There's no doubt that JPEG is the web's go-to image format, offering both widespread compatibility and small file sizes, but its compression artifacts and an 8-bit limitation mean it's far from perfect. Alternative image formats have been developed that provide higher-quality compression, but nothing yet has come close to toppling JPEG thanks to its ubiquity. BPG is the latest new format to challenge it.

Created by Fabrice Bellard, a developer responsible for other open-source projects, BPG stands for Better Portable Graphics and offers a number of improvements over JPEG format. Most notably, BPG is based on the HEVC/H.265 video compression standard. This is a major advantage over other non-standard image formats, as H.265 will likely be supported by hardware soon.

BPG's more efficient algorithm also supports up to 14-bit files rather than JPEG's 8-bit only support. It also uses the same means of chroma sub-sampling as JPEG, which is good for transcoding. The format also features support for EXIF and other metadata, as well as lossless compression. When comparing images of roughly the same file size, BPG offers noticeably fewer artifacts than JPEG (as well other more optimized formats like Google's WebP), as demonstrated in this image comparison tool on GitHub

These substantial improvements over JPEG make BPG an appealing alternative, but for now ability to use the format is limited to use with a JavaScript decoder.