Microsoft on Tuesday announced that the Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG) is considering standardization of the company’s HD Photo file format. Tentatively titled “JPEG XR,” HD Photo was introduced with the release of Windows Vista.
HD Photo — once known as Windows Media Photo is a new file format for digital photography that Microsoft claims offers better image fidelity, higher image compression efficiency more flexible editing features. It supports both lossy and lossless compression. Microsoft claims that HD Photo offers image comparable to JPEG-2000 with less performance and memory drain, and that it can deliver better quality images than JPEG at less than half the file size.
The news met with applause from leading image sensor and camera makers including Foveon and Hasselblad. It also elicited a statement from a spokesman for the JPEG itself.
“We are voting on consideration of this new file format for standardisation because we believe it will foster breakthrough, innovative products and services in the photography and printing industries that will have widespread value for consumers around the world,” said Dr. Daniel Lee, convener of the Joint Photographic Expert Group.
The ballot deadline for the new project considering JPEG XR is October 2007, and finalizing and publishing the completed standard may take up to a year after that.
Although Microsoft has patents on the technology used in HD Photo, it has stated plans to make the specification available under its Open Specification Promise, which makes available certain Microsoft technologies to open-source developers.