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Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Microsoft's HD Photo Technology Is Considered for Standardization by JPEG

If standardized, Microsoft's new JPEG XR file format is expected enable the next generation of digital photography to deliver better pictures, more features for all digital camera owners.

Microsoft welcomed the decision, announced today by the Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG), to introduce a new work item for the standardization of Microsoft's HD Photo file format. Formal balloting of this work item is being submitted to the JPEG national delegations for approval. Standardization of HD Photo, tentatively titled, "JPEG XR," will ensure that camera, printer, display and software companies will be able to develop products with the confidence of a consistent scheme that ensures interoperability across their properties, according to Microsoft.

The HD Photo image-coding technology offers a host of new features focusing on the current and emerging needs of digital photography. The technology, which shipped in Windows Vista, is a new file format for end-to-end digital photography that offers better image fidelity, higher image-compression efficiency and flexible editing features benefiting today?s and tomorrow?s digital-imaging applications.

"Microsoft is very pleased that the JPEG working group is considering HD Photo as a new standard, and we are committed to working cooperatively with JPEG and its affiliated standards organizations to ensure that this file format serves the needs of the next generation of consumer and professional photographers," said Tom Robertson, general manager of Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft.

"We greatly appreciate the contribution Microsoft is making to the IT ecosystem with the development of HD Photo," said Dr. Daniel Lee, convener of the Joint Photographic Expert Group. "We are voting on consideration of this new file format for standardization 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."

"Higher compression efficiency offers faster wireless uploads for longer battery life and an enhanced dynamic range that will help improve photographs taken in low-light conditions with a mobile phone or digital camera that does not offer sufficient flash assistance," said Lance Howarth, general manager of the Media Processing Division at ARM Holdings PLC.

Microsoft submitted HD Photo to JPEG, which is considered as the premier standards organization for image compression technologies. JPEG has submitted to its national body members a new project, which would include JPEG XR as the new standard, if formally approved. JPEG XR would be the second part of a larger scope of work item called JPEG Systems, which is a forum for standardization of systems integration technologies focused on the current and emerging needs of consumer and professional digital photography.

The deadline for this new project is early October 2007. Finalizing and publishing the completed standard is expected to take up to one year after that.

About the Technology

HD Photo offers increased image fidelity, preserving the entire original image content and enabling high-quality exposure and color adjustments in the image. This new format offers the ability to decode only the information needed for any resolution or region, a key feature supporting Web imaging applications such as Windows Live Earth, and the option to manipulate the image as compressed data. HD Photo combines both lossless and lossy image compression in the same design, and can retain the full dynamic range and color fidelity data from a camera?s image sensor. JPEG XR introduces support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), a major and fundamental new development in digital imaging. HDR provides benefits for both the capture and rendering processes for digital images, leading to improved image success for users at both the consumer and professional level.

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