This paper presents an overview of the new Scalable Video Coding (SVC) Amendment of H.264/AVC and the results of a performance evaluation for this new video coding specification. Whereas temporal scalability is already enabled by the existing H.264/AVC specification, the introduction of spatial and quality scalabiliy
requires new coding tools. Here, the layered structure of SVC and the main new coding tools are briefly described, and an overview of the newly defined SVC profiles and levels is provided. The second part of the paper describes a subjective evaluation that was carried out to test the efficiency of the SVC concept. The results of this evaluation show, that the coding tools introduced in the scalable extension of H.264/AVC provide a reasonable degree of spatial and quality scalability at very low costs in terms of additional bit rate. The evaluation consisted of a series of subjective quality tests and is backed up by objective PSNR measurements.
The results show, that SVC supports spatial and quality scalability with a bit rate overhead of less than or about 10%, and an indistinguishable visual quality compared to state of the art
The development of new video processing, new displays, and new modes of dissemination and usage enables a variety of moving picture applications intended for mobile and desktop devices as well as the more conventional platforms. These applications include multimedia as well as traditional video and require novel lighting environments and bit rates previously unplumbed in Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) video compression. The migration to new environments poses a methodological challenge to testers of video quality. Both the viewing environment and the display characteristics differ dramatically from those used in well-established subjective testing methods for television. The MPEG Test Committee has adapted the television-centric methodology to the new testing environments. The adaptations that are examined here include: (1) The display of progressive scan pictures in the Common Intermediate Format (CIF at 352x288 pixel/frame) and Quarter CIF (QCIF at 176x144 pixel/frame) as well as other, larger moving pictures requires new ways of testing the subjects including different viewing distances and altered ambient lighting. (2) The advent of new varieties of display technologies suggests there is a need for methods of characterizing them to assure the results of the testing do not depend strongly on the display. (3) The use of non-parametric statistical tests in test data analysis. In MPEG testing these appear to provide rigorous confidence statements more in line with testing experience than those provided by classical parametric tests. These issues have been addressed in a recent MPEG subjective test. Some of the test results are reviewed; they suggest that these adaptations of long-established subjective testing methodology for TV are capable of providing practical and reliable measures of subjective video quality for a new generation of technology.