The JPEG format for compressed image files is ubiquitous. How could Microsoft hope to replace it?
The company detailed its Windows Media Photo file format at the Windows Hardware Engineering conference. In a comparison of the two file formats, an image that had been saved with 24:1 compression had more detail than one saved in a JPEG format, although some say it was a little distorted.
Most digital cameras save JPEGs with a 6:1 compression, but a Microsoft spokesperson said that images saved as Windows Media Photo files should offer better pictures with higher compression levels.
The compressed files will save on storage space, which is an advantage for consumers, and feature technology that allows for only part of an image to be compressed. In addition, manipulating an image by rotating it will be achieved more quickly, as the file does not need to be decoded and then encoded again.
If Microsoft can drum up enthusiasm for the new format, it will still take time before it reaches consumers, although it could be in use as early as 2008. For professionals to take it seriously, companies like Adobe and Apple will have to be won over by the format, and offer support for it in their software.