In telecommunication, equalization is the reversal of distortion incurred by a signal transmitted through a channel. Equalizers are used to render the frequency response—for instance of a telephone line—flat from end-to-end. When a channel has been equalized the frequency domain attributes of the signal at the input are faithfully reproduced at the output. Telephones, DSL lines and television cables use equalizers to prepare data signals for transmission.
Equalizers are critical to the successful operation of electronic systems such as analog broadcast television. In this application the actual waveform of the transmitted signal must be preserved, not just its frequency content. Equalizing filters must cancel out any group delay and phase delay between different frequency components.