Differences between Digital and Analog System.

Digital as well as Analog Systems, both are used to transmit signals from one place to another like audio/video. Digital systems use binary format as 0 and 1, whereas analog systems use electronic pulses with varying magnitude to send data. Read through this article to find out more about digital and analog systems and how they are different from each other.

What is a Digital System?

A system of components like a computer which uses discrete time signals to operate is called a digital system. Digital systems uses such signals that have square shaped waveforms. Digital systems first accept the outside data in the form of analog signal, then transforms them into digital signal by employing a sampling technique. Once an equivalent digital signal is produced, the system uses this to produce a desired output. Due to this conversion process, digital systems are slower in comparison to analog systems.

But digital systems have several advantages such as noise free data transmission, efficient, easy to implement, cost effective, more reliable, etc. Because of all these advantages, the digital are more popular these days.

What is an Analog System?

A system that uses continuous time signal for processing is known as an analog system. The analog signals or continuous time signals are the signals whose magnitude continuously changes with time. Most analog systems use continuous time signals having sinusoidal waveforms.

Analog systems are much faster in comparison to digital systems because these systems accept the signals in their original form, and hence there is no need of signal transformation. However, the data transmission through analog systems is badly affected by electronic noise during transmission.

Another major drawback of analog systems is that they consume more power as compared to digital systems. These days, analog systems are not so frequently used in general purpose applications, though they are still used in specialized applications.

Difference between Digital and Analog System

The following table highlights the important differences between a Digital System and an Analog System −

Factor Digital System Analog System
Signal Type Digital Systems use discrete signals as on/off representing binary format. Off is 0, On is 1. Analog Systems use continuous signals with varying magnitude.
Wave Type Digital Systems use square waves. Analog systems use sine waves.
Technology Digital systems first transform the analog waves to limited set of numbers and then record them as digital square waves. Analog systems records the physical waveforms as they are originally generated.
Transmission Digital transmission is easy and can be made noise proof with no loss at all. Analog systems are affected badly by noise during transmission.
Flexibility Digital system hardware can be easily modulated as per the requirements. Analog system's hardware are not flexible.
Bandwidth Digital transmission needs more bandwidth to carry same information. Analog transmission requires less bandwidth.
Memory Digital data is stored in form of bits. Analog data is stored in form of waveform signals.
Power requirement Digital system needs low power as compare to its analog counterpart. Analog systems consume more power than digital systems.
Best suited for Digital systems are good for computing and digital electronics. Analog systems are good for audio/video recordings.
Cost Digital systems are costly. Analog systems are cheap.
Example Examples of digital systems include Computers, CD, and DVD. Examples of analog systems include analog electronics, voice radio using AM frequency.


The most significant difference between an analog system and a digital system is that, a digital system uses discontinuous-time signals, while an analog system uses continuous-time signals for carrying information.

Updated on: 03-Nov-2023

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