Picture the scene: JPEGs die, BPGs emerge to dominate the world

18 Dec 20142 Shares

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JPEGs, the picture files we’ve all grown so accustomed to these past few decades, may be replaced by “awesome” blow-ins.

Better Portable Graphics (BPGS), a new file format supported by browsers with smaller Javascript decoders, enjoy higher compression ratios (what JPEGs were all about back in the day), with file sizes far smaller in comparison. Phys.org bills the difference as "awesome", and it is quite impressive.

“Images included in BPG appear sharper than JPEG and don’t have the blocky artifacts common in the latter,” explains Matt Smith, in his lengthy comparison of both services on Digital Trends.

There's a pretty cool comparison tool to help you decide which you prefer, although what on earth makes this an Irish mannequin is unclear, even in BPG.

Comparison of JPEG (left of divide) and BPG image quality

It’s not as simple as offering a better type of image process, though. JPEGs exist for reasons other than their quality. Coming onto the scene in the early 1990s, JPEGs became entrenched in computer design from an early age, winning an audience that was never eager to desert them.

Paul Monckton, a tech contributor to Forbes, feels that “BPG clearly outperforms” JPEG imagery when it comes to clarity, size, bits per pixel and lossless compression. However due to JPEG compatibility absolutely everywhere, and BPG’s lack thereof,Monckton is unconvinced.

“With almost no existing software currently supporting the BPG format, it would take a lot for it to gain widespread popularity.”

"Its strength lies in its ability to produce JPEG quality images at roughly half the size,” says Gannon Burgett in Imaging Resource, however he is far from convinced.

“BPG may never be more than another attempt to rid the world of JPEGs, but it’s a step in the right direction. After all, the JPEG file format is roughly 22 years old, making it all but ancient in the digital world.”

Picture frame image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and context executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.

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