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Chapter 9. Video and MPEG Tracks > About Video Compression

About Video Compression

What is compression? Essentially, it’s a method of cheating. Although viewers may see what appears to be many megabytes of information per second, the stored data they’re viewing is actually much smaller, thanks to the various techniques used to reduce the data required to display images and represent that information efficiently.

Compression is crucial to the video track, particularly for movies with a high frame rate. An individual 640-by-480 pixel image—what used to be full-screen on most computers—is about 1 MB. The video that you’re used to seeing on television is about 30 frames per second. If you multiply 1 MB per second by 30 frames per second, you get 30 MB per second of video. (We could also say that the video has a data rate of 30 MB per second.)


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