Multimedia Systems

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 171–182 | Cite as

Frequent layer switching for perceived quality improvements of coarse-grained scalable video

  • Pengpeng Ni
  • Alexander Eichhorn
  • Carsten Griwodz
  • Pål Halvorsen
Regular Paper


Scalable video is an attractive option for adapting the bandwidth consumption of streaming video to the available bandwidth. Fine-grained scalability can adapt most closely to the available bandwidth, but this comes at the cost of a higher overhead compared to more coarse-grained videos. In the context of VoD streaming, we have therefore explored whether a similar adaptation to the available bandwidth can be achieved by performing layer switching in coarse-grained scalable videos. In this approach, enhancement layers of a video stream are switched on and off to achieve any desired longer term bandwidth. We have performed three user studies, two using mobile devices and one using an HDTV display, to evaluate the idea. In several cases, the far-from-obvious conclusion is that layer switching is a viable way of achieving bit-rate savings and fine-grained bit-rate adaptation even for rather short times between layer switches, but it does, however, depend on scaling dimensions, content and display device.


Quality of experience Scalable video Layer switching 


  1. 1.
    Beeharee, A.K., West, A.J., Hubbold, R.: Visual attention based information culling for distributed virtual environments. In: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST ’03, ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 213–222 (2003)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cranley, N., Perry, P., Murphy, L: User perception of adapting video quality. Int. J. Human–Computer Stud. 64(8), 637–647 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Eichhorn, A., Ni, P.: Pick your layers wisely—a quality assessment of H.264 scalable video coding for mobile devices. IEEE Int. Conf. Commun., pp. 1019–1025 (2009)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    International Telecommunications Union. ITU-T P.910. Subjective video quality assessment methods for multimedia applications (1999)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    International Telecommunications Union—Radiocommunication sector. ITU-R BT.500-11. Methodology for the subjective assessment of the quality of television picture (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jeannin, S., Divakaran, A.: MPEG-7 visual motion descriptors. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Technol. 11(6), 720–724 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Knoche, H.O., Sasse, M.A.: The sweet spot: how people trade off size and definition on mobile devices. In: Proceeding of the 16th ACM International Conference on Multimedia, MM ’08, ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 21–30 (2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    McCarthy, J.D., Sasse, M.A., Miras, D.: Sharp or smooth? Comparing the effects of quantization vs. frame rate for streamed video. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 535–542 (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nadenau, M.J., Winkler, S., Alleysson, D., Kunt, M.: Human vision models for perceptually optimized image processing—a review. Proc. IEEE (2000) (submitted)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ni, P., Eichhorn, A., Griwodz, C., Halvorsen, P.: Fine-grained scalable streaming from coarse-grained videos. In: Proceedings of the 18th International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video, NOSSDAV ’09, ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 103–108 (2009)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Park, D.K., Jeon, Y.S., Won, C.S.: Efficient use of local edge histogram descriptor. In: Proceedings of ACM Workshops on Multimedia, pp. 51–54 (2000)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rix, A.W., Bourret, A., Hollier, M.P.: Models of human perception. BT Technol. J. 7(1), 24–34 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schwarz, H., Marpe, D., Wiegand, T.: Overview of the scalable extension of the H.264/AVC video coding standard. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Technol. 17(9), 1103–1120 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wenger, S., Ye-Kui, W., Schierl, T.: Transport and signaling of SVC in IP networks. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Technol. 17(9), 1164–1173 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wu, H., Claypool, M., Kinicki, R.: On combining temporal scaling and quality scaling for streaming MPEG. In: Proceedings of NOSSDAV, pp. 1–6 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zink, M., Künzel, O., Schmitt, J., Steinmetz, R.: Subjective impression of variations in layer encoded videos. In: Proceedings of International Workshop on Quality of Service, pp. 137–154 (2003)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pengpeng Ni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexander Eichhorn
    • 1
  • Carsten Griwodz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pål Halvorsen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Simula Research LaboratoryLysakerNorway
  2. 2.Department of InformaticsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations