Sunday, December 23, 2018

What happened in multimedia communication in 2018?

In January 2018 I wrote a blog post entitled "What to care about in multimedia communication in 2018?" and I think it's worth looking back to see what actually happened with respect to next generation video coding formats and adaptive streaming techniques.

In April 2018, the responses to the call for proposals for the next standard in video compression have been evaluated and a first working draft and test model for the Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard have been approved. At this point already, some proposals demonstrated compression efficiency gains of typically 40% or more when compared to using HEVC. Currently, working draft 3 and test model 3 of VVC (VTM 3) are available and we may certainly expect compression efficiency gains well-beyond the targeted 50% for the final standard. An overview about VVC can be found here (by C. Feldmann) and here (by M. Wien). The licensing issues have been acknowledged and, thus, the Media Coding Industry Forum (MC-IF) has been established.

At the beginning of 2018, everyone was also very curious about AOMedia and AV1. Version 1 of the specification has been finally become available and in the meantime it is implemented/deployed on both content provisioning/encoding (e.g. Bitmovin) and content consumption/decoding (e.g., Chrome, Firefox). In this context, we also published a multi-codec DASH dataset comprising AVC, HEVC, VP9, and AV1 (VVC will be added at a later stage). In general, however, we are entering the era of multiple video codecs deployed in products and services whereby this trend is also confirmed by Bitmovin's latest video developer survey.

MPEG-DASH 3rd edition has been approved and is awaiting publication but I expect this to happen in 2019 though. An overview of the MPEG-DASH status is shown in the figure below.
In this context, the DASH-IF produced various vital assets such as interoperability guidelines (latest v4.3, content protection, ATSC 3.0, SAND), test vectors, conformance tools, and a reference client. For informative aspects of MPEG-DASH such as the bitrate adaptation schemes the interested reader is referred to our survey. This survey gives an overview about existing techniques (see figure below) and also outlines future research. It is available for free for everyone (open access).

Finally, I mentioned a couple of scientific events in 2018 including QoMEX, MMSys (NOSSDAV, PV), ICME, ICIP, PCS, and MIPR. I have attended all of the them (except PCS), each showing advances in their respective field. These events are probably worth to attend also in 2019 but I will certainly blog about this early next year. However, I'd like to hear your opinion of what happened in 2018 and what we may expect in 2019...

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