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Digital Video

Digital video started in the late 1980s as a means of improving recording quality in an analog world, so all the basic details of digital formats, at least for standard-definition television, descend directly from their analog forebears.

Digital composite recording digitized the existing analog composite waveform directly. The signal was sampled at four times the subcarrier frequency (4fsc), 14.32 MHz for NTSC signals. Digital composite was designed as a drop-in replacement for analog composite recorders and—even though they worked superbly for that purpose—they suffered because they recorded a composite signal in a world that was rapidly moving to component video for postproduction purposes. Except for certain niche uses, such as tape-based time-delay, you won’t see many digital composite recorders these days.


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