Microsoft move could be the end of the JPEG

Microsoft Corp. will soon submit to an international standards organization a new photo format that offers higher-quality images with better compression, the company said today.The format, HD Photo -- recently renamed from Windows Media Photo -- is taking aim at the JPEG format, a 15-year-old technology widely used in digital cameras and image applications. Both formats take images and use compression to make the file sizes smaller so more photos can fit on a memory card. During compression, however, the quality of the photo tends to degrade.

Microsoft said HD Photo's lightweight algorithm causes less damage to photos during compression, with higher-quality images that are half the size of a JPEG. The format can also accommodate "lossless" and "lossy" compression, two methods of compressing photo data with different effects on image quality. Microsoft said adjustments can be made to color balance and exposure settings that won't discard or truncate data that occurs with other bit-map formats.

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Does this sound like JPEG 2k? Changing formats takes forever. GIF is still required in many places even if PNG is vastly superior, has been available for many years and is an open format.

Although it's by Microsoft, I'm largely satisfied that it will be under the Open Specification Promise - which means that open graphics manipulation software like GIMP would be able to play with the format in the future. Something much better with a smaller size to replace JPG, which is a very old format, is certainly a good thing.

Truth be told, it is time for something to replace JPG. Most photographers hate the format, because of distortion. If MS has something better, that can be used on the web, then by all means lets see it.

Personally I think this is a great thing, just using it on the web will show it's need for it.

The ability to save much higher quality images for the same file size will be great for websites and such.

For those of you wanting to see the format in action check out:
http://labs.live.com/photosynth/

They are using the new format for the photo collections. And for all the people who say MS isn't innovative, you can't tell me Photosynth isn't innovative. It's by far one of the coolest forms of viewing photos seen to date.

I'm not to fond of innovation, but an improved version of JPEG might be good, if it is widely supported. Photosynth is like what - 5 years old now? Having one or two wild'n wacky projects does not make the giant Microsoft organization innovative.

CheeseCow said,
I'm not to fond of innovation, but an improved version of JPEG might be good, if it is widely supported. Photosynth is like what - 5 years old now? Having one or two wild'n wacky projects does not make the giant Microsoft organization innovative.

How many projects does it take to make them innovative then? Apparently there is a set number? There is nothing out there that allows you to interact with photos in such a rich way as photoshynth, I'd definatly call that innovative no matter how old it may be. Innovation doesn't have to be some big splashy public thing, which is what so many feel is a requirement for something being innovative.

I'd be highly willing to bet there are a lot of innoavative things MS does that the public doesn't know about in projects that either havn't shipped and even in products that have.

Microsoft needs to update Paint first, then talk about everyone switching formats. Because we all know most people use Paint for everything!

Yeah like how GIF files are all going away... except oh wait, they're still around... it's so stupid because JPEG can be saved as nearly lossless, and your software still has to support GIF and JPG and now PNG (MS didn't want to use PNG why -- oh yeah because they don't OWN it), and NOW this new format too -- because if you only support the new format, no other pages will work. i.e. you have 1 jpg on a page with 50 whatever-stupid-format pics, now you need code to support those other formats or that page won't work.
They suck, they just want to push another MS-owned format on us so they can charge us all to use it, the same crap they pulled with the FAT file system and which the JPEG group themselves and CompuServe have all tried in the past. For god's sake why can't people just use PNG, an open format that AFAIK NOBODY owns and supports every possible format, feature, function that you could ever possibly want, and will never be forcefully obsoleted, and you won't ever be sued for using them... PNG PNG PNG PNG!
Anyways, Windows Media format has been around for how many years and still hasn't grabbed itself more than a fraction of the market share, maybe one of the bigger fractions but still, MPG and AVI, even QuickTime and RealAudio are still competitors. I think we'll just end up with another competing format which we have to support.
Stupid MS.

"it's so stupid because JPEG can be saved as nearly lossless, and your software still has to support GIF and JPG and now PNG"

HD Photo will have better quality than JPEG at a smaller file size. I can't object to that.
Oh and it bothers me so much that my software will support more than one format. That's sooo terrible!

"they just want to push another MS-owned format on us so they can charge us all to use it"

We already know that HD Photo is royalty free, no need to try and spread anti-MS FUD and hysteria.

"Anyways, Windows Media format has been around for how many years and still hasn't grabbed itself more than a fraction of the market share"

Yeah, poor VC-1 just never went anywhere did it? As for WMA that is a closed format, no comparison here.

PNG have greater file sizes that JPEG. And software supporting this image formats is not something hard to do.. problems come when you hardware (digital cameras) has to support a new format.

Forgot to mention, the reason gif is still around is because it's replacement, png, was not supported in IE until recently. Expect to see gif go the way of the dodo now that IE7 is out however.

I LOVE MICROSOFT they seem to know how to sell water to a whale. This is a marketing ploy they dtake the name HD and it will make the masses come. I think im goign to come up with a HD oil painting and see how it sells.

cterry511 said,
I LOVE MICROSOFT they seem to know how to sell water to a whale. This is a marketing ploy they dtake the name HD and it will make the masses come. I think im goign to come up with a HD oil painting and see how it sells. :cool:

Yeap, Microsoft really could sell Ice to Eskimos. They'd call it Microsoft Ice 2009 and claim it has a load of new features that regular, old, tired Ice doesn't have and that everyone needs. Like enhanced freezing, and cool new coolness features. And then they'd charge you $40 a bag for it and claim that that's a fair price.

Better image quality and smaller than jpeg, time to move over jpeg its time for another to take your crown.
And so what if its a standard designed by Microsoft.

means its only for windows, no mac or linux support, plus people would want to use this may have to pay loyalties.

eilegz said,
means its only for windows, no mac or linux support, plus people would want to use this may have to pay loyalties.

The word is royalties, and no they won't have to pay them.

It also doesn't mean Windows only. But think whatever you want to think.

"means its only for windows, no mac or linux support, plus people would want to use this may have to pay loyalties."

It's not Windows, that would be stupid since the web isn't Windows only either. It's being submitted as an open standard.

Finaly, a better file format with good compression and better image quality. JPEG is getting old and JPEG2000 never took off as a new format. If all the power of MS can push a new format, i'm all for it.

And it's even lossless if needed.

algorithm causes less damage to photos during compression, with higher-quality images that are half the size of a JPEG

and with a lot of DRM in it :P

Any time I see the letters "MS" and "HD" together I start wondering how long before DRM is going to be included...

DRM isn't evil, I can see good uses for having that. Imagine being able to protect your photos and not have people stealing them anymore for example.

TRC said,
DRM isn't evil, I can see good uses for having that. Imagine being able to protect your photos and not have people stealing them anymore for example.

Or, imagine having HD movies whose picture is degraded intentionally if you're not using DRM-enabled monitors.

Oh wait, Vista already has that...

No the HD-DVD and BluRay specification has that, Vista only follows the specificatiosn of the fomrat to be allowed to support them at all in the OS. on and it doesn't do it yet and wont' for a logn time since the ICT token isn't in use yet. so stop spreading FUD.

8-n-1 said,
Any time I see the letters "MS" and "HD" together I start wondering how long before DRM is going to be included... :rolleyes:

I can see that too. If you're trying to view a HD photo you don't have a license for, the picture quality will be degraded so it looks like something the dog chewed out
They're already doing this with video in Vista, so applying it to photos would be the next logical step. As it doesn't work with current image formats, they need to come up with a new format for this, that's what HD Photo is for.

i dont know but microsoft standards and formats its always be a problem for most of the users remember .doc and xls both are pretty a standard and a good example of how microsoft formats conflicts with their own thing, every new version bring a complete mess of problems and now they are migrating to docx y xlsx.

I dont think that i will use microsoft new format unless i really need it,

Sounds good in theory, if it means I can fit 1500 pics on an sd card instead of 600 - 700 then I'm in.

Of course the x2 compression is only in theory, also a device that support this new format will surely cost a lot more that a 1gb sd.

because, I suppose, these devices use chips that are designed to save data directly to JPEG, or something like that. If they used software processing they would drain up more battery and probably take longer to save the pictures.
New devices supporting a new format, would cost more simply because newer chips would have to be installed! The same way the ipod has a chip that specifically decodes mp3,aac and such formats, and you can install linux and decode ogg but it will drain your battery fast :P

It was actually specified that the format was usable on existing Camera chips. and thus a firmware upgrade could add this to any camera supporting jpeg. as logn as the camera can be upgraded and the manufacturer is nice and makes FW ugprades(except for big bugs) and willing to add this to existing cameras.

~InstaShock~ said,
blaa de blaa de blaaaa...JPEG cannot be killed just like MP3 could not be killed by WMA...

if you want to hold on to an aged, clearly lacking technology, go ahead. And your comparison between mp3 and wma has nothing to do with jpeg and hd photo

XerXis said,
if you want to hold on to an aged, clearly lacking technology, go ahead.

Technology should indeed move forward, but not at any price, specially when we already have perfectly valid free alternatives like OpenEXR.

MP3 is going to be "killed" by MP4 (slowly but surely)

Isn't mp4 just a container? AFAIK you can still put mp3 inside a mp4 container.

ichi said,
Isn't mp4 just a container? AFAIK you can still put mp3 inside a mp4 container.

Yeah, he probably means AAC in a mp4 container or something like that.

LOL I could have sworn I had read this news somewhere else but I wasn't sure... it was here after all. And yeah, the title of this news is totally misleading... JPEG is going to be a hard nut to crack...

I realize that MS is not spending their time and resources on this project out of the goodness of their hearts, but does anyone know if this algorithm will be open? Unfortunately a technology can be ISO approved and still be 100% proprietary.

i bet it will be proprietary, but who knows... anyways...
I bet there will be support for it on all important platforms, they couldnt establish it otherwise that well...
meaning Mac/*nix/win/portable OS... dont mind... the only thing you might be affraid of is support for legacy software like Win 2000, but they better support that as well if theyre clever.

Glassed Silver:mac

Doesn't the license specify this format cannot be implemented in open source software?

It seems like MS has decided to fight OSS (and any other potential competitor, while they're at it) by releasing propietary formats and expecting them to become standards, leaving OSS out of the loop with the licenses those "standards" are distributed under.

While that's probably not the only motivation behind the development of this image format, it's still something to be concerned about. Last thing we need is another doc-style mess.

"Doesn't the license specify this format cannot be implemented in open source software?"

No, it certainly does not.

Open-source software also can support HD Photo, Weisberg said, even though Microsoft holds patents for the technology. HD Photo technology is covered by the Open Specification Promise, an agreement under which Microsoft pledges not to assert its patent rights.
Source

There's a difference between the actual code microsoft released freely not being allowed to be used in open source apps and the format.

when the standard is finalized, and probably even now, anyone is free to make their own HDC interpreter/codec code according to the specs of HDP.

ichi said,
Doesn't the license specify this format cannot be implemented in open source software?

If that is true, then this format will go the way of AOL's crap ART format. Mozilla, Opera and Apple would take the attitude of "couldn't care less", so won't consider putting it near web browsers (which is where most people would use JPEG). All the "I'd use it for my camera shots" mean nothing if noone (apart from a Microsoft product) will display it.
PNG came about as a direct result of the stupid Unisys patent (now expired, go make GIFs all you like) and only recently has Microsoft allowed this format to be able to be displayed in IE. Even then it isn't full support.

So where can I go to see one of these files in action? Is viewing support built into Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7? And when will I be able to create these files myself?

Yeh,

People will have reservations about using it at first in general desktop usage - but Digital Cam manu's will be very quick to adopt it if this is accurate, forcing people to use it wherever possible.

maybe i should wait for my buy on a new cam till a model id buy supports it.
this seems hella interesting.
finally a better method.
some cams really tend to make a very lossy compression...
would be awesome since i wouldnt have to get a RAW cam, since this format supports both, lossy and non-lossy compression.
now lets just see cams coming out and see how the battery life will be affected, i guess it wont be a huge deal.
i hope at least :D

Glassed Silver:mac

Youll likely be waiting a long time. Firstly it has to pass the standards and god knows how long that could take (*mumbles* Wirless N *mumbles*) and then you have to wait for it to actually be adopted by a camera company which again is a case of "god knows when".

It would be nice but I cant see this being in mainstread cams for a fair while, at least a year depending how quick it passes the standards boards.

Smigit said,
Youll likely be waiting a long time. Firstly it has to pass the standards and god knows how long that could take (*mumbles* Wirless N *mumbles*) and then you have to wait for it to actually be adopted by a camera company which again is a case of "god knows when".

It would be nice but I cant see this being in mainstread cams for a fair while, at least a year depending how quick it passes the standards boards.


youre right... and actually seeing some fun time coming soon, id still go with my dad's 5MP HP one which is awesome...
i can wait 1 year, thats no prob, i could financiate it in a year (earliest) anyways... theres lots of stuff to be bought and then again i also want a camcorder which will make my wallet a bit lighter as well...

Glassed Silver:mac

Smigit said,
Youll likely be waiting a long time. Firstly it has to pass the standards and god knows how long that could take (*mumbles* Wirless N *mumbles*) and then you have to wait for it to actually be adopted by a camera company which again is a case of "god knows when".

It would be nice but I cant see this being in mainstread cams for a fair while, at least a year depending how quick it passes the standards boards.

Ummm support for Wireless N came REALLY fast. Long, long before the standard was actually approved *mumbles* draft n products *mumbles*

Draft-N products were around a pretty long while before the standard was approved. Support for that was picked up really fast... usually is with new technology for the "buzz-word" type guys out there. Lots of money coming from them.

jak0bk said,
Draft-N products were around a pretty long while before the standard was approved. Support for that was picked up really fast... usually is with new technology for the "buzz-word" type guys out there. Lots of money coming from them.
Yeah I'm well aware and thats what my comment was in regards to. It can take a LONG time for a format to pass the standards boards. Now a camera company *may* adopt the format earlier but thats yet to be seen and with JPEG and RAW being quite handy too there may be less incentive to get in early as there was with the wireless N which had a huge speed benefit but unfortunatly the whole "draft" situation also brought about some ugly compatability issues.

The shame is that it might well be better than JPEG but Microsoft has such a poor track record with "standards" that few will trust it in the current climate. I suppose in a few years once people forget the MS aspect it might take off, but I really do doubt it. The price they pay for their past practises I feel.

Feel free to flame me with the usual tripe...

Well the only issue that may pose would be at the standards body I think. Beyond that I doubt many people will care where the format came from and most consumers wouldn't likely know it was a MS format unless the file extension hinted at that which I doubt it would.

Personally I only use png images where I can for quality reasons.

Hopefully this takes over everything, as I feel quality and size currently don't go together well.

Professional photographers use RAW images and TIFF, the use of JPG e mostly for thumbnails and fast viewing purposes... and as a Graphic Designer I can say I use either TIFF or PDF.

I have serious reservations in using HDP ever...

Jolidog said,
Professional photographers use RAW images and TIFF, the use of JPG e mostly for thumbnails and fast viewing purposes... and as a Graphic Designer I can say I use either TIFF or PDF.

I have serious reservations in using HDP ever...

why? because it's a microsoft format? stop using TIFF then

XerXis said,

why? because it's a microsoft format? stop using TIFF then ;)

So the person hates it simply because it's made by Microsoft? Where exactly did you get that from reading the post?

Sounds to me the person just prefers the more high quality formats. Take your comment and go troll elsewhere.

XerXis said,

why? because it's a microsoft format? stop using TIFF then ;)


probably because compatibility will not be as good. as a professional you don't mind RAW taking up a whole crapload of space, since you can afford enough memory.

but for me as hobby-photographer this one will be the best solution :)

Glassed Silver:mac

NightmarE D said,

So the person hates it simply because it's made by Microsoft? Where exactly did you get that from reading the post?

Sounds to me the person just prefers the more high quality formats. Take your comment and go troll elsewhere.

i asked him why, he cannot judge a format that doesn't exist yet, so that was a valid question, if you call that trolling you're obviously a troll yourself

This really doesn't have anything to do with professional photographers though. It's about HD Photo replacing JPEG. The space savings and improved picture quality for consumer digital cameras alone could be what pushes this format for the win.

XerXis said,
i asked him why, he cannot judge a format that doesn't exist yet, so that was a valid question, if you call that trolling you're obviously a troll yourself

Not really. Professionals are going to continue to use those formats until they find one that's of use to them. And I have no clue where you got the idea that he won't use it because it's "from Microsoft", but you're obviously jumping to conclusions, and also trying to take a shot at him as if he's an "anti-MS" nut.

Your question though maybe was valid but the way you expressed it was ill-mannered.

TRC said,
This really doesn't have anything to do with professional photographers though. It's about HD Photo replacing JPEG. The space savings and improved picture quality for consumer digital cameras alone could be what pushes this format for the win.

sounds good although only way i would be for it is if it can be used on pretty much anything without crappy royalty fee's etc... cause i need webbrowsers and all sorts of stuff to be able to use it like jpeg is today otherwise the new format will suck.... but half the file size with same quality or same file size with 2 times the quality sounds nice as i dont see any drawbacks from that perspective

It already sorta is, I've seen people use PNG and GIF more and more, but JPEG is still around because it's the default for everything out there. All it takes are the profoessional photographers to switch to HDP and JPEG will slowlly fade away.

PNG was designed to replace GIF not JPEG. GIF and PNG are designed for pictures with a small amount of colours (like cartoons for example), for pictures with millions of colours obviously GIF and PNG are not designed for it, since when you use PNG on a complex picture with millions of colours the filesize goes through the roof.

JPEG is still best for photos, maybe this HD photo format will spell the end for it.

Ah! I understand now. Thanks for the clear up, TRC. I thought the article said "recently renamed to Windows Media Photo."

And yeah, that would be confusing. HDP for the win now I guess. :O!