A new player has emerged in the image compression scenario by the name of BPG that means Better Portable Graphics. This image format is based on a singular frame video of the latest HEVC video codec. BPG has quickly taken rounds in the most comprehensive media platforms like The Register, Forbes, and DPReview.

We compared BPG with other formats used for image compression and would like to share our experiences. We strongly believe that BPG will soon replace JPEG that is the standard image compression format.

Read below to find out why BPG is the winner among JPEG-XR, JPEG-2000 and WebP:

BPG is an Open Source Image Compression Format
International standardization bodies like ISO and ITU had developed JPEG standard. It was a lengthy process to develop a technical standard in a committee. It required several meeting with one meeting extending up to several days with thousands of technical documents and eventually took many years to finalize one standard.

On the other hand, when we talk about BPG, it is an open source platform that was developed in just a few months. It is based on the already existing standard for video compression HEVC. There was no requirement to wait for any standard body’s approval as it was a community project. As it is an open source implementation, changes can be brought in anytime if it benefits the entire society.

Fabrice Bellard developed BPG

Cameron Laird described Fabrice Bellard wonderfully in his article as an “icon in the community of open source development”. Apart from developing FFmpeg media software, he has been associated with many other tremendously successful projects like PC-based DVB-T Digital TV transmitter, QEMU hypervisor for hardware virtualization and many others. It is not surprising that his project on image compression will be widely adopted by the industry without any doubts in mind.

There have been attempts in the past to replace JPEG by very large companies like Microsoft developed HD Photo technology and Google came up WebP, but all efforts went in vain. But as BPG has been developed by an individual that is highly respected in the field and is without any commercial interest, it is surely going to become immensely popular in the industry.

BPG is based on HEVC
HEVC was previously called H.265 and is the latest standard for video compression and is approximately two times more efficient than the previously known standard H.264. In the technique of video compression, there are three types of frames mostly known namely: I-frames these are those frames that are encoded wholly separately from other frames. Second are P-frames that are encoded as differences from previous frames and lastly B-frames that are encoded as differences from later and previous frames.

BPG is an I-frame of HEVC consisting of a reduced header that makes it even more efficient. It supports the same chroma formats as JPEG (grayscale, YCbCr 4:2:0, 4:2:2, 4:4:4) to reduce the losses during the conversion. An alpha channel is also supported by BPG. It natively supports of 8 to 14 bits per channel for higher dynamic range. This largely contributes to Lossless compression.

Another factor that makes BPG winner over JPEG is that it supports CABAC coding. It is a well-proven thing that CABAC encoding is much more efficient than Huffman entropy coding that is utilized in the JPEG standard.

As BPG is based on HEVC, it means that there are no requirements for any special hardware for the power-efficient and fast encoding and decoding of BPG images on tablets and phones.

All major browsers support BPG
One of the major reasons that BPG will manifold rapidly to many websites is that BPG decoder is implemented in JavaScript, and we all are aware that JavaScript is a language that is supported by all the browsers. It is just 56KB of code that can easily reside on any web page and can speedily download and execute in the browsers. Thus, there is no requirement of any plug-in or to update your browser to the latest version to support BPG. It also supports color spaces like RGB, YCgCo, and CMYK. Also various Metadata (such as EXIF) can be also included. BPG images can be put on your web page and all your users will be able to view them without any issues.

JPEG is primitive
As JPEG standard got its approval quarter of a century ago, and that’s too long of a period in the technology world where technology upgrades every minute. In this period, five generations of video compression have been developed from MPEG-1 to MPEG-2, MPEG-4 to H.264 and now HEVC. Thus, it is high time for you to bid good-bye to your old buddy JPEG standard that has served quite effectively for a long time. Thus for better portable graphics and superior image format rely on BPG now!

So what are your views and experience with BPG?