TLA for Run Length Encoding, a type of compression that is based on the fact that long, continuous series of same byte patterns can be efficiently stored by saying "this byte pattern, and this much of it" - for example, "aaaaaaaaaaa" compresses to "11 'a':s".

While this form of compression is pretty weak in general use, it is pretty efficient in specific circumstances - for example, if an image has large continuous areas of same color.

Some image file formats use RLE compression optionally; these include BMP and TGA. Windows start up splash screen images, up to the 3.x era, were typically RLE-encoded bitmaps (with .rle file extension too).

Thanks to wertperch for reminding about Windows splash screens

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