bit depth

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bit depth

[′bit ‚depth]
(computer science)
In a digital file, the number of colors for an image; calculated as 2 to the power of the bit depth; for example, a bit depth of 8 supports up to 256 colors, and a bit depth of 24 supports up to 16 million colors.

bit depth

(1) The maximum numeric value in a coding system. The bit depth is the maximum number of bits in the system's storage element and represents either the total number of discrete items that can be represented or the largest magnitude. For example, the bit depth of an audio sample determines its dynamic range (see audio bit depth).

(2) The number of bits used to hold a screen pixel. Also called "color depth" and "pixel depth," the bit depth is the maximum number of colors that can be displayed. True Color (16M colors) is required for photorealistic images and video, and most graphics cards (display adapters) today support True Color at their highest resolution. See indexed color.

BitDepth    Number of Colors

  4-bits   16 (Standard VGA)
  8-bits   256 (Super VGA, indexed color)
 16-bits   65,536 (High Color)
 24-bits   16,777,216 (True Color)
 32-bits   16,777,216 + alpha channel

 15-bits   32,768 (An option on some
                earlier graphics cards)

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