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MPEG-2 Compression

The next few paragraphs go “under the hood” to describe the inner workings of MPEG-2 compression and file structure. We'll try to make it as painless as possible, but we won't deny that it's a complex and mind-numbing heap of information. Consider yourself officially forewarned.

Both MPEG formats use a method known as lossy compression to achieve their small file sizes. The basic premise behind lossy compression is that it selectively eliminates, or loses, redundant information that the viewer wouldn't notice anyway. In the case of MPEG-2 compression, redundant visual information is eliminated within a series of individual pictures, or frames, as they're known in video terms.


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