Analog (or analogue) technology converts something continuous such as movement or sound into something that is similar (analogous) to the original. For example, an analog phone converts sound waves into electrical waves, an analogue clock represents time with its continuously moving hands.
Digital technology converts everything into numbers. A digital clock, for example, shows the time in a number display. A CD is produced by ‘sampling’ continuous sound waves about 44,000 times per second and converting each sample into a binary number that can be read by a CD player or a computer. The high rate of samples per second enables the machine to turn the numbers into a form that is almost identical to the original sound wave.
Some of the advantages of digital technology are:
– digital recordings do not degrade over time, unlike tape recordings, for example.
– digital data can be compressed allowing more data to be transmitted more efficiently.
– the data can be read and manipulated by computers.