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Volume 10, Number 22
30 March 2004

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Indispensible Digital Connections

Being “digital” has brought a crucial improvement to electronic devices.
To understand this improvement it is important to comprehend the difference between analogue and digital systems. In an analogue system, data is recorded to various media in its original form, and when the data is played, the player tries to reproduce the original data. In all these stages, degradation in quality occurs. Digital technology is very different and much more sophisticated. It makes samples from the original data and transforms it to digits and finally records that to various media formats, more generally optical media like CD or DVD. Thanks to digital technology, it is possible to record, copy and preview data with minimum loss.
Furthermore it is also possible to compress digital data with algorithms like MP3 or DivX for more efficient use. Using digital connections is very important for an optimal level of quality. Consumer electronics companies allow the consumers to profit from digital technology by offering different digital audio/video connections.
Let us examine them:
Coaxial: It is a cheap way to connect the audio source to an audio decoder digitally. The audio is transmitted to the audio decoder where it is decoded and dispersed to the speakers. It does not provide the best possible quality. A standard composite cable can be used for that type of connection but special coaxial cables exist and offer higher quality.
Optical: This is the highest quality digital audio connector for consumer electronics. It uses a fibre optic cable. It is widely used for high quality recording and playback. It can carry multi-channel, uncompressed audio alongside compressed data like Dolby Digital or DTS.
DVI: It stands for Digital Visual Interface. It uses a purely digital video connection. It was developed for preventing the conversion from digital to analogue. In DVD players or digital satellite receivers, data is actually digital but is converted to analogue in order to be previewed. As hi-end digital TVs are becoming widely available, there is no need to convert data to analogue. DVI outputs are available in some graphic cards, DVD players and satellite receivers offers superb image quality.

Eren Tezmen (MAN/III)

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