Definition

lossless and lossy compression

Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

Lossless and lossy compression are terms that describe whether or not, in the compression of a file, all original data can be recovered when the file is uncompressed. With lossless compression, every single bit of data that was originally in the file remains after the file is uncompressed. All of the information is completely restored. This is generally the technique of choice for text or spreadsheet files, where losing words or financial data could pose a problem. The Graphics Interchange File (GIF) is an image format used on the Web that provides lossless compression.

On the other hand, lossy compression reduces a file by permanently eliminating certain information, especially redundant information. When the file is uncompressed, only a part of the original information is still there (although the user may not notice it). Lossy compression is generally used for video and sound, where a certain amount of information loss will not be detected by most users. The JPEG image file, commonly used for photographs and other complex still images on the Web, is an image that has lossy compression. Using JPEG compression, the creator can decide how much loss to introduce and make a trade-off between file size and image quality.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • Easter Egg

    - An Easter Egg is an unexpected surprise -- an undocumented procedure or unauthorized feature that's playful in nature or gives credit to the software developer or chip designer. (WhatIs.com)

  • term boosting

    - Term boosting is the ability to assign higher importance to specific words in a search engine query. In Google, for example, advanced search options allow you to identify words that must be found i... (WhatIs.com)

  • greedy algorithm

    - A greedy algorithm is a mathematical process that looks for simple, easy-to-implement solutions to complex, multi-step problems by deciding which next step will provide the most obvious benefit. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About lossless and lossy compressionPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.