Method and apparatus for converting multibit pixel data to a lesser number of bit pixel data and re-expanding the compressed data. Luminance data for each pixel is established as the 5 most significant bits of the original luminance signal. The chrominance information for groups of pixels is subsampled, and a common chrominance value assigned to each of the pixels in a group. The resulting compressed pixels may be 8 bits wide providing economical possibilities to store the 8 bit wide data. The data is expanded for display by adding lower order data bits to the compressed luminance signal data bits. A subsampled chrominance data signal is appended to the expanded luminance data for display.