The growing interest and importance of high quality imaging has several roots: Imaging and graphics, or more broadly multimedia, as the predominant means of man-machine interaction on computers, and the rapid maturing of advanced television technology. Because of their economic importance, proposed advanced television standards are being discussed and evaluated for rapid adoption. These advanced standards are based on well known image compression techniques, used for very low bit rate video communications as well. In this paper, we examine the expected improvement in image quality that advanced television and imaging techniques should bring about. We then examine and discuss the data compression techniques which are commonly used, to determine if they are capable of providing the achievable gain in quality, and to assess some of their limitations. We also discuss briefly the potential of these techniques for very high quality imaging and display applications, which extend beyond the range of existing and proposed television standards.