Analog vs. Digital

Archiving Topics » Analog vs. Digital

An important part of audiovisual archiving is the conversion of legacy audiovisual content from an analog to a digital form.  This discussion compares these two classes of technology and describes how their characteristics affect audiovisual archiving.

Analog vs. Digital (Full Text) pdf


  •  Analog systems represent audiovisual information using varying electrical quantities. Digital systems represent information using sets of numbers.
  • Audiovisual preservation often necessitates making copies. Exact copies of audiovisual information are easy to make using digital technology whereas analog copies always involve a degree of degradation.
  • Digital audiovisual content involves more data than can be accommodated by low capacity digital systems. Techniques known as data rate reduction or compression are used to reduce the amount of data with a range of content quality impacts.
  • The means of reproducing preserved content must also be preserved for either technology.