XPS and Windows Media Photo

Those tracking the XPS specification should have noticed that in v.75 we introduced Windows Media Photo as a supported image format in XPS (look on page 12).  Windows Media Photo is a new image format in Windows, but is also supported on other platforms.  Here is general overview from http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/wmphoto.mspx:

Windows Media Photo is a new file format for continuous-tone still images that surpasses the limitations of existing image formats. 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 decode


Windows Media Photo delivers a light-weight, high performance algorithm with a small memory footprint that enables practical, in-device encoding and decoding.


You can download the spec from the above site.  If you are developing products on non-Windows platforms (like for printers, scanners, cameras, etc) you can e-mail wmla@microsoft.com for a porting kit.  The porting kit is available this week! The porting kit includes the bitstream spec and source code.


To build XPS products you are required to provide support for Windows Media Photo.


- Andy





Comments (13)
  1. JD on EP says:

    Windows Media Photo: When I read this at CNET, I stared at my screen for awhile: "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

  2. SK says:

    So Microsoft has this vision that all media formats be it Photo, Movie, Music, Documents all fall under the umbrella of Windows Media X.  Kind of a sad future, when there are no choices or opportunties for diversity.

  3. SK says:

    Yet Another Patent Encumbered Proprietary Closed Microsoft Format To Ensure Vendor Lock-In And Lack Of Interoperability.

  4. Alaun Wraein says:

    Remember the .GIF debacle ?

    This is just yet another attempt by a corporation to get their patent bearing format into your software.

    I hope this fails miserably.

  5. bubu says:

    Is there any SDK available to read/write this kind of images in WindosXP?

  6. james johnston says:

    jpeg is patented just as much as gif is and probably as much as WDP will be. Microsoft have too much to lose over limiting the use of this new format. As far as i can see its not closed, theres little or nothing to stop it being ported to linux/mac – and ms may even help with this (no image format will ever take off if photoshop on the mac doesnt support it)

    jpg IS old hat and DOES need replacing – microsoft is the only one with the balls, the sense and the skill at the moment to do it properly.

    at the end of the day, wma and wmv are AMAZING formats, well supported on other platforms (not quite as well as divx et el – but ARE supported) and are at least as good as their ‘open’ counterparts. all in all I cant wait till this is available.

  7. Andy Simonds says:

    Thanks for the comments James.  Yes, we are not trying to take over the world with our image format.  Just offering a more capable format that solves real problems, if people like it – great! If you hate – then hate it because of it’s capabilities or lack thereof – not because it comes from Microsoft.  It will be supported cross platform, we are very passionate about making that happen.

    – Andy

  8.  Have you heard of the Windows Media Photo specification?  Neither had I, until today!…

  9. mts says:

    The examples shown at Winhec 2006 were impressive, especially so when the differences between compressed and original images were examined.  The ability of .wdp to randomize these differences in contrast with JPEG that concentrates them into edges and high-detail portions of the image is important and impressive.

    What is missing is a good technical discussion of the compression algorithm and a comparison with the JPEG-2K wavelet and JPEG-FFT methods.  Especially valuable might be some 2D FFT comparisons between the methods in transform space.

  10. Rui Ribeiro says:

    It seems that Windows Media Photo is a product that is being developed very near to Windows Media Services. Will it be able to use the same DRM infrastructure? Will content producers (photographs) be able to register their photo on a DRM based on Windows Media system?

  11. billcrow says:

    Hi Rui,

    While Windows Media Photo uses the "Windows Media" branding, and is licensed to device partners under terms similar to our other Windows Media technology, it does not use the ASF container structure or any DRM technology.  

    Windows Media DRM is ideal for publishing audio and video, but is really not that useful for still photography.  Most commercial scenarios for digital photos require that the customer receive direct access to the image, which basically defeats the approach used by Windows Media DRM (where the goal is to protect the content all the way to the glass or speakers.)  Also, Windows Media DRM is designed for a "few to many" publishing model; the DRM license gerneration technology does not easily allow anyone to generate their own DRM licenses.  

    While we are looking at DRM for photos for possible support in the future, the initial implementation was deliberately been designed to be simple, lightweight and easy for partners to implement directly in devices.   That said, you can currently use Windows Document Rights Management for very effective management of rights access to digital photos.  

    We’re investigating more comprehensive solutions to manage digital photo access rights, copyright protection and provenance guarantees as features for future versions of Windows Media Photo.

    Bill Crow

    Windows Media Photo Program Manager

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