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Protecting H.264/AVC Data-Partitioned Video Streams over Broadband WiMAX

DOI: 10.1155/2012/129517

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Broadband wireless technology, though aimed at video services, also poses a potential threat to video services, as wireless channels are prone to error bursts. In this paper, an adaptive, application-layer Forward Error Correction (FEC) scheme protects H.264/AVC data-partitioned video. Data partitioning is the division of a compressed video stream into partitions of differing decoding importance. The paper determines whether equal error protection (EEP) through FEC of all partition types or unequal error protection (UEP) of the more important partition type is preferable. The paper finds that, though UEP offers a small reduction in bitrate, if EEP is employed, there are significant gains (several dBs) in video quality. Overhead from using EEP rather than UEP was found to be around 1% of the overall bitrate. Given that data partitioning already reduces errors through packet size reduction and differentiation of coding data, EEP with data partitioning is a practical means of protecting user-based video streaming. The gain from employing EEP is shown to be higher quality video to the user, which will result in a greater take-up of video services. The results have implications for other forms of prioritized video streaming. 1. Introduction Portable devices are proliferating, as the era of the wired Internet draws to a close and 4G wireless systems, and their successors [1] bring greater bandwidth capacity to access networks. User-based video-streaming applications are anticipated to be a key to the success of broadband wireless access networks such as IEEE 802.16e (mobile WiMAX) [2]. WiMAX itself is proving to be attractive in many areas where existing cell phone coverage is sparse or nonexistent. However, the migration of Internet applications to 4G wireless access presents a problem for video-streaming applications. This is because wireless channels are fundamentally error prone, whereas compression, for most of its coding gain, depends upon predictive coding. Consequentially, because of source-coding data dependencies, errors can disrupt a compressed video bitstream, and these errors can subsequently propagate in space and time. In the multimedia research world, unequal error protection (UEP) through channel coding or forward error correction (FEC) has proved to be a rich area of investigation. Many schemes (some of which are reviewed in Section 2) have been proposed that map differential protection onto prioritized coded video data. However, there are strong signs that, in the commercial world, video service providers, in the interests of video content

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