May 25, 2006
Written by Joris Evers
SEATTLE–If it is up to Microsoft, the omnipresent JPEG image format will be replaced by Windows Media Photo.
The software maker detailed the new image format Wednesday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here. Windows Media Photo will be supported in Windows Vista and also be made available for Windows XP, Bill Crow, program manager for Windows Media Photo said in a presentation.
“One of the biggest reasons people upgrade their PCs is digital photos,” Crow said, noting that Microsoft has been in contact with printer makers, digital camera companies and other unnamed industry partners while working on Windows Media Photo. Microsoft touts managing “digital memories” as one of the key attributes of XP successor Vista.
In his presentation, Crow showed an image with 24:1 compression that visibly contained more detail in the Windows Media Photo format than the JPEG and JPEG 2000 formats compressed at the same level.
Still, the image in the Microsoft format was somewhat distorted because of the high compression level. Typically digital cameras today use 6:1 compression, Crow said. Windows Media Photo should offer better pictures at double that level, he said. “We can do it in half the size of a JPEG file.”
Not only does compression save storage space, which is especially important for devices such as cell phones and digital cameras, a smaller file can also print faster, transfer faster and help conserve battery life on devices, Crow said. “Making a file that is smaller has all kinds of benefits.”
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