What is PCM?

Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a method used to digitally represent sampled analog signals, which was invented by Alec Reeves in 1937. It is the standard form for digital audio in computers and various Blu-ray, Compact Disc and DVD formats, as well as other uses such as digital telephone systems. A PCM stream is a digital representation of an analog signal, in which the magnitude of the analogue signal is sampled regularly at uniform intervals, with each sample being quantized to the nearest value within a range of digital steps.

PCM streams have two basic properties that determine their fidelity to the original analog signal: the sampling rate, which is the number of times per second that samples are taken; and the bit depth, which determines the number of possible digital values that each sample can take.

 

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