Evaluating and Enhancing the Performance of IP-based Streaming Media Services and Applications
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This thesis deals with multimedia communication over unreliable and resource-constrained IP-based packet-switched networks. The focus is on estimating, evaluating and enhancing the quality of streaming media services, and streaming video services in particular. The work can be divided into three parts. Part A covers issues related to predicting the perceived quality of streaming media applications. First, it presents a low-complexity method for estimating the amount of block-edge impairments in compressed video. The corresponding no-reference metric can be applied on the receiver side during a streaming session so as to enable automated objective video quality assessment, but is mostly relevant for MPEG-2 and early MPEG-4 (Part 2) systems. Thereafter, part B presents an experimental multimedia testbed for measuring the performance, characteristics and error robustness of streaming media applications. An integral part of the test bed is the packet flow regenerator, which enables repeatable performance measurements of network components and streaming media clients. A performance study of this component is included. Further, using the real-time IP-network emulation capabilities of the testbed, the error robustness of a high-definition H.264/MPEG-4 AVC broadcast application is evaluated. Finally, part C considers an adaptive streaming video-on-demand system where features of the upcoming H.264/MPEG-4 scalable video coding standard are combined with the use of an accumulation-based congestion control scheme in order to enable efficient video distribution over IEEE 802.16 wireless broadband networks.