MS are launching a new image format... WMP


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 14, 2006

SEATTLE--If it is up to Microsoft, the omnipresent JPEG image format will be replaced by Windows Media Photo.
The software maker detailed the new image format Wednesday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here. Windows Media Photo will be supported in Windows Vista and also be made available for Windows XP, Bill Crow, program manager for Windows Media Photo said in a presentation.
"One of the biggest reasons people upgrade their PCs is digital photos," Crow said, noting that Microsoft has been in contact with printer makers, digital camera companies and other unnamed industry partners while working on Windows Media Photo. Microsoft touts managing "digital memories" as one of the key attributes of XP successor Vista.
In his presentation, Crow showed an image with 24:1 compression that visibly contained more detail in the Windows Media Photo format than the JPEG and JPEG 2000 formats compressed at the same level.
Still, the image in the Microsoft format was somewhat distorted because of the high compression level. Typically digital cameras today use 6:1 compression, Crow said. Windows Media Photo should offer better pictures at double that level, he said. "We can do it in half the size of a JPEG file."
Not only does compression save storage space, which is especially important for devices such as cell phones and digital cameras, a smaller file can also print faster, transfer faster and help conserve battery life on devices, Crow said. "Making a file that is smaller has all kinds of benefits."
The compression technology is also "smart"--it is possible to process only part of a huge, picture file to show a smaller version, Crow said. Additionally, Microsoft's new image format allows such things as rotating the image without the need to decode it and subsequently encode it again, he said.
The new image format was received with cautious enthusiasm by some of the WinHEC attendees. Ralf Mueller, an application planner at mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson, said he would look into the new format just as his company looked into supporting Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Video.
"Considering our development cycle, I could not see us supporting Windows Media Photo before 2008," Mueller said.
Steven Wells, a part-time professional photographer, said he sees promise in the new file format. "The JPEG artifacts make it almost unusable for professional photographers," he said. "Windows Media Photo is possibly the first viable compression format."
Yet, success will depend on adoption, Wells said. Microsoft will need to get players such as Adobe Systems and Apple Computer on board to win over the graphics professionals, he noted. A major unknown is licensing, which Microsoft has not yet addressed. "Licensing can kill this," Wells said.
Windows Media Photo was developed by the same people who worked on Windows Media Video and Audio, Crow said. The image format takes a new approach to compression as well as color space and color conversion, he said. Furthermore, it gives a lot of flexibility, including in the pixel format and bit rate, Crow said.
Microsoft has finished the first official version of the "porting kit" software needed to build support for Windows Media Photo into devices and platforms other than Windows. It should be available soon, Crow said.
Licensing details for the technology are still being ironed out. These could be a concern, Crow acknowledged, but "the philosophy has been that licensing should not be a restriction" to adoption, he said.

So erm... Why?

We already have supported files types for this sort of thing - TIFF/RAW/PNG etc. And why do we need smaller file sizes? You can download massive images in seconds we all have massive HDDs...


macrumors 65816
Jan 4, 2005
it more for compresion ratios. most images used on the web are jpeg or gif because of there smaller size and less bandwith requirements.

That being said I dont see it taking off and replacing jpeg. Just like the fact that mp3 is still the strongest music format out there in what is used. WMA and AAC and yes even real format are all vastely better in how they shoud at the same compression ratio ill. a 128 bit mp3 is as good as 64bit in the other formates so it takes up 2 times the size for the same lv of quility. But are any of them really taking away mp3 being king of the hill, no on the simple fact that mp3 just works so well and everything can play it.

I see the same thing happening to this new formate. Even though it is vastely better than jpeg it not going to be used.


macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
Boston, MA
as soon as this format is part of windows and millions of people are using it it will be a quasi standard. most people don't even know what these file formats are. they just click it. all windows programs will automatically save in this format. wait till you want to do a powerpoint presentation and it doesn't show your pictures because they are not using this new format.

and soon every webbrowser and every image program will need to support this format.

on the more professional level i think it's not successful. because everybody goes for raw anyway.


Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
New England
Onizuka said:
Like WMA/WMV, you will get worse quality with more compression. There's a better alternative out already...It's called PNG. People should use it.
PNG? :confused:

PNG is a great replacement for GIF, but not JPEG, at least in terms of compression ratio.

Whetever happened to JPEG2000?

EDIT: Personally, I'd like to see a lot more of SVG. Maybe it'll be incorporated in to Leopard and its resolution independence...



macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2005
On an island in Maine
Oh god, there goes Microsoft using their monoply to ruin things for the rest of the computing world. Why can't they ever just take one computer convention and try to not change it to their own twisted ideas? Any Web designer can feel the pain of having to code pages to IE's terrible interpretation of how pages should be coded. Or how about the terrible WMV format, which Microsoft won't even make a Mac app for any more. Now we will have proprietary image files to deal with too!


macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Golly gee, we've already got JPEG2000 and PNG, yet MS wants to create a new image format to do the same thing. Were they to, say, build decent support fo those two formats into their browser (HELLO? How long as it been and you guys sitll can't handle PNGs properly?), then they'd take off and would be open standards.

But no, MS has gotta remake the wheel so they can control the keys. I so desperately hope to see this initiative fail, though with IE being what it is, I'm very afraid. I almost hope Firefox and Safari DON'T support it, just so any website that starts using it can watch 25-30% of their viewers go bye-bye. That's assuming MS doesn't try to lock it down in another attempt to Microsoft-ize the web so they hold the keys to some important technology.

They've already taken several failed shots at it, and one moderately successful shot with ActiveX, although thankfully (and I'm sure due in no small part to Firefox's increasing popularity) Flash is starting to push it out and I'm seeing less and less ActiveX-require sites on the web.