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Distributed video coding: Assessing the HEVC upgrade

Brites , C. ; Pereira, F.

Signal Processing: Image Communication Vol. 32, Nº 3, pp. 81 - 105, March, 2015.

ISSN (print): 0923-5965
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 2,209 (in 2014)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1016/j.image.2015.01.003

In the distributed video coding (DVC) context, predictive Intra coding plays an important role not only as one of the most meaningful (low encoding complexity) benchmarks but also as the adopted coding mode for the so-called key frames used in the most popular DVC architectures. While the first DVC codecs adopted the H.263 Intra codec to play this role, it became clear around 2005 that the (standard) Intra coding reference codec had evolved and should become the H.264/AVC Intra codec, which has been used since then by the DVC literature. However, while DVC solutions have been evolving since those times, also predictive video coding has evolved and a new predictive video coding standard has recently emerged, the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. To acknowledge this evolution and be fair with the predictive coding technology, the improved DVC solutions should now integrate and be compared with the improved and more relevant HEVC standard and not anymore with the H.264/AVC 10-year-old standard. In this context, this paper proposes to upgrade the DVC tools and benchmarking by adopting the HEVC Intra codec to take the role that the H.264/AVC Intra standard was previously playing. To assess the impact of this inevitable upgrade, an advanced, representative DVC solution has been adopted and its performance assessed and compared in the context of the H.264/AVC and HEVC standard frameworks. The compression efficiency and computational complexity experiments performed allow concluding that upgrading DVC solutions with HEVC Intra coding allows strengthening the DVC positioning in the video coding landscape. This conclusion highlights how the experiments performed in this paper are critical to define the new DVC status quo.