When is the right time to use compression?
On the subject of compression, a new paper by David W. Miller and Adam Fischbach in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that compression technologies have reached a level of maturity that is likely to have major implications for the way we store and display media.
In particular, the authors note that while there is increasing evidence that compression is a viable tool for digital content preservation, it is not yet well understood what effect it might have on the way content is presented on the Internet.
“In many ways, compression is already well-suited for online content storage,” they write.
“Its use on the web has increased, with its ability to compress video and audio at higher bit rates and more quickly than ever before.”
For instance, the researchers write that while most web sites are able to load video files at 720p (the standard for high-definition video) and 1080p (for standard audio), “this is not the case for the most popular media content, which can load at high quality at 480p and 640p.”
That means that a site that originally appeared to be using compression to save its video file would in reality be using it to display its video content in a way that is more like an image.
The authors write that compression has a number of advantages.
For one, the files are stored in a more efficient format that is less susceptible to degradation.
“The ability to store the compression artifacts in a different format means that the video can be rendered at a lower quality, reducing file size and file consumption,” they say.
“However, there are also trade-offs in the tradeoff: the quality of the output will be reduced for every additional megabyte of data transferred, making compression less efficient for the web.”
Moreover, compression works well with the type of content being stored.
“Encoding can also reduce the overall file size of the file,” they note.
“This can be especially important for web sites, since they have to compress content that they do not want to consume.
A compression lossless format can also be useful when a web site has to store large files on disk and has little room to spare for additional data.”
The paper’s authors also note that compression technology has a history of growing over the past few years, which suggests that the technologies used to store and load media have not been entirely static.
“We believe that the future will likely include the development of new compression technologies and their deployment across a range of media types, including online video,” they wrote.
“Thus, we expect that a number and variety of new and emerging technologies will be deployed.”
Miller and Fischach point out that many of these technologies have not yet reached the level of sophistication that they are capable of delivering.
They note that “the majority of compression technologies are currently not supported by web standards, and the tools to manipulate compression artifacts are still relatively new.”
For example, “a single image can have a number or even hundreds of artifacts that can be compressed to be rendered into an image.”
“Web browser developers have been working hard to build new APIs to manage compression artifacts and to extract the metadata from the images themselves,” the authors write.
“[The authors] describe a number web browser-specific tools that would help web developers manage the artifact-detection tasks associated with the web browser, and that can potentially enable a number more browser-wide features, including improved image-recompression capabilities.”
In addition to helping users of web browsers save time and bandwidth, compression technologies also have an important impact on how we view media.
As Miller and W.M. write, “it is likely that compression will become a primary tool in the future for the preservation of media content.”
That will mean that “users will have to learn to work with content that has been stored in less efficient formats, and they will need to think about the ways in which they can improve the quality and/or quality of their media.”
As more and more people start to access and manipulate media in more ways, the web will be able to store media content in formats that are more efficient and more robust.
This will mean the end of the web as we know it, and of the need for a more robust and robust web.
“The authors add that “there is also a clear need to rethink the way in which media content is stored on the internet, as it will be increasingly difficult for web users to view and share media content that does not have the benefits that we want to see in digital media.
This includes both online video and other media, where a high-quality, compressed video file may be more attractive to users than a high quality, uncompressed one.
“Miller is a professor of media and digital humanities at the University of Colorado at Boulder