New developments in JPEG

A report from the 69th meeting of the JPEG Committee, held in Warsaw in June, mentions several recent initiatives. The descriptions have a rather high buzzword-to-content ratio, but here’s my best interpretation of what I think they mean. What’s usually called “JPEG” is one of several file formats supported by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, and JFIF would be a more precise name. Not every format name that starts with JPEG refers to “JPEG” files, but if I refer to JPEG without further qualification here, it means the familiar format.

JPEG XS is described as a “low-latency lightweight image coding system.” It appears to be intended for transport and buffering purposes, such as sending images to a display device, rather than long-term file storage.

JPEG PLENO deals with “new imaging modalities such as … light-field, point-cloud and holographic imaging.” These are all approaches to 3-D imaging.

JPEG Privacy & Security deals with restricting access and maintaining data integrity. The idea seems to be to let images be displayed only by an authorized host “while maintaining backwards and forward compatibility to existing JPEG legacy solutions.” A Techdirt article has more details, describing the proposal as “adding DRM to images.” I don’t know how forward compatibility can work, since older software won’t have any way to distinguish authorized from unauthorized use.

JPEG XT is a set of extensions to JPEG for various purposes.

JPEG XR is a different image file format from JPEG. It grew out of Microsoft’s Windows Media Photo, aka HD Photo, and has advantages over JPEG but hasn’t achieved as much acceptance.

JPEG 2000 has been around for a while; it’s unrelated to the JPEG format and is rather complicated. It’s suitable for very large images stored at multiple resolutions, with the ability to present areas of interest in greater detail than the rest. It’s been hindered by a lack of good implementations. The announcement says it’s approved a new version of the OpenJPEG library, which is the reference implementation. When I last worked with it, the performance of OpenJPEG wasn’t very good; hopefully this version improves it.

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