Technology

Difference Between Digital and Analog

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Main Difference

Analog signal is an unremitting signal which represents physical measurements while Digital signals are distinct time signals generated by digital modulation. Analog is denoted by sine waves while digital by square waves. Analog hardware is not pliant while Digital hardware is flexible in implementation.

What is Digital?

A single character in a numbering system is called ‘digit’. In decimal, digits are 0 to 9; in binary, from 0 to 1. Hence any system based on discontinuous data or events is called ‘digital system’. Generally, digit stands for the use of numbers and term comes from digit, or finger. It is synonymous especially with computers which are digital machines as at their basic level they distinguish between just two values: 0 and 1, or off and on. There is no plain way to signify all the values in between, such as 0.25. All data which a computer processes must be digitally encoded, as range of zeroes and ones. It is simply because computers are originated at the basis of reading and identifying the codes which are in digits. Computers are internally digital, because they consist of discrete units named bits that are either on or off. However, by amalgamating many bits in complex ways, computers simulate analog events. In other words, this is what computer technology is all about, means based on digits. Along with computer, there is also a pattern of clocks based on digits. A digital clock is competent in representing only a limited number of times (every tenth of a second, for instance). Moreover, in general, humans experience the world analogically. For example, vision is an analog experience since we perceive unlimited smooth gradations of figures and colors. However, most analog occurrences can be simulated digitally.

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What is Analog?

An analog or analogue signal is any consistent signal for which the time varying mark of the signal is a representation of some other time varying potential, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal. For instance, in an analog audio signal, the instantaneous voltage of the signal differs continuously with the stress of the sound waves. It varies from a digital signal, in which consistent volume is represented by a discrete function which can only take on one of a limited number of values. The term analog signal commonly refers to electrical signals. An analog signal possesses a theoretically unlimited resolution. Practically speaking, an analog is subject to electronic noise and grotesque introduced by communication channels and signal processing operations which can progressively abject the signal-to-noise ratio.

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Key Differences

  1. Analog signal is an unremitting signal which represents physical measurements while Digital signals are distinct time signals generated by digital modulation.
  2. Analog is denoted by sine waves while digital by square waves.
  3. Analog uses unremitting range of values to represent information. Digital, on the other hand, uses discrete or discontinuous values to represent information.
  4. Analog technology does records waveforms as they are but analog takes samples analog waveforms into a finite set of numbers and records them.
  5. Analog is subjected to weakening by noise during broadcast and write-read cycle. Digital can be noise-immune without weakening during transmission and write/read cycle.
  6. Analog hardware is not pliant while Digital hardware is flexible in implementation.
  7. Analog can only be used in analog devices and best for audio and video broadcasting, while Digital is best for computing and digital electronics.
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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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