SP and SI frames are new picture types introduced in the latest video coding standard H.264. They allow drift-free
bitstream switching and can also be used for error-resilience and random access. We investigate the benefits
of SI and SP frames for error resilience as compared to periodic I frame insertion. We discuss the rate-distortion
performance of SI and SP frames based on empirical rate-distortion curved obtained with our implementation
of an SP/SI frame encoder. Experiments carried out over a simulated bandwidth-limited network analyze the
influence of loss rate and delay on the congestion-rate-distortion performance of streaming with SI and SP frames.
Our results help identify scenarios for which SI and SP frames provide an attractive alternative to streaming
with I frames.