Mathematical representation of numbers to base 2, i.e. with only two states, 1 and 0; on and off; or high and low. This is the basis of the mathematics used in digital systems and computing. Binary representation requires a greater number of digits than the base 10, or decimal, system most of us commonly use everyday. For example, the base 10 number 254 is 11111110 in binary.

There are important characteristics which determine good digital video equipment design. For example, the result of a binary multiplication contains the sum of the number of digits of the original numbers.

Thus:

10101111 x 11010100 = 1001000011101100

(in decimal 175 x 212 = 37,100)

Each digit is known as a bit. This example multiplies two 8-bit numbers and so the result is a 16-bit number. So, for full accuracy, all the resulting bits should be taken into account. Multiplication is a very common process in digital television equipment (e.g. keying, mixes and dissolves) so exactly how such a result is treated to connect with downstream digital products with 8, 10 or 12-bit digital inputs, raises some interesting questions!

*See also: Bit, Byte, Digital mixing, Dynamic Rounding*