Lossy compression

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In information technology, "lossy" compression is a data encoding method which discards (loses) some of the data, in order to achieve its goal, with the result that decompressing the data yields content that is different from the original, though similar enough to be useful in some way. Lossy compression is most commonly used to compress multimedia data (audio, video, still images), especially in applications such as streaming media and internet telephony. By contrast, lossless compression is required for text and data files, such as bank records, text articles, etc. In many cases it is advantageous to make a master lossless file which can then be used to produce compressed files for different purposes; 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 made for a small image on a web page.

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