Everplay standard to preserve digital images and movies

Orlando (FL) - Fuji, Konica Minolta and Eastman Kodak today released the final specification of "Everplay," a set of rules that promises users to ensure compatibility of today's digital pictures and movies with future storage media. Formerly known as "picture archiving and sharing standard (PASS)," the group hopes that Everplay makes its way into media post-production and eventually into digital cameras and playback devices thereafter.

Moving digital data from one generation of storage and playback devices to another has become an increasingly challenging and time consuming task for many consumers. While there have been several ways available for users to migrate content from one storage medium to another, we have seen largely independent and proprietary efforts from a wide range of organizations. "Everplay" hopes to change that and put a standardized set of rules in place that will combine file formats under one roof, enable playback capability of data on different types of devices and preserve images and integrated meta data when storage media transition to a new technology.

Based on XML, Everplay is designed to create .PVM index and album files from raw data, such as JPG image files, to enable playback of the files on CD/DVD players, digital cameras, cellphones and other consumer electronics devices. Meta data integrated in these files, including EXIF meta data such as the date and time a picture was taken, will be used to automatically organize files, according to the Everplay group. The group did not release information about which digital media files are included in the Everplay standard, but mentioned earlier that the technology will include multiple format capability and makes use of ISO 9660, the initial file system for writing data on CDs and UDF (Universal Disk Format), the replacement for ISO 9660.

The Everplay group focuses on the post-production segment as well as photofinishing image disc services at retailers to adopt the technology. Digital camera makers have not been included in the effort so far as the "founders felt that standardization of image capturing may restrict the freedom and evolution of features and could be a disadvantage to consumers." However, digital camera makers are believed to provide a "very favorable" to the standard and react by integrating the technology into their products.

While Everplay data cannot be played on existing playback devices that do not support the standard, the organization said that the standard allows to "optionally write corresponding image files" onto optical media. This will enable consumers "to enjoy their pictures even with DVD players that are not yet Everplay compliant," the group said.

The Everplay specification is available free of charge from the Everplay website.