h264-AVC-Standard - SULLIVAN LAYOUT 7/19/06 10:38 AM Page...

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IEEE Communications Magazine • August 2006 134 0163-6804/06/$20.00 © 2006 IEEE S TANDARDS R EPORT I NTRODUCTION AND H ISTORICAL P ERSPECTIVE Digital video technology is enabling and generat- ing ever new applications with a broadening range of requirements regarding basic video characteristics such as spatiotemporal resolution, chroma format, and sample accuracy. Applica- tion areas today range from videoconferencing over mobile TV and broadcasting of standard-/ high-definition TV content up to very-high-qual- ity applications such as professional digital video recording or digital cinema/large-screen digital imagery. Prior video coding standards such as MPEG2/H.262 [1], H.263 [2], and MPEG4 Part 2 [3] are already established in parts of those application domains. But with the proliferation of digital video into new application spaces such as mobile TV or high-definition TV broadcast- ing, the requirements for efficient representation of video have increased up to operation points where previously standardized video coding tech- nology can hardly keep pace. Furthermore, more cost-efficient solutions in terms of bit rate vs. end-to-end reproduction quality are increasingly sought in traditional application areas of digital video as well. Regarding these challenges, H.264/MPEG4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) [4], as the latest entry of international video coding standards, has demonstrated significantly improved coding efficiency, substantially enhanced error robust- ness, and increased flexibility and scope of appli- cability relative to its predecessors [5]. A recently added amendment to H.264/MPEG4-AVC, the so-called fidelity range extensions (FRExt) [6], further broaden the application domain of the new standard toward areas like professional con- tribution, distribution, or studio/post production. Another set of extensions for scalable video cod- ing (SVC) is currently being designed [7, 8], aim- ing at a functionality that allows the reconstruction of video signals with lower spatio- temporal resolution or lower quality from parts of the coded video representation (i.e., from par- tial bitstreams). The SVC project is planned to be finalized in January 2007. Also, multi-view video coding (MVC) capability has been success- fully demonstrated using H.264/MPEG4-AVC [9], requiring almost no change to the technical content of the standard. Rather than providing a comprehensive overview that covers all technical aspects of the H.264/MPEG4-AVC design, this article focuses on a few representative features of its core cod- ing technology. After presenting some informa- tion about target application areas and the current status of deployment of the new stan- dard into those areas, this article provides a high-level overview of the so-called video cod- ing layer (VCL) of H.264/MPEG4-AVC. Being designed for efficiently representing video con- tent, the VCL is complemented by the network abstraction layer (NAL), which formats the VCL representation and provides header infor- mation in a manner appropriate for conveyance by a variety of transport layers or storage media. A representative selection of innovative
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2012 for the course CM 0340 taught by Professor Davidmarshall during the Fall '09 term at Cardiff University.

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h264-AVC-Standard - SULLIVAN LAYOUT 7/19/06 10:38 AM Page...

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