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This paper considers the problem of efficient transmission of vector sources over a digital noiseless channel. It treats the problem of optimal allocation of the total number of available bits to the components of a memoryless stationary vector source with independent components. This allocation is applied to various encoding schemes, such as minimum mean-square error, sample-by-sample quantization, or entropy quantization. We also give the optimally decorrelating scheme for a source whose components are dependent and treat the problems of selecting the optimum characteristic of the encoding scheme such that the overall mean-squared error is minimized. Several examples of encoding schemes, including the ideal encoder that achieves the rated istortion bound, and of sources related to a practical problem are discussed.