Both high-density magnetic and optical recording media give rise to bit errors which are bursty in nature. Such bursts are often moderately short (less than a few hundred bits) but occasionally much longer (several thousand bits). Modeling such a channel by a three-state Markov chain (with different parameters depending on the recording medium), various techniques to virtually eliminate errors are investigated. Results are given for specific examples involving both magnetic and optical media. A practical implementation of these techniques is described, which uses a convolutional encoder and sequential decoder implemented on a single LSI chip. For digital audio applications this LSI encoder-decoder, together with a few general-purpose memories and support chips, can provide a close approximation to the theoretical performance of the analytical model in the space of a small printed-circuit card.
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