A T-800 HUD

A head-up display (HUD) is a transparent display that presents data over a visual screen. A Termovision[1] refers to HUD used by Terminators to display analyses and decision options.

The Origin of Termovision[edit | edit source]

The initial HUD functions in the Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines timeline were developed for use in the human designed ground and aerial battlefield drones.

Terminator visual displays and HUD's are usually monochromatic. T-800, T-850, and T-888 units all have a largely red HUD, this is because of the infrared mode that is used to save energy.[2] The T-X has a blue HUD with blue/white, red, and black lettering. As shown from the T-850 PoV in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the HUD of a Terminator under the influence of the T-X had its HUD changed to the blue T-X version, with the struggle for program dominance "shown" internally by switching back and forth between the default and intruder colors. The color of the PoV HUD does NOT indicate the color of the Terminator's unshielded (not flesh covered) eyes as seen from the outside.

Cameron Phillips, a T-900, has a full color visual display and HUD[3][4][5] capable of switching through several modes of display, including deep thermal scan.

For both Cameron, and other Series 888 Terminators, such as Vick Chamberlain, the HUD is displayed while fully functional. When the CPU is not fully online, as when during the course of a reboot from massive damage[6] or when a CPU's contents are being reviewed in a low-power setting,[7] there is no HUD present, and all visual records are presented in a grainy, raw-video format. This differs from an active Terminator's access of stored video files for analysis.[8]

However, the HUD is definitely a function of the operating system hardwired into the CPU, as demonstrated when John Connor's own computer and webcam begins displaying the Terminator HUD after the CPU is given too much power, and the unit seizes control of the equipment it is plugged into. "Vick's Chip"

In Dark Fate timeline, both the Rev-9 and Augment feature a full-color HUD.

By far, there is no any visual display of a T-1000 unit's HUD shown on screen, if there even is one, given its unique design.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The term "head-up display" (or HUD) is never actually used in the Terminator movies or TV shows. It is a widely used military term, originally used for military aviation.
  • According to special effects coordinator Ernest D. Farino, when producing the film The Terminator, the HUD are referred as "Termovision".[9][1]
  • It is unclear why a Terminator would visually display decision options on their HUD. Displaying data visually takes much more CPU (and time) than evaluating data within memory, so this would significantly slow down the decision making process of Terminators. It is also unlikely, that a programming language (like COBOL) would be used and displayed as it would be more efficient to implement all logic in machine code, instead of a human readable syntax.
    • Displaying decision options on the HUD (e.g. "Evade" or "Terminate") does allow the audience into the mind of the Terminator without requiring them to speak. This is probably the true reason this is done: to communicate with the audience, rather than being a practical method of decision making by Terminators.
    • It is likely due to Cyberdyne's (or Cyber Research Systems, depending on timeline) original development. When humans were programming the machines and they needed HUD displays to see what they were doing and for debugging purposes. Skynet likely did not change the original development and implemented it to most of its models.
  • The T-800 HUD from The Terminator showed MOS Technology 6502 assembly code on two occasions: specifically, the assembly code was for the Apple-II and was taken from Nibble Magazine.[10]
  • In the original film, despite not being seen, the T-800 Endoskeleton's HUD can be heard briefly after it discovers Sarah and Kyle's location by a staircase in the factory.
  • John's lasting order to the T-800 about killing people can be seen in its HUD as "TERMINATION OVERRIDE DISABLE TARGETS ONLY" when it is viewing the SWAT force.
  • A compass rose frequently appears on a T-800 unit's HUD in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • The HUD of the T-800 in The Terminator heavily distorts audio, as seen with the sound of the dog barking at the T-800 when it is approaching Sarah and Kyle's hiding location.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Terminator Vault: Ernest D. Farino: "We called it 'Termovision'."
  2. The Terminator novelization: "[To save energy] power was cut to 40 percent of nominal functions. The optical system switched to infrared only" according to the FAQ on
  3. Pilot episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  4. "The Demon Hand"
  5. "Samson & Delilah"
  6. Cameron's video playback in "Samson & Delilah"
  7. "Vick's Chip"
  8. A delete scene of "Pilot" from Season 1 DVD, where Cromartie reboots, then plays back video of the truck that struck him in order to target and track it by identification of the license plate.
  9. "The low-budget hit that made name for Cameron" on "Farino and his Kinetic Image Company serves as the film's special effects coordinator, and supplied optical effects like laser beams, muzzle blasts and the infrared shots 'which we called Termovision' that showed readouts from the Terminator's point-of-view."
  10. "It is well-known that in two instances, there is 6502 assembly code on the T-800’s HUD, and many sites have analyzed the contents: It's Apple II code taken from Nibble Magazine". More on The 6502 in The Terminator –

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