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Difference between PCM and BitStream

Difference between PCM and BitStream

PCM stands for pulse code modulation, while bitstream is just a series of bits. PCM is a more sophisticated encoding method that can result in better sound quality, while bitstream is less accurate but can be processed faster. Understanding the difference between these two formats is essential for anyone who wants to create or work with digital audio files.

What is PCM?

PCM is an acronym for Pulse Code Modulation. PCM is a digital representation of an analog signal where the magnitude of the signal is sampled regularly at uniform intervals, and each sample is quantized to the nearest value within a range of digital steps. PCM encodes the step position within the range rather than the actual voltage amplitude so that it can be regenerated from the code with a precision that is limited only by quantizing noise. PCM is widely used in digital voice applications such as telephony and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) because it allows for very accurate reproduction of the original analog signal with very little distortion. PCM signals can also be easily compressed, which further reduces the amount of data that needs to be stored or transmitted.

What is BitStream?

BitStream digital encoding is a process of converting digital data into a stream of bits that can be transmitted over a variety of media. It is a commonly used format for transmitting digital audio and video data and is also used for broadband data transmission applications such as high-definition television (HDTV) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Bitstream encoding can be used to compress digital data in order to reduce the amount of bandwidth required for transmission. In some cases, Bitstream encoding can also be used to encrypt digital data in order to protect it from unauthorized access.

Difference between PCM and BitStream

  • PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) is a digital encoding scheme where an analog signal is sampled at regular intervals and converted to digital form. The PCM signal contains the amplitude information of the original signal. PCM has good noise immunity but its main disadvantage is that it requires high bandwidth.
  • BitStream is a digital encoding scheme where the data is represented as a stream of bits. The bitStream can be compressed to save bandwidth. Its main advantage over PCM is that it requires less bandwidth but its main disadvantage is that it is more susceptible to errors.


In this article, we’ve outlined the basics of how PCM and bitstream encoding work. We’ve also looked at some of the pros and cons of each method. Hopefully, this information has helped you understand the difference between PCM and bitstream encoding and which one is right for your project.

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