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Microsoft's HD Photo Technology Is Considered for Standardization by JPEG



REDMOND, Wash., July 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. welcomed the decision, announced today by the Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG), to introduce a new work item for the standardization of Microsoft's(R) 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.

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The HD Photo image-coding technology, incubated in Microsoft Research and developed by Microsoft's Core Media Processing team, offers a host of new features and benefits focusing on the current and emerging needs of digital photography. The technology, which shipped in Windows Vista(R), 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. This next-generation digital image format unlocks new potential for digital photography capture, printing and display devices as well as applications and services.

"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. "This is an excellent example of Microsoft's multibillion-dollar annual investment in R&D, producing a technology that represents a big step forward in multimedia innovation and tangible benefits for consumers."

"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."

"ARM fully supports the standardization of a technology such as Microsoft's HD Photo because it promises to improve the digital photography experience for users," said Lance Howarth, general manager of the Media Processing Division at ARM Holdings PLC. "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."

"The proposed JPEG XR technology simultaneously enables dynamic range extension and preservation of precise details in highly compressed images. This capability is particularly important for applications that demand the high image quality made possible by Foveon's X3 image sensors," said Federico Faggin, president and CEO of Foveon Inc. "We are very excited that there is finally a compression technology that is consistent with our goals of getting the most information out of digital images and enabling uncompromising quality for the full range of digital imaging devices and systems."

"As an organization, Hasselblad believes the proposed JPEG XR file format is a valuable and timely technology to standardize, promising to bring new consumer and professional success and value to the digital photography marketplace," said Peter Stig-Nielsen, director of Digital Camera Products for Hasselblad.

"As a digital camera processor provider, it would be valuable to offer this proposed JPEG XR file format to our camera manufacturer customers who can then deliver innovative products that exploit its higher dynamic range, flexible adjustment of color temperature, better compression ratio, and higher overall original image quality," said David Chen, vice president, Novatek Microelectronics Corp.

About the Standardization Process

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 ballot 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. Throughout, Microsoft will be working closely with JPEG to ensure that this new proposed standard serves the needs of the next generation of consumer and professional photographers and delivers the next experience in image display. If approved, Microsoft will offer a royalty-free grant for its patents that are required to implement the standard.

Microsoft supports thousands of standards in its products and actively participates in more than 400 standards organizations and working groups. In a marketplace of multiple competing products, standards exist to enable interoperability, helping customers achieve their goals of increased productivity and decreased costs.

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(TM) 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.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: pr.mspx./ /CONTACT: Rapid Response Team of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070, rrt@waggeneredstrom.com, for Microsoft Corp.

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