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{{#invoke:Multiple image|render}} In information technology, lossy compression is the class of data encoding methods that uses inexact approximations (or partial data discarding) to represent the content. These techniques are used to reduce data size for storage, handling, and transmitting content. Different versions of the photo of the cat at the right show how higher degrees of approximation create coarser images as more details are removed. This is opposed to lossless data compression which does not degrade the image. The amount of data reduction possible using lossy compression is often much higher than through lossless techniques.

Well-designed lossy compression technology often reduces file sizes significantly before degradation is noticed by the end-user. Even when noticeable by the user, further data reduction may be desirable (e.g., for real-time communication, to reduce transmission times, or to reduce storage needs).

Lossy compression is most commonly used to compress multimedia data (audio, video, and images), especially in applications such as streaming media and internet telephony. By contrast, lossless compression is typically required for text and data files, such as bank records and text articles. In many cases it is advantageous to make a master lossless file which is to be used to produce new compressed files; for example, a multi-megabyte file can be used at full size to produce a full-page advertisement in a glossy magazine, and a 10 kilobyte lossy copy can be made for a small image on a web page.


Lossy compression sections
Intro  Lossy and lossless compression   Transform coding    Information loss   Lossy versus lossless  Transcoding and editing  Methods   Lowering resolution   See also  Notes  External links  

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