HP is updating its PhotoREt technology as part of its solutions for digital photographic printing. The company boasts that its patented colour layering technology will set a new standard for digital photography and produce images virtually indistinguishable from traditionally developed photographs.

PhotoREt IV is based on a six-ink colour system and controls precisely the amount of ink placed on the page. The system delivers more than 1.2 million colours and allows for more accurate colour reproduction, especially in notoriously difficult natural tones like skin or background skies.

John Duckworth, HP UK inkjet category manager, told PC Advisor, "With the launch of PhotoREt IV, digital photograph prints have truly reached the equivalent quality of professional silver-halide photographs."

PhotoREt IV uses software interpolation technology, something that isn't always favoured by users because it’s not based on the true resolution of the original image. Instead it 'guesses' where the extra pixels would lie in a higher resolution picture to provide a final result that should resemble a higher-quality image. But as you are printing at a lower resolution, it should allow for faster print speeds.

However the results of software interpolation tend to differ greatly depending on the effectiveness of the technology involved.

The only printers that will be compatible with PhotoREt IV are DeskJet 550, PhotoSmart 7150 (pictured) and 7350 which launch on 1 July. Look out for a review in the October issue of PC Advisor to see our verdict on the new technology.

HP will continue to use PhotoREt III on all its current printers.