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What is HD Photo and will it survive

What is HD Photo ?

HD Photo is a file format that was developed by Microsoft. This format saves images at almost double the quality of a JPEG file while having the same file size. This file format was previously known as Windows Media Photo or Photon.

The “HD” does not stand for high definition, it is just supposed to cannote the better image quality seen in HDTV. HD Photo is inbuilt in Vista when it released oh so long back!


  • Multiple color formats for display or print
  • Fixed or floating point high-dynamic-range image encoding
  • Lossless or high-quality lossy compression
  • Efficient decoding for multiple resolutions and subregions
  • Minimal overhead for format conversion or transformations during decode


Will HD Photo replace JPG ?

JPG has been an industry standard image format for a long time. When JPEG2000 tried to replace JPG due to its better compression quality, it was soon forgotten ! PNG was made as an alternative to GIF images but it didn’t manage to replace it.

HD Photo is patented by Microsoft, this means you have to agree to Microsoft’s Terms and Conditions in order to use it ! It is very rare to see the software industry change to new formats when the improvements are small (example LP – LazerPlayers, HD DVD). Considering that its been a long time since Vista was released and nothing has changed, it looks like HD Photo will be another format that failed just liked JPEG2000.

What do you think ?

What is HD Photo and will it survive
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  • Jim – 406 not acceptable

    I think HD Photo will fail. PNG and JPEG2000 were superior formats in their days and both failed. What we need is a camera maker to put forward a new format with capabilities like HD Photo; then make their cameras only save to that format. If the format truely is better, other manufacturers will want to use it due to customer demand.