From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2017
360° video is an emerging new format in the media industry enabled by the growing availability of virtual reality devices. It provides the viewer a new sense of presence and immersion. Compared to conventional rectilinear video (2D or 3D), 360° video poses a new and difficult set of engineering challenges on video processing and delivery. Enabling comfortable and immersive user experience requires very high video quality and very low latency, while the large video file size poses a challenge to delivering 360° video in a quality manner at scale. Conventionally, 360° video represented in equirectangular or other projection formats can be encoded as a single standards-compliant bitstream using existing video codecs such as H.264/AVC or H.265/HEVC. Such method usually needs very high bandwidth to provide an immersive user experience. While at the client side, much of such high bandwidth and the computational power used to decode the video are wasted because the user only watches a small portion (i.e., viewport) of the entire picture. Viewport dependent 360°video processing and delivery approaches spend more bandwidth on the viewport than on non-viewports and are therefore able to reduce the overall transmission bandwidth. This paper proposes a dual buffer segment scheduling algorithm for viewport adaptive streaming methods to reduce latency when switching between high quality viewports in 360° video streaming. The approach decouples the scheduling of viewport segments and non-viewport segments to ensure the viewport segment requested matches the latest user head orientation. A base layer buffer stores all lower quality segments, and a viewport buffer stores high quality viewport segments corresponding to the most recent viewer’s head orientation. The scheduling scheme determines viewport requesting time based on the buffer status and the head orientation. This paper also discusses how to deploy the proposed scheduling design for various viewport adaptive video streaming methods. The proposed dual buffer segment scheduling method is implemented in an end-to-end tile based 360° viewports adaptive video streaming platform, where the entire 360° video is divided into a number of tiles, and each tile is independently encoded into multiple quality level representations. The client requests different quality level representations of each tile based on the viewer’s head orientation and the available bandwidth, and then composes all tiles together for rendering. The simulation results verify that the proposed dual buffer segment scheduling algorithm reduces the viewport switch latency, and utilizes available bandwidth more efficiently. As a result, a more consistent immersive 360° video viewing experience can be presented to the user.
Srinivas Gudumasu, Eduardo Asbun, Yong He, and Yan Ye, "Segment scheduling method for reducing 360° video streaming latency," Proc. SPIE 10396, Applications of Digital Image Processing XL, 103960X (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 08, 2017; Published: 19 September 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2273035.
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