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Efficient adaptation to channel bandwidth is broadly required for effective streaming video over the Internet. To address this requirement, a novel seamless switching scheme among scalable video bitstreams is proposed in this paper. It can significantly improve the performance of video streaming over a broad range of bit rates by fully taking advantage of both the high coding efficiency of nonscalable bitstreams and the flexibility of scalable bitstreams, where small channel bandwidth fluctuations are accommodated by the scalability of a single scalable bitstream, whereas large channel bandwidth fluctuations are tolerated by flexible switching between different scalable bitstreams. Two main techniques for switching between video bitstreams are proposed. Firstly, a novel coding scheme is proposed to enable drift-free switching at any frame from the current scalable bitstream to one operated at lower rates without sending any overhead bits. Secondly, a switching-frame coding scheme is proposed to greatly reduce the number of extra bits needed for switching from the current scalable bitstream to one operated at higher rates. Compared with existing approaches, such as switching between nonscalable bitstreams and streaming with a single scalable bitstream, our experimental results clearly show that the proposed scheme brings higher efficiency and more flexibility in video streaming.
Date of Publication: April 2004