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An analysis of the rate-distortion performance of differential pulse code modulation (DPCM) schemes operating on discrete-time auto-regressive processes is presented. The approach uses an iterative algorithm for the design of the predictive quantizer subject to an entropy constraint on the output sequence. At each stage the iterative algorithm optimizes the quantizer structure, given the probability distribution of the prediction error, while simultaneously updating the distribution of the resulting prediction error. Different orthogonal expansions specifically matched to the source are used to express the prediction error density. A complete description of the algorithm, including convergence and uniqueness properties, is given. Results are presented for rate-distortion performance of the optimum DPCM scheme for first-order Gauss-Markov and Laplace-Markov sources, including comparisons with the corresponding rate-distortion bounds. Furthermore, asymptotic formulas indicating the high-rate performance of these schemes are developed for both first-order Gaussian and Laplacian autoregressive sources.