specifications on our website, so you can make fairer comparisons.
With wireless routers now included with every broadband service, not to mention beaming through coffee houses throughout the land, Wi-Fi has reached near ubiquity. But what does wireless Internet and networking mean for your TV, hi-fi and home cinema? With more and more units offering connection to the web, built-in Wi-Fi means easy wireless access to your existing internet connection. Besides the web, a network connection is needed for those fancy smartphone and tablet remote control apps. All in all, from TVs to home cinema amplifiers, built-in Wi-Fi is a very useful feature to have!
A woofer is the driver in a loudspeaker that looks after the lower and mid frequencies. In most speakers this is actually a mid/bass driver, with the treble handled by a tweeter (see tweeter). Larger three-way speakers have two drivers, one for bass tones and one for the mid.
YouView is a rival system to Freeview and Freesat and gives you the best of both worlds by offering free to view digital HDTV and a wide range of catch-up TV services. It makes catching up on TV particularly easy by offering a 'scroll back' programme guide.
XLR is a balanced audio connector usually found in professional audio equipment. You might recognise it as a microphone lead. An XLR is also a great way of connecting your premium hi-fi setup together. XLR cables provide a superior connection as they include an extra pin to eliminate "ground hum".