lossy compression - Computer Definition
Referring to compression techniques that tend to produce artifacts, which are unintended and unwanted distortions or aberrations that result in a degraded signal, but supports very high compression rates. In video systems and communications, the artifacts often show up as jagged blockings or tiling effect known as aliasing, banding of colors, white spots, and even dropped frames. Although the picture is degraded as a result, the compression ratios can be as high as 200:1. The MPEG standards, for example, specify lossy compression in the form of discrete cosine transform (DCT). See also artifact, compression, DCT, lossless compression, MPEG, and signal.
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A compression technique that does not decompress data back to 100% of the original. Lossy methods provide high degrees of compression and result in smaller compressed files, but there is a certain amount of visual loss when restored. Audio, video and some imaging applications can tolerate loss, and in many cases, it may not be noticeable to the human ear or eye. In other cases, it may be noticeable, but not that critical to the application. The more tolerance for loss, the smaller the file can be compressed, and the faster the file can be transmitted over a network. Examples of lossy file formats are MP3, AAC, MPEG and JPEG. Lossy compression is never used for business data and text, which demand a perfect "lossless" restoration. See lossless compression, MP3, AAC, MPEG and JPEG.
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