Digital media

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Digital media (as opposed to analog media) are usually electronic media that work on digital codes. Today, computing is primarily based on the binary numeral system. In this case digital refers to the discrete states of "0" and "1" for representing arbitrary data. Computers are machines that (usually) interpret binary digital data as information and thus represent the predominating class of digital information processing machines. Digital media ("Formats for presenting information" according to Wiktionary:media) like digital audio, digital video and other digital content can be created, referred to and distributed via digital information processing machines. Digital media represents a profound change from previous (analog) media.

Digital data is independent of its interpretation (hence representation). An arbitrary sequence of digital code like "0100 0001" might be interpreted as the decimal number 65, the hexadecimal number 41 or the glyph "A". See also: ASCII, Code.

Florida's digital media industry association, Digital Media Alliance Florida, defines digital media as "the creative convergence of digital arts, science, technology and business for human expression, communication, social interaction and education".

There is a rich history of non-binary digital media and computers.


Data conversion

The transformation of an Analog signal to Digital information via an Analog-to-digital converter is called sampling. According to information theory, sampling is a reduction of information. Most digital media are based on translating analog data into digital data and vice-versa (see digital recording, digital video, television versus digital television).

Data processing

As opposed to analog data, digital data is in many cases easier to manipulate and the end result can be reproduced indefinitely without any loss of quality. Mathematical operations can be applied to arbitrary digital information regardless of its interpretation (you can add "2" to the data "65" and interpret the result either as the hexadecimal number "43" or the letter "C"). Therefore, it is possible to use the same compression operation onto a text file or an image file or a sound file. The foundations of operation on digital information are described in digital signal processing.

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