Online Terms Explained

Launched in November 2006, 4oD stands for “4 on Demand”, a service which allows some internet, Virgin Media, Tiscali TV and BT Vision users to view programming recently shown on Channel 4, E4 or More4, or from their archives. 4oD also includes a selection of films and content from the National Geographic Channel and FX (UK). The cable version is operated through an appropriate set top box whilst the internet variant requires the installation of a free piece of software, which allows users to download the programmes to a computer for viewing.

4oD Catch-Up
The 4oD Catch-Up service that allows viewers to watch TV programmes on the web with Flash instead of needing a Windows-only download manager. The service offers 30 days of catch up content from Channel 4, More4 and E4 and, like the BBC’s iPlayer web catch-up service, is available on any computer with the cross-platform Flash Player from Adobe.

In computer networking and computer science, bandwidth, network bandwidth, data bandwidth, or digital bandwidth is a measurement of bit-rate of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bits per second or multiples of it (bit/s, kbit/s, Mbit/s, Gbit/s, etc.).

BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer is an online service which allows you to play TV and radio programmes from the past week. It’s often referred to as an ‘on-demand’ or ‘catch-up’ service. BBC iPlayer also offers live streams of their channels.

Bitrate refers to the size, over time, of a video or audio stream. Although most computer oriented applications measure bitrate in terms of binary kilobits and Megabits where 1kb (1 kilobit) = 1024 bits and 1Mb (1 Megabit) = 1024 kilobits, bitrate calculations use standard metric values for these prefixes, meaning 1kb = 1000b and 1Mb = 1000kb. Bitrate calculations are typically made in kilobits per second (kbps) or Megabits per second (Mbps). They can also be expressed in other units, including bits per second (bps) or even Megabytes per second (MBps). Notice the capital B denoting Bytes. You should always use a lower case b to denote bits and upper case for Bytes.

Refers to a system or circuit that can carry signals over a wide range of frequencies or bandwidth. The wider the bandwidth, the more information that can be carried. For example, broadband internet gives you a high-speed connection suitable for downloading video and audio, watching TV online or listening to live radio.

A buffer routine or storage medium used in telecommunications compensates for a difference in rate of flow of data, or time of occurrence of events, when transferring data from one device to another. Buffers are used for many purposes, such as interconnecting two digital circuits operating at different rates, holding data for use at a later time, allowing timing corrections to be made on a data stream, collecting binary data bits into groups that can then be operated on as a unit, delaying the transit time of a signal in order to allow other operations to occur.

Demand 5
Demand 5 is the online download service from Channel 5. The Demand 5 service, previously known as ‘five download’, went live on the 26 June 2008. You may want to catch up on the programmes you missed last night, last week or download an entire series that you missed.

Dial-up Service Provider
An Internet Service Provider accessible through telephone lines by modem. Rarely used these days, as it has been replaced by broadband.

The transfer of information from the internet to your computer, this could be software or a recorded programme.

Digital Subscriber Line. A method of connecting to the internet permanently via a high-bandwidth phone line. They’re faster than dial-up service, and you can be on the phone and the internet at the same time.

Programme or hardware device designed to prevent computers on a network from communicating directly with external computer systems by filtering the information coming through the Internet connection into your private network or computer system . A Firewall keeps hackers out and personal data in by acting as a barrier through which all information passing between the network or computer and external systems must pass.

Geoblocking is a technology that is used to prevent access to web sites from visitors in particular countries or regions. At the moment it is mainly used by traditional broadcast companies who are moving their television, radio and music content online. Because of distribution contracts with the producers of these programmes many broadcast web sites limit access to people with in their own country.

IP Address
An IP address is a 32-bit number that identifies each sender or receiver of information that is sent in packets across the Internet. Your IP address can identify which country or territory you are connecting from, this can be used to limit programming to overseas viewers and listeners. These restrictions can sometimes be overcome by using a proxy ip address.

Integrated Services Digital Network. A digital alternative to phone lines for connecting to the internet.

Internet Service Provider. These are the companies who supply internet access.

ITV Player
ITV Player is the name of ITV plc’s online video on demand service. ITV’s ITV Player online TV service lets viewers watch most TV shows from ITV, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 online at the same time as they air on TV, or catch up on TV shows online they’ve missed from the previous 30 days. ITV offers live streams of its channels There is an app for Android and iOS devices.

Kilobits per second – the standard measurement of Internet connection speed.

Motion Picture Experts Group. The standard format for digital video and audio compression, MPEG2, MPEG3, MPEG4.

Proxy Switching/Cloaking
By using a proxy switching programme, you hide/change your IP address and stay anonymous when you visit web sites, download files, send emails, or view content that is restricted to a particular country or territory.

Streaming is audio or audio and video that is constantly received by, and normally presented to, an end-user while it is being delivered by a streaming provider such as a broadcaster.

Video on demand (VOD)
Video on demand (VOD) or audio video on demand (AVOD) systems allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand. VOD systems either stream content through a set-top box, allowing viewing in real time, or download it to a device such as a computer, digital video recorder, personal video recorder or portable media player for viewing at any time.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is a secure, private communication tunnel between `two or more devices across a public network (like the Internet). These VPN devices can be either a computer running VPN software or a special device like a VPN enabled router. It allows your home computer to be connected to your office network or can allow two home computers in different locations to connect to each over the Internet. A VPN server is a piece of hardware or software that can acts as a gateway into a whole network or a single computer. It is generally ‘always on’ and listening for VPN clients to connect to it. A VPN Client is most often a piece of software but can be hardware too. A client initiates a ‘call’ to the server and logs on. Then the client computer can server network can communicate. They are on the same ‘virtual’ network. Many broadband routers can ‘pass’ one or more VPN sessions from your LAN to the Internet. Each router handles this differently.

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