Skip to Main Content
In many scenarios where it is desirable to provide a number of different descriptions of a video sequence, the simulcasting of single-layer bitstreams is impractical due to the amount of data involved. The new technique "stream morphing" introduced in this paper exploits the redundancy that exists between different compressed descriptions of the same video sequence at different quality levels. This works to dramatically reduce the data rates required to achieve the same effect as simulcast. The results shown here indicate that an SNR scalable video system constructed using this principle outperforms the structures defined in MPEG-2 and the MPEG-4 Streaming Video Profile. Stream morphing has a number of additional advantages: no loss of subjective quality compared to single-layer bitstreams at the same peak SNR regardless of the number of layers involved (unlike the MPEG-2 approach), the ability to generate a scalable representation of a video sequence from a set of single-layer descriptions in a computationally inexpensive way, and compatibility with existing single-layer decoders via a simple preprocessor without the need for transcoding. Stream morphing is demonstrated here in the context of MPEG-4; however, it is compatible with other similar video coding standards.