What is lossless and lossy compression? - Definition from WhatIs.com

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 June 2015
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • hard error

    - A hard error is an issue in RAM that results from a permanent physical flaw in the module caused by a hardware failure or defect. (WhatIs.com)

  • soft error

    - A soft error is an issue that causes a temporary condition in RAM that alters stored data in an unintended way. Errors that change data stored in RAM are either soft errors or hard errors, which re... (WhatIs.com)

  • memory read error

    - A memory read error is a malfunction that occurs when data is being accessed from memory for use by a program, or when a value read from RAM fails to match an expected value. (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.