Pulse Code Modulation

Short for pulse code modulation, a sampling technique for digitizing analog signals, especially audio signals. PCM samples the signal 8000 times a second; each sample is represented by 8 bits for a total of 64 Kbps. There are two standards for coding the sample level. The Mu-Law standard is used in North America and Japan while the A-Law standard is use in most other countries.

PCM is used with T-1 and T-3 carrier systems. These carrier systems combine the PCM signals from many lines and transmit them over a single cable or other medium.

PCM is also the usual digital method used for music audio playback of music CDs. While supported by DVDs, DVDs have a greater volume so they use Linear PCM, which has a higher sampling rate – up to 24-bit at a sampling rate of 96 kHz.

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