A CDE Definition
A representation of an object that resembles the original. Analog devices monitor conditions, such as movement, temperature and sound, and convert them into analogous electronic or mechanical patterns. For example, an analog watch represents the planet's rotation with the rotating hands on the watch face. Telephones turn voice vibrations into electrical vibrations of the same shape. Analog implies a continuous signal in contrast with digital, which breaks everything into numbers. Analog video cameras scan their viewing area a line at a time and convert the infinitely varying intensities of red, green and blue (RGB) light into analogous electrical signals. See sampling.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Analog Recording
Audio and video have been analog since the beginning of radio and TV and the first magnetic recording. While the industry is almost entirely digital today, analog is still around in the form of AM/FM radio, audio cassettes and VHS tapes.
The ability to capture the subtle nature of the real world is the advantage of analog techniques. It takes huge digital capacities and bandwidth to match the granularity of many analog systems.
Analog Deteriorates When Copied
Once recorded, analog equipment, no matter how modern, cannot copy signals perfectly. Third and fourth generations of analog audio and video recordings show marked deterioration.
In contrast, by recording in digital from the beginning, or by converting from analog to digital at an early stage, audio and video data can be preserved indefinitely and copied over and over without deterioration. This fact has caused music and movie publishers much anguish and has always been a problem for software publishers. See copyright, DRM, peer-to-peer network and A/D converter.
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