• entries
  • comments
  • views

"Digital download" is a bad descriptor.

2nd Amendment Brony


Continuing in my line of grammar rants, I talk about the phrase "digital download" or "digital content." The problem is when the term "digital" is used to mean "...as opposed to content on physical disk." For example, a movie package might say "DVD, Bluray, and digital download."


The truth is DVD and Bluray are digital as well. Wikipedia defines digital as information being stored in discrete segments. People say "digital" when perhaps they should say "medialess." I have seen DVDs that say "digital copy on disc." Well I sure hope so, that's what I'm buying! DVD means "digital versatile disc." The information is digital regardless of how it is stored.


In fact, digital does not imply electronic. A punch card machine is digital. Also, you can have analog electronic machines. You could say that the telegraph was a digital communications device, since it used dots and dashes.


So if someone says "I don't buy CDs any more, I buy only digital," you can remind them that CDs are digital. What is a more correct term? Medialess? You could call a download a form of media. Electronic copy? A file on a USB stick is no more or less electronic than a CD. Maybe we should just refer to file type or encoding scheme. An mp3 can be on any media. You could store an mp3 on ticker tape.


Recommended Comments

Digital is the opposite of analog.


Analog means one input, and one output. Light bulbs is a good example: input electricity, get light energy.


Digital mean many one or more inputs with multiple outputs. Any gaming console is a great example: input electricity output sound, images, and logic.

Share this comment

Link to comment

Digital is the opposite of analog. Analog means one input, and one output

No, you are thinking of parallel versus serial. Old television was analog, yet it had visual and audio information encoded in a radio wave.

Share this comment

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.