JPEG XS will be a faster format for 8K streaming, better VR, and safer drones

jpeg xs introduced jpegxs
Joint Photographic Experts Group

JPEG has been the compressed standard for images for decades but the file format will soon gain a little brother designed to eliminate lag time while streaming to create anything from a better virtual reality experience to safer camera drones and self-driving cars. The organization behind the JPEG, the Joint Photographic Experts Group, recently introduced JPEG XS, a compressed photo and video file format designed to use less energy.

JPEG XS is a bit of a misnomer because the file sizes aren’t actually smaller than a JPEG — in fact, the files take up more room because the compression is six times compared to 10 times. The XS instead refers to the file’s compression process. JPEG XS uses a compression that is both faster and simpler than the original JPEG. So while a JPEG XS will take up more space on a hard drive or smartphone, the files will stream faster using Wi-Fi or 5G. Because the files are actually larger than a regular JPEG, the file type creates high-quality footage while simultaneously speeding up the streaming process.

The organization isn’t trying to replace the JPEG — the original JPEG’s smaller file size still makes the original ideal for applications where the file is being saved, not streamed. The JPEG XS instead aims to alleviate a number of issues associated with streaming content. For example, by creating faster streams, a JPEG XS could reduce lag time between what a drone camera sees and when the drone pilot actually sees the same thing. The same idea could help make self-driving cars safer by increasing reaction times.

The faster streams and reduced latency aren’t just for live-streaming content, however. In virtual reality, the group explains, the delay between moving and the nearly imperceptible response to that movement is one of the reasons some headset users can feel nauseous inside the experience. The file format would also make sharing a video from a smartphone to a screen (wirelessly) faster.

The organization also says that the faster compression could also allow higher resolution and increased frame rates, such as streaming in 8K. The file format has even caught the eye of the European Space Agency — the group is interested in potentially using the format on space probes because the format uses less energy.

Professor Touradj Ebrahimi is leading the group’s work as part of the School of Engineering at École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne, a technical university in Switzerland. “For the first time in the history of image coding, we are compressing less in order to better preserve quality, and we are making the process faster while using less energy,” Ebrahimi said in a statement.  “We want to be smarter in how we do things. The idea is to use less resources, and use them more wisely. This is a real paradigm shift.”

JPEG XS, like the original JPEG, is also slated to be an open-source file format. That accessibility has The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers considering the format for editing since the format could be a universally accepted file type because of that open source.

The International Organization for Standardization has yet to approve the file format before JPEG XS could be widely adopted. Once approved, Ebrahimi says new hardware could adopt the format, while software would need to be updated.

“In the immediate future, JPEG XS will be put to use in professional applications like movie editing, space imagery, and professional-grade cameras. Consumer electronics will come next, including self-driving cars, virtual reality, augmented reality, and wireless connections between multimedia devices and TV monitors or projectors,” he said. “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.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Netflix vs. Hulu: Which streaming service is right for you?

Netflix and Hulu are two of the biggest names in streaming entertainment. Our guide will help you decide which streaming service has the content you want and the best value for your limited budget.
Photography

Earn more likes on your photos with the best cameras for Instagram

Looking to snap better Instagrams? Instagram doesn't demand high-resolution files, but upgrading your camera can deliver better bokeh and low-light quality. Here our the best cameras for Instagram.
Photography

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera isn't giving you the results you want, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone can touch.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy, from GoPro to Garmin and more

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Photography

Wet or dry, these rugged waterproof cameras capture your every adventure

Rugged cameras are designed to withstand nature's elements. These waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof shooters can go wherever you take them, making them the perfect travel companions.
Photography

Free your digital memories, and frame them, with the best photo printers

Printed photos are experiencing a revival at the moment, but you don’t need to go to a special lab. Here’s our favorite options for making quality prints, from pocket-sized printers to wide-format photo printers capable of spitting out…
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.