JPEG 2000

DICOM used to support many different JPEG compression algorithms (eighteen in total). Unfortunately, too many options increase the chance for non-interoperability. Many of these have been retired and eliminated.

JPEG has a disadvantage that it creates visible block artifacts when compressing images close to 10 to 1 or more, and is, therefore, not visually appealing.

Wavelet compression algorithms do not have the same artifacts, but rather "rice" artifacts, which do not look as bad, and seem to perform somewhat better because they can tolerate a higher compression ratio.

These compression algorithms were approved by the JPEG 2000 Committee, and are now incorporated in the DICOM standard as an official Transfer Syntax. That means that pre-2002 applications that were using wavelet compression now can make their implementations JPEG 2000 compliant and change from proprietary to DICOM standard support.

JPEG 2000 offers additional features that may be important for some medical applications which use DICOM. In particular, the progressive (hierarchical) encoding, which allows for displaying the image as soon as the monitor resolution matches the communicated information, will accommodate wide area network solutions effectively.

The JPEG committee home page is http://www.jpeg.org/.



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