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New Microsoft HD Photo technology opens new possibilities for developers

1 August 2007

Web application and software developers alike promise to benefit from new HD Photo technology developed by Microsoft that is being considered for standardisation by the Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG).

Standardisation 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.

Microsoft says that its HD Photo technology offers increased image fidelity, preserving the entire original image content and enabling high-quality exposure and color adjustments in the image.

Other advantages include the option to manipulate the image as compressed data, combining both lossless and lossy image compression in the same design, and retaining the full dynamic range and color fidelity data from a camera's image sensor.

The 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 LiveTM Earth.

The HD Photo image-coding technology, was incubated in Microsoft Research and developed by Microsoft's Core Media Processing team.

HD Photo technology is already shipped in Windows Vista®.

Microsoft submitted HD Photo to JPEG, which is considered as the premier standards organisation for image compression technologies.

JPEG has submitted a new project to its national body members, 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 standardisation of systems integration technologies focused on the current and emerging needs of consumer and professional digital photography.

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

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