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Definition: wavelet compression

A lossy compression method used for color images and video. Instead of compressing small blocks of 8x8 pixels (64 bits) as in JPEG and MPEG, the wavelet algorithms compress the entire image with ratios of up to 300:1 for color and 50:1 for gray scale.

Wavelet compression also supports nonuniform compression, where specified parts of the image can be compressed more than others. There are several proprietary methods based on wavelet mathematics, which are available in products from companies such as Summus, Ltd. (www.summus.com) and Algo Vision LuraTech GmbH (www.luratech.com). See lossy compression and JPEG 2000.

Amazing Compression Ratios
This picture was compressed at 156:1 with InfinOp's Lightning Strike software. The original file was more than a million bytes and compressed down to 7.5K. This image is amazingly good especially considering that it contains only 128 colors. (Image courtesy of InfinOp, Inc.).