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Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal

A HYBRID TRANSFORMATION TECHNIQUE FOR ADVANCED


VIDEO CODING
M. Ezhilarasan, P. Thambidurai
Department of Computer Science & Engineering and Information Technology,
Pondicherry Engineering College, Pondicherry 605 014, India
mrezhil@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
A Video encoder performs video data compression by having combination of three
main modules such as Motion estimation and compensation, Transformation, and
Entropy encoding. Among these three modules, transformation is the module of
removing the spatial redundancy that exists in the spatial domain of video
sequence. Discrete Cosine Transformation (DCT) is the defacto transformation
method in existing image and video coding standards. Even though the DCT has
very good energy preserving and decorrelation properties, it suffers from blocking
artifacts. To overcome this problem, a hybridization method has been incorporated
in transformation module of video encoder. This paper presents an hybridization in
the transformation module by incorporating DCT as transformation technique for
inter frames and a combination of wavelet filters for intra frames of video
sequence. This proposal is also applied in the existing H.264/AVC standard.
Extensive experiments have been conducted with various standard CIF and QCIF
video sequences. The results show that the proposed hybrid transformation
technique outperforms the existing technique used in the H.264/AVC considerably.
Keywords: Data Compression, DCT, DWT, Video Coding, Transformation.

INTRODUCTION

Transform coding techniques have become the


important paradigm in image and video coding
standards, in which the Discrete Cosine Transform
(DCT) [1][2] is applied due to its high decorrelation
and energy compaction properties. In the past two
decades, more contributions focused on Discrete
Wavelet
Transform
(DWT)
[3][4]
for
its
performance in image coding. The two most popular
techniques such as DCT and DWT are well applied
on
image
and
video
coding
applications.
International
Organization
for
Standards
/
International
Electro
technical
Commission
(ISO/IEC) and International Telecommunications
Union Telecommunication standardization sector
(ITU-T) organizations have developed their own
video coding standards viz., Moving Picture Experts
Group MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 for multimedia
and H.261, H.263, H.263+, H.263++, H.26L for
videoconferencing applications. Recently, the MPEG
and the Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) have
jointly designed a new standard namely, H.264 /
MPEG-4 (Part-10) [5] for providing better
compression of video sequence. There has been a
tremendous contribution by researchers, experts of
various institutions and research laboratories for the
past two decades to take up the recent technology
requirements in the video coding standards.

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In Advanced Video Coding (AVC) [6], video is


captured as a sequence of frames. Each frame is
compressed by partitioning it as one or more slices,
where each slice consists of sequence of macro
blocks. These macro blocks are transformed,
quantized and encoded. The transformation module
converts the frame data from time domain to
frequency domain, which intends to decorrelate the
energy (i.e., amount of information present in the
frame) present in the spatial domain. It also converts
the energy components of the frame into small
numbers of transform coefficients, which are more
efficient for encoding rather than their original
frame. Since the transformation module is reversible
in nature, this process does not change the
information content present in the source input signal
during encoding and decoding process. By
information theory, transformed coefficients are
reversible in nature.
As per Human Visual System (HVS), human
eyes are highly sensitive on low frequency signals
than the high frequency signals. The decisive
objective is this paper is to develop a hybrid
technique that achieves higher performance in the
parameters specified above than the existing
technique used in the current advanced video coding
standard.
In this paper, a combination of orthogonal and
bi-orthogonal wavelet filters have been applied at

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different decomposition levels for intra frames and


DCT for inter frames of video encoder. Even though
intra frames are coded with wavelet transform, the
impact of this can be seen in inter frame coding.
With better quality anchor pictures are retained in
frame memory for prediction, the remaining inter
frame pictures are more efficiently coded with DCT.
The proposed transformation method is also
implemented on H.264/AVC reference software [7].
The paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, the
basics of the transform coding methods are
highlighted. The proposed hybrid transformation
technique has been described in section 3. Extensive
experimental results and discussion have been given
in section 4 followed by conclusion in section 5.

2.1

2.1.1 Discrete Cosine Transform


The Discrete Cosine Transform, a widely used
transform coding technique in image and video
compression algorithms. It is able to perform decorrelation of the input signal in a data-independent
manner. When an image or a frame is transformed by
DCT, it is first divided into blocks, typically of size
of 8x8 pixels.
These pixels are transformed
separately without any influence from the other
surrounding blocks. The top left coefficient in each
block is called the DC coefficient, and is the average
value of the block. The right most coefficients in the
block are the ones with highest horizontal frequency,
while the coefficients at the bottom have the highest
vertical frequency. This implies that the coefficient
in the bottom right corner has the highest frequencies
of all the coefficients.
The forward DCT of a discrete signal for
original image f(i,j) for (MxN) block size and inverse
DCT (IDCT) of reconstructed image f- (i, j) for the
same (MxN) block size are defined as

BASICS OF TRANSFORM CODING

For any inter-frame video coding standards, the


basic functional modules are motion estimation and
compensation, transformation, quantization and
entropy encoder. As shown in the Fig. 1, the
temporal redundancies exists in successive frames
are minimized or reduced by motion estimation and
compensation module. The residue or the difference
between the original and motion compensated frame
is applied into the sequence of transformation and
quantization modules. The spatial redundancy exists
in neighboring pixels in the image or intra-frame is
minimized by these modules.

Basics of Transformation

From the basic concepts of information theory,


coding of symbols in vectors is more efficient than
coding of symbols in scalars [8]. By using this
phenomenon, a group of blocks of consecutive
symbols from the source video input are taken as
vectors. There is high correlation in the neighboring
pixels in an image or intra-frame of video.
Transformation is a reversible model [9] by theory,
which decorrelates the symbols in the given blocks.
In the recent image and video coding standards the
following transformation techniques are applied due
to their
orthonormal
property
and energy
compactness.

F(u,v) =

f(i,j)
=

2C(u)C(v)
MN

M 1N 1

2C(u)C(v)

u 0 v 0

MN

(2i 1)u
cos
2M

cos

(2i 1)u
2M

cos

cos

(2 j 1)v
2N

f (i, j )

(2 j 1)v
F (u , v )
2N

(1)

(2)

Where i, u = 0,1,,M-1, j, v = 0,,N-1 and the


constants C(u) and C(v) are obtained by

Figure 1: Basic Video encoding module.


The transformation module converts the residue
symbols from time domain into frequency domain,
which intends decorrelate the energy present in the
spatial domain. This is so appropriate for
quantization. Quantized transform coefficients and
motion displacement vectors obtained from motion
estimation and compensation module are applied into
entropy encoding (Variable Length Coding) module,
where it removes the statistical redundancy. These
modules are briefly introduced as follows.

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M 1N 1

i 0 j 0

Page 90

C(x)

2
2

=1

if x = 0
otherwise

MPEG standards apply DCT for video


compression. The compression exploits spatial and
temporal redundancies which occur in video objects
or frames. Spatial redundancy can be utilized by
simply coding each frame separately. This technique
is referred to as intra frame coding. Additional
compression can be achieved by taking advantage of
the fact that consecutive frames are often almost
identical. This temporal compression has the

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potential for a major reduction over simply encoding


each frame separately, but the effect is lessened by
the fact that video contains frequent scene changes.
This technique is referred to as inter-frame coding.
The DCT and motion compensated Inter-frame
prediction are combined. The coder subtracts the
motion-compensated prediction from the source
picture to form a prediction error picture. The
prediction error is transformed with the DCT, the
coefficients are quantized using scalar quantization
and these quantized values are coded using an
arithmetic coding. The coded luminance and
chrominance prediction error is combined with side
information required by the decoder, such as motion
vectors and synchronizing information, and formed
into a bit stream for transmission. This technique
works well with a stationary background and a
moving foreground since only the movement in the
foreground is coded.
Despite all the advantages of JPEG and MPEG
compression schemes based on DCT namely
simplicity, satisfactory performance, and availability
of special purpose hardware for implementation;
these are not without their shortcomings. Since the
input image needs to be blocked, correlation across
the block boundaries is not eliminated. The result is
noticeable and annoying blocking artifacts
particularly at low bit rates.
2.1.2 Discrete Wavelet Transform
Wavelets are functions defined over a finite
interval and having an average value of zero. The
basic idea of the wavelet transform is to represent
any arbitrary function as a superposition of a set of
such wavelets or basis functions.
These basis
functions or child wavelets are obtained from a
single prototype wavelet called the mother wavelet,
by dilations or scaling and translations. Wavelets are
used to characterize detail information.
The
averaging information is formally determined by a
kind of dual to the mother wavelet, called the scaling
function (t). The main concept of wavelets is that
at a particular level of resolution j, the set of
translates indexed by n form a basis at that level.
The set of translates forming the basis at the j+1 next
level, a coarser level, can all be written as a sum of
weights times the level-j basis. The scaling function
is chosen such that the coefficients of its translation
are all necessarily bounded.
The scaling function, along with its translation,
forms a basis at the coarser level j+1 but not level j.
Instead, at level j the set of translates of the scaling
function (t) along with the set of translates of the

(t) do form a basis. Since the set of


translates of the scaling function (t) at a coarser
mother wavelet

level can be written exactly as a weighted sum of


translates at a finer level, the scaling function must
satisfy the dilation function

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(t )

2h0 [n] (2t

n)

(3)

n Z

The dilation function is recipes for finding a function


that can be build from a sum of copies of itself that
are scaled, translated, and dilated. Equation (3)
expresses a condition that a function must satisfy to
be a scaling function and at the same time forms a
definition of the scaling vector h0. The wavelet at the
coarser level is also expressed as
\jf (t)

2h1 [n] (2t

n)

(4)

n Z

The discrete high-pass impulse response h1[n],


describing the details using the wavelet function, can
be derived from the discrete low-pass impulse
response h0[n] using the following equation.
h1 [n] ( 1) n h0 [1 n]
(5)
The number of coefficients in the impulse
coefficients in the impulse response is called the
number of taps in the filter. For orthogonal filters,
the forward transform and its inverse are transposing
of each other, and the analysis filters are identical to
the synthesis filters.
2.2

Quantization
A Quantizer [10][11] simply reduces the number
of bits needed to store the transformed coefficients
by reducing the precision of those values. Since this
is a many to one mapping, it is a lossy process and is
the main source of compression in an encoder.
Quantization can be performed on each individual
coefficient, which is referred as scalar quantization.
Quantization can also be performed on a group of
coefficients together, and which is referred as vector
quantization.
Uniform quantization is a process of partitioning
the domain of input values into equally spaced
intervals, except outer intervals. The end points of
partition intervals are called the quantizer decision
boundaries. The output or reconstruction value
corresponding to each interval is taken to be the
midpoint of the interval. The length of each interval
is referred to as the step size (fixed in the case of
uniform quantization), denoted by the symbol .
The step size is given by
2 X max
M

(6)

Where M = number of level of quantizer, Xmax is the


maximum range of input symbols.
In this work, a quantizer used in H.264 has been
considered for inter-frame motion compensated
predictive coding, which allows acceptable loss in
quality for the given video sequences.
2.3

Motion Estimation
Motion estimation (ME) [12] is a process to
estimate the pixels of the current frame from
reference
frame(s).
Block
matching
motion
estimation or block matching algorithm (BMA),
which is temporal redundancy removal technique

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between two or more successive frames, is an


integral part for most of the motion compensated
video coding standards. Frames are being divided
into regular sized blocks, so referred as macro blocks
(MB). Block-matching method is to find the bestmatched block from the previous frame. Based on a
block distortion measure (BDM), the displacement of
the best-matched block will be described as the
motion vector (MV) to the block in the current frame.
The best match is usually evaluated by a cost
function based on a BDM such as Mean absolute
difference (MAD) defined as
1 M 1 N 1 | c( x
MN k 0 l 0

MAD(i, j)

k, y l)

p( x k

i, y l

j) |

(7)
where M x N is the size of the macro block, c(.,.) and
p(.,.) denote the pixel intensity in the current frame
and previously processed frames respectively, (k,l) is
the coordinates of the upper left corner of the current
block, and (x,y) represents the displacement in pixel
which is relative to the position of current block.
After checking each location in the search area, the
motion vector is then determined as the (x,y) at
which the MAD has the minimum value. In this wok,
an exhaustive full search has been applied for motion
compensated prediction technique.
2.4

Entropy Encoding
Based on scientist Claude E. Shannon [8], the
entropy 11 of an information source with alphabet S =
{s1, s2, , s3} is defined as
11

H (S )

pi log 2

pi

i 1
(8)
Where pi is the probability of symbol si in S. The
term log2 1 indicates the amount of information
pi

contained in si, which corresponds to the number of


bits needed to encode si. An entropy encoder further
compresses the quantized values to give better
compression ratio. It uses a model to accurately
determine the probabilities for each quantized value
and produces an appropriate code based on these
probabilities so that the resultant output code stream
will be smaller than the input stream. The most
commonly used entropy encoders are the Huffman
encoder [13] and the arithmetic encoder [14]. It is
important to note that a properly designed entropy
encoder is absolutely necessary along with optimal
signal transformation to get the best possible
compression.
Arithmetic coding is a more modern coding
method that usually outperforms Huffman coding in
practice. In arithmetic coding, a message is
represented by an interval of real numbers between 0
and 1. As the message becomes longer, the interval
needed to represent it becomes smaller, and the
number of bits needed to specify that interval grows.
Successive symbols of the message reduce the size of
the interval in accordance with the symbol
probabilities generated by the model. The arithmetic

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coding is more complex than Huffman coding on its


implementation. CAVLC used in H.264 has been
considered in the experiments for entropy encoding
process.
2.5

Motivation for this work


DCT is best transformation technique for Motion
estimation and compensated predictive coding
models.
Due to blocking artifacts problems
encountered in DCT, sub band coding methods are
considered as an alternative for this problem. DWT
is the best alternative method because of its energy
compaction and preservation property. Due to
ringing artifacts incurred in DWT, there is a
tremendous contribution from the researchers,
experts from various institutes and research labs for
past two decades.
In addition to the transformation module, In
DCT-based
Motion
compensated
Predictive
(MCP)
[15]
coding
architecture,
previously
processed frames are considered as reference frames
to predict the future frames. Even though the
transformation module is energy preserving and
lossless module, it is irreversible in experiments.
Subsequently the transformed coefficients are
quantized to achieve higher compression leads
further loss in the frame, which are to be considered
as reference frames stored in frame memory for
future frame prediction. Decoded frames are used for
the prediction of new frames as per the MCP coding
technique. JPEG 2000 [16] proved that high quality
image compression can be achieved by applying
DWT. This motivates us to have a combination of
orthogonal and bi-orthogonal wavelet filters at
different level of decompositions for intra frames and
DCT for inter frames of video sequence.
3

PROPOSED HYBRID TRANSFORMATION


WITH DIFFERENT COMBINATION OF
WAVELET FILTERS

In order to improve the efficiency of


transformation phase, the following techniques are
adopted in the transformation module of the
CODEC. Orthogonal wavelet filters such as Haar
filter and Daubechies 9/7 filters are considered for
intra frames and Discrete Cosine Transform for inter
frames of video sequence. Figure 2 illustrates an
overview of the encoder of H.264/AVC with a
hybrid
transformation
technique.
Previously
processed frames (Fn-1) are used to perform Motion
Estimation and Motion Compensated Prediction,
which yields motion vectors.
These motion vectors are used to make a motion
compensated frame. In the case of inter frames, the
frame is subtracted from the current frame (Fn) and
the residual frame is transformed using Discrete
Cosine Transform (T) and quantized (Q). In the case
of intra frame, the current frame is transformed using

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Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) with different


orthogonal wavelet filters such as Haar and
Daubechies and quantized (Q). The quantized
transform coefficients are then entropy coded and
transmitted or stored through NAL along with the
motion vectors found in the motion estimation
process.
+

Fn

avoidance of undesirable blocking artifacts, the intra


frame is reconstructed with high quality. The first
frame in a GOF is intra frame coded. Frequent intra
frames enable random access to the coded stream.
Inter frames are predicted from previously decoded
intra frames.
4

Reorder

Entropy
encoder

EXPERIMENTAL
DISCUSSION

RESULTS

AND

ME
DWT

Inter
MC

Fn- 1

Choose
intra
prediction

NAL

Intra
prediction

Intra
IDWT
+
+

Filter

Fn

IT

Q1

Figure 2: Encoder in the hybrid transformation with


wavelet filters.
For predicting the subsequent frames from the
anchor intra frames, the quantized transform
coefficients are again dequantized (Q1) followed by
inversely transformed (IT) and retained in the frame
store or store memory for motion compensated
prediction.
Table 1: Biorthogonal wavelets filter coefficients.
Analysis Filter Coefficients

The experiments were conducted for three CIF


video sequences such as Bus (352x288, 149
frames), Stefan (352x288, 89 frames) and Flower
Garden (352x288, 299 frames), and two QCIF
video sequences like Suzie (176x144, 149 frames)
and Mobile (176x144, 299 frames).
The
experimental results show that the developed hybrid
transform coding with wavelet filters combination
outperforms over conventional DCT based video
coding in terms of quality performance.
Peak Signal to Noise Ratio (PSNR) is commonly
used to measure the quality. It is obtained from
logarithmic scale and it is Mean Squared Error
(MSE) between the original and reconstructed image
or video frame with respect to the highest available
symbol in the spatial domain.
PSN R

Lowpass Filter g L(i)

Highpass Filter g H(i)

0.602949018236359

1.115087052456994

0.266864118442872

0.091271763114249

0.026748757410809

1 0 log

(2n
10

1) 2

M SE

(9)

dB

where n is the number of bits per image symbol.


The fundamental tradeoff is between bit rate and
fidelity [17]. The ability of any source encoding
system is to make this tradeoff as acceptable by
keeping moderate coding efficiency.

Synthesis Filter Coefficients


i

Lowpass Filter h L(i)

Highpass Filter h H(i)

Table 2: Proposed combination of wavelets filters.

1.115087052456994

0.602949018236379

0.591271763114247

Proposed
combination

1st level
Decomposition

P1

Haar

Haar

0.016864118442874

P2
P3

Haar
Daub

Daub
Haar

0.026748757410809

P4

Daub

Daub

In the case of intra frames, inverse Discrete


Wavelet Transform is applied in order to obtain
reconstructed reference frames (Fn) through deblocking filter for inter frames of video sequence.
The hybrid transformation technique employs
different techniques for different categories of frames.
Intra frames are coded using both Haar wavelet filter
coefficients [0.707, 0.707] and bi-orthogonal
Daubechies 9/7 wavelet filter coefficients as shown
in Table 1 [16] in different combinations on different
decomposition
levels. Because of wavelets
advantages over DCT such as complete spatial
correlation among pixels in the whole frame,

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2nd level
Decomposition

Table 2 shows the combination of orthogonal


Haar and Daubechies 9/7 wavelet filters in different
level of decompositions in transform coding. These
combinations are simulated in H.264/AVC codec,
where the DCT is the de-facto transformation
technique for both intra frame and inter frames of
video sequence processing.
Table 3 shows the performance comparison of
the quality parameter in terms of Peak Signal-toNoise Ratio (PSNR) for the existing de-facto DCT
transformation with combination of proposed
wavelet filters. The values in the table represent the
average PSNR improvement for Luminance (Y)

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component and Chrominance (U and V) components.


As per Human Vision System, human eyes are
highly sensitive on Luminance than the Chrominance
components. In this analysis, both Luminance and
Chrominance components are considered due to the
importance of colour in near lossless applications.
There is 0.12 dB Y-PSNR improvement in P4
combination with DCT transformation for Bus CIF
sequence. When the comparison has been made for
Stefan
CIF sequence,
0.31 dB Y-PSNR
improvement has been achieved in P1 combination
with existing transformation. 0.14 dB Y-PSNR
quality has been obtained with DCT transformation
in P4 combination for Flower-Garden CIF
sequence.
Table 3: PSNR comparison for the various video
sequences.

considered in this paper includes the PSNR


performance. The performance evaluations show that
the hybrid transformation technique outperforms the
existing DCT transformation method used in
H.264/AVC significantly. The experimental results
also demonstrate that the combination of Haar
wavelet filter in 1st level of decomposition and
Daubechies
wavelet
filters in 2nd level of
decomposition outperforms other combination and
the original DCT used in the existing AVC standard.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors wish to thank S. Anusha, A. R.
Srividhya, S. Vanitha, V. Rajalakshmi, R. Ramya, M.
Vishnupriya A. Arun, V. Vijay Anand, S. Dhinesh
Kumar and P. Navaneetha Krishnan undergraduate
students for their valuable help.
6

Sequence PSNR
Bus

Stefan
Flower
Garden
Suzie

Mobile

Y
U
V
Y
U
V
Y
U
V
Y
U
V
Y
U
V

Existing
(dB)
35.77
35.83
36.04
36.38
35.00
36.90
36.00
36.51
34.93
37.62
43.76
43.32
33.95
35.13
34.92

P1
(dB)
35.03
35.81
36.03
35.69
35.00
36.90
35.72
36.49
34.92
37.57
43.71
43.35
33.92
35.12
34.96

P2
(dB)
35.88
35.83
36.04
36.50
35.01
36.91
36.13
36.47
34.93
37.66
43.72
43.43
34.10
35.10
34.91

P3
(dB)
35.88
35.82
36.03
36.50
35.00
36.91
36.13
36.50
34.94
37.68
43.75
43.39
34.10
35.08
34.91

P4
(dB)
35.89
35.82
36.03
36.50
35.00
36.91
36.14
36.50
34.93
37.68
43.74
43.39
34.10
35.08
34.91

As per QCIF sequences such as Suzie and


Mobile are concerned, up to 0.15 dB Y-PSNR
improvement has been achieved when the biorthogonal wavelet filters are considered in the 2nd
level of decomposition of the wavelet operation for
intra frames of the video sequences. In both CIF and
QCIF video sequences, a comparable quality
improvement has been attained as per Luminance
components such as U-PSNR and V-PSNR are
concerned.
5

CONCLUSION

In this paper, a hybrid transformation technique


for advanced video coding has been proposed. In
which, the intra frames of video sequence are coded
by DWT with Haar and Daubechies wavelet filters
and the inter frames of video sequence are coded
with DCT technique. The hybrid transformation
technique is also simulated in the existing
H.264/AVC reference software. Experiments were
conducted with various standard CIF and QCIF
video sequences such as Bus, Stefan, Flower-Garden,
Mobile and Suzie. The performance parameter

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Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal

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