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Towards Optimal Quality of Experience via Scalable Video Coding


Publication Type:

Licentiate Thesis


Mälardalen University Press


To provide universal multimedia experience, multimedia streaming services need to transparently handle the variation and heterogeneity in operating environment. From the standpoint of streaming application, video adaptation techniques are intended to cope with the environmental variations by utilizing manipulations of the video content itself. Scalable video coding (SVC) schemes, like that suggested by the standards H.264 and its SVC extension, is highly attractive for designing a self-adaptive video streaming system. When SVC is employed in streaming system, the produced video stream can be then easily truncated or tailored to form several sub-streams which can be decoded separately to obtain a range of preferable picture size, quality and frame rate. However, questions about how to perform the adaptation using SVC and how much adaptation SVC enables are still remaining research issues. We still lack a thorough understanding of how to automate the scaling procedure in order to achieve an optimal video QoE for end users.Video QoE, depends highly on human perception. In this thesis, we introduce several video QoE studies around the usability of H.264 SVC. Several factors that contribute significantly to the overall QoEs have been identified and evaluated in these studies. As an example of application usage related factor, playback smoothness and application response time are critical performance measures which can benefit from temporal scalability. Targeting on applications that requires frequent interactivity, we propose a transcoding scheme that fully utilizes the benefits of Switching P and Switching I frames specified in H.264 to enhance video stream's temporal scalability. Focusing on visual quality related factors, a series of carefully designed subjective quality assessment tests have been performed on mobile devices to investigate the effects of multi-dimensional scalability on human quality perception. Our study reveals that QoE degrades non-monotonically with bitrate and that scaling order preferences are content-dependent. Another study find out that the flickering effect caused by frequent switching between layers in SVC compliant bit-streams is highly related to the switching period. When the period is above a certain threshold, the flickering effect will disappear and layer switching should not be considered as harmful. We have also examined user perceived video quality in 3D virtual worlds. Our results show that the avatars' distance to the virtual screen in 3D worlds contribute significant to the video QoE, i.e., for a wide extent of distortion, there exists always a feasible virtual distance from where the distortion is not detectable for most of people, which makes sense to perform video adaptation.The work presented in this thesis are supposed to help improving the design of self adaptive video streaming services that can deliver video content independently of network technology and end-device capability while seeking the best possible experience for video.


author = {Pengpeng Ni},
title = {Towards Optimal Quality of Experience via Scalable Video Coding},
number = {112},
month = {November},
year = {2009},
publisher = {M{\"a}lardalen University Press},
url = {}