New JPEG Format for Virtual Reality, Drones and Self-driving Cars

“JPEG XS Promising to Load Images Faster and Consume Less Energy”

Nowadays graphics aren’t just made for digital screens, they can be found in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality, space imagery, self-driving cars and professional movie editing. The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) committee has recently introduced ‘JPEG XS’, a new file type that compresses images and videos into versions with “visually lossless”  qualities while consuming less power, which basically means they load faster.

Primarily, ‘JPEG XS’ is built to stream files for professional movie editing and photography, virtual reality, augmented reality, drones, live streams, and self-driving cars, even when they’re shared via broadband networks such 5G or Wi-Fi networks. This means that you could use your smartphone, tablet or computer to project a high-definition movie or a video game onto a large-screen display almost instantaneously without cables and the image quality would be extremely high.

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JPEG XS file sizes tend to be larger, but the creators claim this shouldn’t be a deterrent, since its aim is to stream HD files, not store them in phones or computers.

Touradj Ebrahimi, a professor at EPFL’s School of Engineering (STI) said, “We are compressing less in order to better preserve quality, and we are making the process faster while using less energy”. He explains that while regular JPEG photos are compressed by a factor of 10, the newer version does it by a factor of six.

“Compressing the images with ‘JPEG XS’ doesn’t compromise quality at all: even experts can’t tell the difference between an original and a compressed picture or movie.”

Good news for Videographers also, as you will also stand to benefit from the file type. Whereas current HDR cameras have their own proprietary formats and need to be transcoded before they can be edited, ‘JPEG XS’ serves as a universal format that lets you import files directly into editing software.

The open-source format is still awaiting approval. At present, Ebrahimi says it can be used in “professional applications like movie editing, space imagery and professional-grade cameras,” but should be ready for use in consumer electronics like “self-driving cars, virtual reality, augmented reality, and wireless connections between multimedia devices and TV monitors or projectors” in due time.

“To be able to use JPEG XS, consumers will need to own the next generation of devices. In terms of software, they will probably just need to run an update, like they do from time to time on their computers and smartphones anyway.”

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