Introducing HD Photo

A New Name and a New License

No, it's not another file format.  We have re-christened Windows Media Photo as HD Photo.  We've listened closely to the feedback from our partners and customers, and in response, we have made some important changes, including this new name.

We have also made a substantial change to the licensing.  The previous Windows Media Photo Device Porting Kit (DPK) evaluation and distribution license agreements are gone.  We have replaced them with a straight-forward click-to-install End User License Agreement (EULA) for the new HD Photo 1.0 Device Porting Kit.  It's now easy for anyone to receive the complete HD Photo DPK, including the compressed bitstream specification and the ANSI-C reference source code.  The DPK is free, and we have eliminated all distribution royalties.  HD Photo is 100% free for all developers.

We're really excited about these major changes!  We've heard the requests and we've responded.

The Latest Downloads

The new HD Photo 1.0 Device Porting Kit (DPK) is now available for download:

Windows developers don't need the DPK; HD Photo is included in Windows Vista and available for Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 with either .NET Framework 3.0 (for managed code applications) or Windows Imaging Component (WIC) for unmanaged code applications.

The HD Photo Feature Specification 1.0 (also included as part of the DPK) is available separately here:

The released version of .NET Framework 3.0 is also available:

The SDK for .NET Framework 3.0 can be downloaded from here:

The released versions of Windows Imaging Component (WIC) are also ready to go:



A File Format By Any Other Name

For the immediate future, we will still use the Windows Media Photo name to refer to the implementation of HD Photo in Microsoft products that are already shipping.  This includes the initial release of Windows Vista, the XML Paper Specification (XPS), .NET Framework 3.0, and Windows Imaging Component (WIC). 

With the new name, the spec now adds support for a new file extension - .hdp.  However, the various Windows implementations won't recognize this new extension until some updates have been released at some point in the future.  (No, I don't know exactly when that will be.) So we're recommending implementers stick with the current .wdp extension.  You can "future-proof" your application by also adding support for the new .hdp extension. 


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Comments (8)
  1. Windows Media Photo is out, HD Photo is in . And not a minute too soon. Microsoft already had a WMP TLA.

  2. anony.muos says:

    MS, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add a little bit of functionality, that is, ability to view WDP files to XP’s Photo Viewer. And ability to save files as WFP in Paint or IE.

  3. Microsoft’s Windows Media Photo technology has had a name change and been reborn as HD Photo: Today at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 07 International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft Corp. formally announced HD Photo, a..

  4. Didn’t we already do that? Regular readers of my blog (which is a tad oxymoronic, since it appears I

  5. rickys says:


    Is it possible for you to release a batch of sample HD Photos that we can download and test with. That would be great, that way we can fully see the advantage of the new file format.


  6. billcrow says:

    Hi rickys,

    I’m actually working on just that.  There are a bunch of issues. I’m limited to photos that I have full rights to redistribute, including releases from subjects and locations.  I also want to provide photos with full provenance, including the original RAW source data and all the associated camera metadata.  Finally, any package like this will be pretty big.  We’re making good progress, but we’ll have something this summer.

    In the mean time, you can use the Photoshop plug-in to create your own.  If you’re only interested in 8bpc sRGB images, you can also use the free Paint.NET application (


  7. SpadeQ says:

    Hi sir, how could I save a bitmap in the HD photo format in Visual Studio 2008? The Image.Save() method doesn’t contain such format yet~~

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