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Analog vs. Digital Transmission Explained

Author: Simon McCullagh
by Simon McCullagh
Posted: May 20, 2022

The digital age has more than started in our modern world and more and more we will utilize digital systems rather than analog systems. Even though that's the case normal radio still utilizes analog transmission.

Digital transmission systems have numerous benefits over analog transmission systems, like greater quality of audio and video. How come digital systems can transmit greater quality audio signals than analog systems? The reality is that they don't. They just utilize some techniques to get rid of sound.

When something like video and audio, is tape-recorded by an analog system, the recording has a specific quality. This recording (when done professionally) has a very high quality. When the recording is sent it is regulated straight to a carrier wave, which is then transferred through the air, cable television, by means of satellite, and so on.

During this transmission, the carrier and the regulated signal will loose amplitude (power) and due to interference sound is introduced to the provider and its regulated signal. The outcome will always be a received signal that has a lower quality than the transmitted signal. Hence, the modulated signal, the recording, will also be of lower quality than the initial.Analog transmission systems are unable to preserve the quality the original has.

In the digital world the recording can be transferred to another location without loosing any quality. An exact copy of the original recording is transferred. How come that digital transmission systems don't loose quality when transmitting a signal?Well... Actually they do lose quality similar to the analog transmission system does.

Many people don't know that digital signal still need to be sent by analog transmission systems. The trick is that a digital system doesn't record analog signals, however it encodes analog signals into bits (zeros and ones). A sample is taken many times per second and the size of each sample is made a note of in bits. For example a sample with the worth of 9 would be 1001 and 11 would be 1011.

The digital transmission system is required to transmit those ones and zeros, and it does this by regulating the provider wave. Low power for a 0 and high power for a 1 (This is the most basic method of regulating. There are a lot more advanced types of modulation, but it would take a whole book to describe them all.).So on the receiving end, it doesn't matter any longer what the quality of the signal is, as long as it still is possible to determine the absolute zeros and ones.

Obviously the noise can not be too high, otherwise errors would be made and an absolute zero would be received as one or a one would be received as a zero. So Digital Transmission Systems are better due to the fact that they remove the effect of sound completely. You look and listen to a replicated signal of the recording. The reproduction originates from a specific copy of the original recording.

The quality of what you see and hear now depends on your television and Sound System. A high quality TV and Sounds System will provide you high quality Video and Audio. The negative effects of the (still analog) transmission have been removed from the process.

Satellite TV makes use of Digital Transmission Systems. What you see in the house will always be of digital quality with much less noise. And modern 5G signals are of course digital but may require a hotel signal booster or some other kind of booster if the local topography blocks the digital signal.

About the Author

I'm a digital marketing enthusiast who loves looking at wider economic issues and how they are affecting businesses across the world!

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Author: Simon McCullagh

Simon McCullagh

Member since: Apr 27, 2020
Published articles: 3

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