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To convert something from analog to digital format.
Your computer and mobile devices read and display content in digital format. In order to view non-digital content on your computer, that content first needs to be converted into a digital format the computer can understand. For instance, you might scan a photograph and save it as a digital file so that you can e-mail it to a friend or post it online. If you have old home movies on VHS, there are products available that allow you to convert those movies into a digital format, so you can store them on your computer, or move them to a digital medium, such as DVD or Blu-ray disks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between analog and digital?
Analog represents information by varying physical qualities, whereas digital stores information as a binary file. For instance, a vinyl record is an analogy file, because it stores sound in a continuous series of bumps and grooves. A CD, on the other hand, stores information in a series of 1s and 0s. Photographs are analog, because they are interpreted and reproduced based on the physical quality of light in the actual photo and its negative. Digital photography is stored on a computer as binary data and can be copies or manipulated in digital form.
Can’t some computers view non-digital formats?
Some computers are able to view non-digital format, but the information needs to be converted into a format the computer can understand first. For instance, you can plug an analog video camera into your computer and view your movies on your computer screen. However, your computer needs additional software to convert the signals it is receiving into a format it can read.
Can digital data be transferred to analog?
Yes. Just as you can transfer analog data from your photos, music, or video to a computer, you can transfer your digital computer files to an analog medium. Doing so will require special hardware, and may result in a loss of quality. As analog video and audio systems have become less common, it may be difficult to find appropriate hardware to convert those files to analog. However, most color printers can effectively convert a digital image into an analog image (the physical photograph).
Is digital more accurate than analog?
Based on current technology, most digital devices provide better quality than their analog counterparts; however, since digital files store all types of data in terms of 1s and 0s, it can only approximate at the actual physical qualities. For instance, all digital images have a maximum size they can be enlarged to, based on how many pixels the file collected information for. Enlarging a photo anywhere beyond that point will result in the phenomenon known as pixilation, where you begin to see squared edges around points where two different colors meet. A high-quality analog camera, on the other hand, can produce significantly better image quality at large reproduction sizes. Analog files, in theory, can reproduce exact copies of the original information; however, most current analog applications don’t come anywhere close to this type of quality. Digital cable provides much crisper images than analog cable, and the latest digital audio formats can provide better sound quality than traditional records.