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Microsoft Media Photo

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Microsoft has unveiled a new photo format called "Windows Media Photo." This new file format, designed specifically for digital photographs or all continuous-tone still images, surpasses the limitations of existing image formats.

Senior program manager for WMP, Bill Crow, said that Windows Media Photo will easily enable 25:1 compression ratios for most uses of digital photography, compared to a maximum of about 12:1 for consumer JPEG images before images visibly degrade. If true, this will allow current memory cards and hard drives to store twice as many photographs ~ at the same quality level.

Windows Media Photo Version 0.9 will ship with Windows Vista and WinFX Runtime Components Beta 2. Microsoft will also release tools to support WMP on existing Windows XP systems.

Windows Media Photo supports a wide range of features including:

Multiple color formats for display or print

Fixed or floating point, high-dynamic-range image encoding

Lossless or high-quality lossy compression

Extremely efficient decoding for multiple resolutions and sub-regions

Minimal overhead for format conversion or transformations during decoding

[related stories; Microsoft shows off JPEG rival, Microsoft beats JPEG with new photo format for Vista]

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