Analog vs. Digital


Analog and digital signals are used to transmit information, usually through electric signals. In both these technologies, the information, such as any audio or video, is transformed into electric signals. The difference between analog and digital technologies is that in analog technology, information is translated into electric pulses of varying amplitude. In digital technology, translation of information is into binary format (zero or one) where each bit is representative of two distinct amplitudes.

Comparison chart



Signal Analog signal is a continuous signal which represents physical measurements. Digital signals are discrete time signals generated by digital modulation.
Waves Denoted by sine waves Denoted by square waves
Representation Uses continuous range of values to represent information Uses discrete or discontinuous values to represent information
Example Human voice in air, analog electronic devices. Computers, CDs, DVDs, and other digital electronic devices.
Technology Analog technology records waveforms as they are. Samples analog waveforms into a limited set of numbers and records them.
Data transmissions Subjected to deterioration by noise during transmission and write/read cycle. Can be noise-immune without deterioration during transmission and write/read cycle.
Response to Noise More likely to get affected reducing accuracy Less affected since noise response are analog in nature
Flexibility Analog hardware is not flexible. Digital hardware is flexible in implementation.
Uses Can be used in analog devices only. Best suited for audio and video transmission. Best suited for Computing and digital electronics.
Applications Thermometer PCs, PDAs
Bandwidth Analog signal processing can be done in real time and consumes less bandwidth. There is no guarantee that digital signal processing can be done in real time and consumes more bandwidth to carry out the same information.
Memory Stored in the form of wave signal Stored in the form of binary bit
Power Analog instrument draws large power Digital instrument drawS only negligible power
Cost Low cost and portable Cost is high and not easily portable
Impedance Low High order of 100 megaohm
Errors Analog instruments usually have a scale which is cramped at lower end and give considerable observational errors. Digital instruments are free from observational errors like parallax and approximation errors.

Contents: Analog vs Digital

Definitions of Analog vs. Digital signals

An Analog signal is any continuous signal for which the time varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal. It differs from a digital signal in terms of small fluctuations in the signal which are meaningful.

A digital signal uses discrete (discontinuous) values. By contrast, non-digital (or analog) systems use a continuous range of values to represent information. Although digital representations are discrete, the information represented can be either discrete, such as numbers or letters, or continuous, such as sounds, images, and other measurements of continuous systems.

Properties of Digital vs Analog signals

Digital information has certain properties that distinguish it from analog communication methods. These include

Differences in Usage in Equipment

Many devices come with built in translation facilities from analog to digital. Microphones and speaker are perfect examples of analog devices. Analog technology is cheaper but there is a limitation of size of data that can be transmitted at a given time.

Digital technology has revolutionized the way most of the equipments work. Data is converted into binary code and then reassembled back into original form at reception point. Since these can be easily manipulated, it offers a wider range of options. Digital equipment is more expensive than analog equipment.

Comparison of Analog vs Digital Quality

Digital devices translate and reassemble data and in the process are more prone to loss of quality as compared to analog devices. Computer advancement has enabled use of error detection and error correction techniques to remove disturbances artificially from digital signals and improve quality.

Differences in Applications

Digital technology has been most efficient in cellular phone industry. Analog phones have become redundant even though sound clarity and quality was good.

Analog technology comprises of natural signals like human speech. With digital technology this human speech can be saved and stored in a computer. Thus digital technology opens up the horizon for endless possible uses.


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Comments: Analog vs Digital

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Anonymous comments (13)

April 24, 2014, 3:23pm

Thanks for ur guidance

— 197.✗.✗.122

January 25, 2013, 10:48pm

Nope, your wrong. Digital channels are affected by noise, although much less so. Noise levels still cause bit errors and can cause bits to flip, if you have error correction coding then these errors can be corrected. Most modern digital communications channels have some kind of ECC, but again, the noise level can break this to if it is too much.

— 63.✗.✗.178

September 26, 2012, 11:20am


J Hickey.

— 86.✗.✗.243

December 28, 2012, 2:44am

Digital goes out too easy and is not good for in home televisions. Windy days a sneeze, walking pass the TV and digital signal is lost. Digital is not the answer
for TV. Everyone do not want to pay for cable and a particular cable company is totally ridiculous getting money from customer and advertisers while quietly going up on price and playing the same thing over and over and over.

— 174.✗.✗.196

June 10, 2013, 2:34am

Digital for our tv is a joke!!! We had great reception on all of our TVs before digital. Now we can't hardly get but ONE local channel from a tv station located about 35 to 40 miles away. We had to purchase a converter in order to keep from purchasing a new tv. The other tv in another room will pick up more channels sometimes but the antenna has to be moved and the picture may go out halfway thru the show except for when commercials come on. What's up with that? You tell me. There is always disruption when a door is opened, a car goes by, the phone rings, and yes, even when the wind blows or someone sneezes!!! What are the options? Not any that won't cost $$$$ coming out of our pockets other than just getting rid of the tv altogether. Isn't it funny how what is SUPPOSED to be better ends up costing the DOWN TO EARTH WORKING NO-FRILLS PERSON who doesn't have to have or want, or can't afford it in their budget, the biggest and latest gadget or service!!! Something is really wrong with all of this. Seems the real winners are the big corporations (gaining control over the market) who lobby our government officials (and eventually pass some bill letting these corporations have their way) and eventually costing us, the consumer, to purchase and be taxed on twice in some way, shape, or form. For the purchase of the equipment and then some of the services we have to have for this equipment. I could keep commenting but there is no need.

— 166.✗.✗.46

December 20, 2012, 11:18pm

good one .. :)
thank you :)

— 117.✗.✗.194

June 3, 2014, 5:07am

Good content

— 42.✗.✗.247

February 7, 2014, 9:17am

Analogy signal is a continuous signals which represents physical measurements.......thnx for ur guidance

— 41.✗.✗.118

May 18, 2014, 9:42am

Thnk a lot.......vry nic fr undstanding.

— 37.✗.✗.125

December 6, 2012, 7:41pm


— 72.✗.✗.227

April 3, 2014, 9:16pm

I prefer digital than analogue.

— 82.✗.✗.0

April 11, 2011, 10:23pm

this is good. good

— 195.✗.✗.30

July 28, 2012, 6:39am

then what is the difference between analog and continous??

— 116.✗.✗.97


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