Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Packet Video Workshop 2018

23rd Packet Video Workshop 2018
June 12, 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
(co-located with ACM MMSys'18)

Workshop Co-Chairs
  • Ali C. Begen, Ozyegin University / Networked Media, Turkey (ali.begen at networked.media)
  • Christian Timmerer, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt / Bitmovin Inc., Austria (christian.timmerer at itec.uni-klu.ac.at)
Workshop TPC Co-Chairs
  • Roger Zimmermann, National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore (rogerz at comp.nus.edu.sg)
  • Thomas Schierl, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), Germany (thomas.schierl at hhi.fraunhofer.de)
The 23rd Packet Video Workshop (PV 2018) is devoted to presenting technological advancements and innovations in video and multimedia transmission over packet networks. The workshop provides a unique venue for people from the media coding and networking fields to meet, interact and exchange ideas. Its charter is to promote the research and development in both established and emerging areas of video streaming and multimedia networking. PV 2018 will be held in Amsterdam on June 12th. The workshop will be a single-track event and welcomes paper submissions from both cutting-edge research, and business and consumer applications. PV 2018 will be co-located with ACM MMSys, NOSSDAV, NetGames and MMVE.

PV 2018 seeks papers in all areas of media delivery over current IP and future networks. Authors are especially encouraged to submit papers with real-world experimental results and datasets.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to)
  • Adaptive media streaming, and content storage, distribution and delivery
  • Network-distributed video coding and network-based media processing
  • Next-generation/future video coding, point cloud compression
  • Audiovisual communication, surveillance and healthcare systems
  • Wireless, mobile, IoT, and embedded systems for multimedia applications
  • Future media internetworking: information-centric networking and 5G
  • Immersive media: virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 360° video and multi-sensory systems, and its streaming
  • Machine learning in media coding and streaming systems
  • Standardization: DASH, MMT, CMAF, OMAF, MiAF, WebRTC, MSE, EME, WebVR, Hybrid Media, WAVE, etc.
  • Applications: social media, game streaming, personal broadcast, healthcare, industry 4.0, education, transportation, etc.
Important dates
  • Submission deadline: March 1, 2018
  • Acceptance notification: April 9, 2018
  • Camera-ready deadline: April 19, 2018

Submission instructions
Prospective authors are invited to submit an electronic version of full papers, in PDF format, up to six printed pages in length (double column ACM conference format) at the PV 2018 Web site. The authors are also encouraged to regularly check the PV 2018 web site for the latest information and updates. The proceedings will be published by ACM Digital Library.

Monday, September 4, 2017

MPEG news: a report from the 119th meeting, Turin, Italy

The original blog post can be found at the Bitmovin Techblog and has been updated here to focus on and highlight research aspects. Additionally, this version of the blog post will be also posted at ACM SIGMM Records.


The MPEG press release comprises the following topics:
  • Evidence of New Developments in Video Compression Coding
  • Call for Evidence on Transcoding for Network Distributed Video Coding
  • 2nd Edition of Storage of Sample Variants reaches Committee Draft
  • New Technical Report on Signalling, Backward Compatibility and Display Adaptation for HDR/WCG Video Coding
  • Draft Requirements for Hybrid Natural/Synthetic Scene Data Container

Evidence of New Developments in Video Compression Coding

At the 119th MPEG meeting, responses to the previously issued call for evidence have been evaluated and they have all successfully demonstrated evidence. The call requested responses for use cases of video coding technology in three categories:
  • standard dynamic range (SDR) — two responses;
  • high dynamic range (HDR) — two responses; and
  • 360° omnidirectional video — four responses.
The evaluation of the responses included subjective testing and an assessment of the performance of the “Joint Exploration Model” (JEM).

The results indicate significant gains over HEVC for a considerable number of test cases with comparable subjective quality at 40-50% less bit rate compared to HEVC for the SDR and HDR test cases with some positive outliers (i.e., higher bit rate savings). Thus, the MPEG-VCEG Joint Video Exploration Team (JVET) concluded that evidence exists of compression technology that may significantly outperform HEVC after further development to establish a new standard. As a next step, the plan is to issue a call for proposals at 120th MPEG meeting (October 2017) and responses expected to be evaluated at the 122th MPEG meeting (April 2018).

We already witness an increase of research articles addressing video coding technologies with capabilities beyond HEVC which will further increase in the future. The main driving force is over the top (OTT) delivery which calls for more efficient bandwidth utilization. However, competition is also increasing with the emergence of AV1 of AOMedia and we may observe also an increasing number of articles in that direction including evaluations thereof. An interesting aspect is also that the number of use cases is also increasing (e.g., see different categories above), which adds further challenges to the "complex video problem".

Call for Evidence on Transcoding for Network Distributed Video Coding

The call for evidence on transcoding for network distributed video coding targets interested parties possessing technology providing transcoding of video at lower computational complexity than transcoding done using a full re-encode. The primary application is adaptive bitrate streaming where a highest bitrate stream is transcoded into lower bitrate streams. It is expected that responses may use “side streams” (or side information, some may call it metadata) accompanying the highest bitrate stream to assist in the transcoding process. MPEG expects submissions for the 120th MPEG meeting where compression efficiency and computational complexity will be assessed.

Transcoding has been discussed already for a long time and I can certainly recommend this article from 2005 published in the Proceedings of the IEEE. The question is, what is different now, 12 years later, and what metadata (or side streams/information) is required for interoperability among different vendors (if any)?

A Brief Overview of Remaining Topics...

  • The 2nd edition of storage of sample variants reaches Committee Draft and expands its usage to MPEG-2 transport stream whereas the first edition primarily focused on ISO base media file format.
  • The new technical report for high dynamic range (HDR) and wide colour gamut (WCG) video coding comprises a survey of various signaling mechanisms including backward compatibility and display adaptation.
  • MPEG issues draft requirements for a scene representation media container enabling the interchange of content for authoring and rendering rich immersive experiences which is currently referred to as hybrid natural/synthetic scene (HNSS) data container.

Other MPEG (Systems) Activities at the 119th Meeting

DASH is in fully maintenance mode as only minor enhancements/corrections have been discussed including contributions to conformance and reference software. The omnidirectional media format (OMAF) is certainly the hottest topic within MPEG systems which is actually between two stages (i.e., between DIS and FDIS) and, thus, a study of DIS has been approved and national bodies are kindly requested to take this into account when casting their votes (incl. comments). The study of DIS comprises format definitions with respect to coding and storage of omnidirectional media including audio and video (aka 360°). The common media application format (CMAF) has been ratified at the last meeting and awaits publications by ISO. In the meantime CMAF is focusing on conformance and reference software as well as amendments regarding various media profiles. Finally, requirements for a multi-image application format (MiAF) are available since the last meeting and at the 119th MPEG meeting a work draft has been approved. MiAF will be based on HEIF and the goal is to define additional constraints to simplify its file format options.

We have successfully demonstrated live 360 adaptive streaming as described here but we expect various improvements from standards available and under development of MPEG. Research aspects in these areas are certainly interesting in the area of performance gains and evaluations with respect to bandwidth efficiency in open networks as well as how these standardization efforts could be used to enable new use cases. 

Publicly available documents from the 119th MPEG meeting can be found here (scroll down to the end of the page). The next MPEG meeting will be held in Macau, China, October 23-27, 2017. Feel free to contact me for any questions or comments.

Monday, July 24, 2017

IEEE ICME 2017: Keynote at Workshop on Mobile Multimedia Computing, Hong Kong, Jul 14, 2017

Titel: Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP: Overview, State-of-the-Art, and Challenges

Abstract: Real-time entertainment services deployed over the open, unmanaged Internet – streaming audio and video – account now for more than 70% of the evening traffic in North American fixed access networks and it is assumed that this figure will reach 80% by 2020. The technology used for such services is commonly referred to as Dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP and is widely adopted by various platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, Flimmit, etc. thanks to the standardization of MPEG-DASH. This presentation provides an overview of the MPEG-DASH standard, various implementation options - specifically on informative aspects -, and reviews the work-in-progress and future research directions.



Bio: Christian Timmerer is an Associate Professor with Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria, and his research focus is on immersive multimedia communication, streaming, adaptation, and quality of experience. He has authored over 150 publications in his research area and was the General Chair of WIAMIS 2008, QoMEX 2013, and ACM MMSys 2016. He participated in several EC-funded projects, notably, DANAE, ENTHRONE, P2P-Next, ALICANTE, SocialSensor, and the COST Action IC1003 QUALINET. He also participated in ISO/MPEG work for several years, notably, in the areas of MPEG-21, MPEG-M, MPEG-V, and MPEG-DASH. He is a Co-Founder of Bitmovin and CIO | Head of Research and Standardization.

IEEE ICME 2017: http://www.icme2017.org/

Thursday, July 13, 2017

DASH-IF awarded Grand Challenge on Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP at IEEE ICME 2017

Hong Kong, July 12, 2017


Real-time entertainment services such as streaming video and audio are currently accounting for more than 70% of the Internet traffic during peak hours. Interestingly, these services are all delivered over-the-top (OTT) of the existing networking infrastructure using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) standard enables smooth multimedia streaming towards heterogeneous devices.

The aim of the DASH-IF Grand Challenge on Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP at IEEE ICME 2017 is to solicit contributions addressing end-to-end delivery aspects that will help improve the QoE while optimally using the network resources at an acceptable cost. Such aspects include, but are not limited to, content preparation for adaptive streaming, delivery in the Internet and streaming client implementations. A special focus of 2017’s grand challenge will be related to virtual reality applications and services including 360 degree videos.

We received the following submissions, which have been evaluated by DASH-IF members:
  • "Content Preparation and Cross-Device Delivery of 360° Video with 4k Field of View Using DASH" by Louay Bassbouss, Stefan Pham, Stephan Steglich, Martin Lasak
  • "A Hybrid P2P/Multi-Source Quality-Adaptive Live-Streaming Solution for high end-user's QoE" by Joachim Bruneau-Queyreix, Mathias Lacaud, Daniel Negru
  • "Efficient content preparation and distribution of 360VR sequences using MPEG-DASH technology" by Cesar Diaz, Julian Cabrera, Marta Orduna, Lara Munoz, Pablo Perex, Narciso Garcia
  • "Optimal Viewport Adaptive Streaming for 360-Degree Videos" by Zhimin Xu, Lan Xie, Xinggong Zhang, Han Hu, Yixuan Ban, Zongming Guo
The winner will be awarded  €750 and the runner-up €250.

Each submission has been presented at IEEE ICME 2017 within an oral session, which was attended very well. We've also seen interesting demos after all submissions have been presented.

 


This year's award goes to the following papers:

WINNER: "A Hybrid P2P/Multi-Source Quality-Adaptive Live-Streaming Solution for high end-user's QoE" by Joachim Bruneau-Queyreix, Mathias Lacaud, Daniel Negru
C. Timmerer (left), Joachim Bruneau-Queyreix (middle), Axel Becker-Lakus (right)


RUNNER-UP: "Optimal Viewport Adaptive Streaming for 360-Degree Videos" by Zhimin Xu, Lan Xie, Xinggong Zhang, Han Hu, Yixuan Ban, Zongming Guo
C. Timmerer (left), Zongming Guo (middle), Axel Becker-Lakus (right)

We would like to congratulate all winners and hope seeing you next year at IEEE ICME 2018.

Photos by Cigdem Turan (PolyU, Hong Kong).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

DASH-IF awarded Excellence in DASH award at ACM MMSys 2017

Taipei, Taiwan, June 21, 2017.

The DASH Industry Forum Excellence in DASH Award at ACM MMSys 2017 acknowledges papers substantially addressing MPEG-DASH as the presentation format and are selected for presentation at ACM MMSys 2017. Preference is given to practical enhancements and developments which can sustain future commercial usefulness of DASH. The DASH format used should conform to the DASH-IF Interoperability Points as defined by http://dashif.org/guidelines/. It is a financial prize as follows: First place – €1000; Second place – €500; and Third place – €250. The winners are chosen by a DASH Industry Forum appointed committee and results are final.

Viswanathan (Vishy) Swaminathan 

This year's award goes to the following papers
1. Ahmed H. Zahran, Jason J. Quinlan, K. K. Ramakrishnan, and Cormac J. Sreenan. 2017. SAP: Stall-Aware Pacing for Improved DASH Video Experience in Cellular Networks. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM on Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys'17). Taiwan, Taipei, June 2017.
Vishy (left), Ahmed H. Zahran (right)
2. Jan Willem Kleinrouweler, Britta Meixner, and Pablo Cesar. 2017. Improving Video Quality in Crowded Networks Using a DANE. In Proceedings of the 27th Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV'17). Taiwan, Taipei, June 2017.
Jan Willem Kleinrouweler (left), Vishy (right)
3. Mario Graf, Christian Timmerer, and Christopher Mueller. 2017. Towards Bandwidth Efficient Adaptive Streaming of Omnidirectional Video over HTTP: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM on Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys'17). Taiwan, Taipei, June 2017.
Vishy (left), Christian Timmerer (right)

We would like to congratulate all winners and hope seeing you next year at ACM MMSys 2018.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

QoMEX'17 Review: Down the Rabbit Hole - Immersive Experience

During QoMEX 2017 in Erfurt, Germany we had a special session entitled "Down the Rabbit Hole" which I have introduced here already. The papers of the special session will appear soon in IEEEXplore but together with my co-organizers of this special session -- Raimund Schatz and Judith Redi -- we also wanted to run the special session in a special way. Therefore, we asked authors to prepare concise and thought-provoking paper presentations (~15min incl. Q&A -- paper title, presenter, picture, key words below) to save some time for a panel discussion. Surprisingly, it worked very well and the special session turned out to be worthwhile and informative. In order to keep the audience connected and involved we posted a single slide of all panelists (i.e., paper presenters) which was shown all the time (see below).


The discussion was centered around the question "what is your understanding of a fully immersive experience" which revealed interesting aspects and finally resulted in the main challenge how to quantify immersive experience. In this context, Mr. T. (only those who've been at QoMEX and in this session know why he is called Mr. T. -- join us next time and we will explain you what's behind) raised an interesting idea to interpret the Turing test for immersive experience. That is, fully or truly immersive experience is achieved if a human is no longer aware that she/he actually interacts with cyber-physical systems. I think this statement sets the bar (high) but definitely worth to consider.

Finally, I'd like to thank all presenters/panelists for an amazing special session at QoMEX'17 but the journey is not yet over. I'll be attending ACM MMSys and IEEE ICME presenting/discussing various aspects of immersive experiences; also at the MPEG meeting in Torino which will be dedicated to standardization aspects of immersive experiences.

Also big big thanks to the conference organizers, the team around the general chair Alexander Raake
(TU Ilmenau, Germany), for hosting such a wonderful event! Hope seeing you all next year for QoMEX 2018.

Feel free to test/play around with Bitmovin solutions for VR/360-degree streaming and if you have a RICOH THETA S check out my blog post how to setup a live streaming session.

Come and join us on the journey down the rabbit hole which eventually will lead to wonderland.




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MPEG news: a report from the 118th meeting, Hobart, Australia

The original blog post can be found at the Bitmovin Techblog and has been updated here to focus on and highlight research aspects. Additionally, this version of the blog post will be also posted at ACM SIGMM Records.

MPEG News Archive
The entire MPEG press release can be found here comprising the following topics:
  • Coded Representation of Immersive Media (MPEG-I): new work item approved and call for test data issued
  • Common Media Application Format (CMAF): FDIS approved
  • Beyond High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC): call for evidence for "beyond HEVC" and verification tests for screen content coding extensions of HEVC

Coded Representation of Immersive Media (MPEG-I)

MPEG started to work on the new work item referred to as ISO/IEC 23090 with the "nickname" MPEG-I targeting future immersive applications. The goal of this new standard is to enable various forms of audio-visual immersion including panoramic video with 2D and 3D audio with various degrees of true 3D visual perception. It currently comprises five parts: (pt. 1) a technical report describing the scope of this new standard and a set of use cases and applications; (pt. 2) an application format for omnidirectional media (aka OMAF) to address the urgent need of the industry for a standard is this area; (pt. 3) immersive video which is a kind of placeholder for the successor of HEVC (if at all); (pt. 4) immersive audio as a placeholder for the successor of 3D audio (if at all); and (pt. 5) for point cloud compression. The point cloud compression standard targets lossy compression for point clouds in real-time communication, six Degrees of Freedom (6 DoF) virtual reality, and the dynamic mapping for autonomous driving, cultural heritage applications, etc. Part 2 is related to OMAF which I've discussed in my previous blog post.

MPEG also established an Ad-hoc Group (AhG) on immersive Media quality evaluation with the following mandates: 1. Produce a document on VR QoE requirements; 2. Collect test material with immersive video and audio signals; 3. Study existing methods to assess human perception and reaction to VR stimuli; 4. Develop test methodology for immersive media, including simultaneous video and audio; 5. Study VR experience metrics and their measurability in VR services and devices. AhGs are open to everybody and mostly discussed using mailing lists (join here https://lists.aau.at/mailman/listinfo/immersive-quality). Interestingly, a Joint Qualinet-VQEG team on Immersive Media (JQVIM) has been recently established with similar goals and also the VR Industry Forum (VRIF) has issued a call for VR360 content. It seems there's a strong need for a dataset similar to the one we have created for MPEG-DASH long time ago.

The JQVIM has been created as part of the QUALINET task force on "Immersive Media Experiences (IMEx)" which aims at providing end users the sensation of being part of the particular media which shall result in a worthwhile, informative user and quality of experience. The main goals are providing datasets and tools (hardware/software), subjective quality evaluations, field studies, cross- validation including a strong theoretical foundation relevant along the empirical databases and tools which hopefully results in a framework, methodology, and best practices for immersive media experiences.

Common Media Application Format (CMAF)

The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) has been issued at the 118th MPEG meeting which concludes the formal technical development process of the standard. At this point in time national bodies can only vote Yes|No and editorial changes are allowed (if any) before the International Standard (IS) becomes available. The goal of CMAF is to define a single format for the transport and storage of segmented media including audio/video formats, subtitles, and encryption -- it is derived from the ISO Base Media File Format (ISOBMFF). As it's a combination of various MPEG standard it's referred to as an Application Format (AS) which mainly takes existing formats/standards and glues them together for a specific target application. The CMAF standard clearly targets dynamic adaptive streaming (over -- but not limited to -- HTTP) but focusing on the media format only and excluding the manifest format. Thus, the CMAF standard shall be compatible with other formats such as MPEG-DASH and HLS. In fact, HLS has been extended already some time ago to support 'fragmented MP4' which we have demonstrated also and it has been interpreted as a first step towards the harmonization of MPEG-DASH and HLS; at least on the segment format. The delivery of CMAF contents with DASH will be described in part 7 of MPEG-DASH that basically comprises a mapping of CMAF concepts to DASH terms.

From a research perspective, it would be interesting to explore how certain CMAF concepts are able to address current industry needs, specifically in the context of low-latency streaming which has been demonstrated recently.

Beyond HEVC...

The preliminary call for evidence (CfE) on video compression with capability beyond HEVC has been issued and is addressed to interested parties that have technology providing better compression capability than the existing standard, either for conventional video material, or for other domains such as HDR/WCG or 360-degree ("VR") video. Test cases are defined for SDR, HDR, and 360-degree content. This call has been made jointly by ISO/IEC MPEG and ITU-T SG16/Q6 (VCEG). The evaluation of the responses is scheduled for July 2017 and depending on the outcome of the CfE, the parent bodies of the Joint Video Exploration Team (JVET) of MPEG and VCEG collaboration intend to issue a Draft Call for Proposals by the end of the July meeting.

Finally, verification tests have been conducted for the Screen Content Coding (SCC) extensions to HEVC showing exceptional performance. Screen content is video containing a significant proportion of rendered (moving or static) graphics, text, or animation rather than, or in addition to, camera-captured video scenes. For scenes containing a substantial amount of text and graphics, the tests showed a major benefit in compression capability for the new extensions over both the Advanced Video Coding standard and the previous version of the newer HEVC standard without the new SCC features.

The question whether and how new codecs like (beyond) HEVC competes with AV1 is subject to research and development. It has been discussed also in the scientific literature but lacks of vendor neutral comparison which is difficult to achieve and not to compare apples with oranges (due to the high number of different coding tools and parameters). An important aspect which always needs to be considered is one typically compares specific implementations of a coding format and not the standard as the encoding is usually not defined, only the bitstream syntax that implicitly defines the decoder.

Publicly available documents from the 118th MPEG meeting can be found here (scroll down to the end of the page). The next MPEG meeting will be held in Torino, Italy, July 17-21, 2017. Feel free to contact us for any questions or comments.