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1. Introduction

Compression is the process of reducing the size of a data file whilst still retaining most, or even all, of the original information. You can compress most types of file, including documents, music files, video and image files.

Data streaming services compress their stream in real-time to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to provide the service. If they streamed uncompressed data, the service would be very slow and high in bandwidth requirements.

Why do we compress files? The main reasons are:

  • Less storage space required for files
  • Faster download and uploads
  • Smaller file attachments for email
  • Coping with slow links when streaming

We will look at compression in more detail over the next few pages.