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A compressor/decompressor (codec) is any dual-function device or application that compresses and decompresses a data object or file. It enables the compression of data or files and the subsequent reversal of the compressed data to its original state.
A compressor/decompressor is also known as a coder/decoder.
Typically, a codec is implemented through the combination of hardware and software solutions. The software provides the algorithm or technique on which the data or file is compressed/decompressed, whereas the hardware provides raw computation to process data and/or physically implement the algorithm.
Codecs are widely used in computing applications to compress and decompress digital data. For example, a network-based compressor/decompressor utility compresses and transmits data from one end, whereas the process is reversed (decompressed) at the other end to retrieve the data in its original form.