# [opendtv] Re: Precision

• From: Mark Schubin <tvmark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
• To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
• Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 23:43:38 -0400

```dan.grimes@xxxxxxxx wrote:
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In video, how much precision is enough?

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First of all, bit depth: 8 bit, 10 bit, 12 bit, higher? What is the graduation difference the eye can see at a particular wavelength? Obviously, it is going to be different at different wavelengths. So what is our target maximum? Or should it be different for different wavelengths?
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I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of digitization in your question. When analog signals are properly digitized, the only difference between 8-bit, 10-bit, or 12-bit coding is signal-to-noise ratio, not "graduations." 10-bit systems have about 12 dB better SNR than 8-bit, and 12-bit systems have about 12 dB more than 10-bit.
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To properly digitize an analog signal, there must be at least one-half of the least-significant bit of level uncertainty (call it noise or dither). If there is, then the necessary quantization error will be uncorrelated noise; if there isn't, the necessary quantization error will be correlated distortion.
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Consider a one-bit PCM audio system. Without at least 1/2-LSB dither, it functions as a gate: Anything above the threshold gets through; anything below doesn't. It sounds unintelligible. With 1/2-LSB of dither, there will be a fairly loud, constant hiss (or some other noise, depending on the spectral shape of the dither), but the audio can be heard reasonably clearly through the noise. Add a bit, and the SNR increases by 6 dB.
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So your question should be how much SNR we want, not how many gradations we need.
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TTFN,
Mark

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