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As streaming videos are becoming increasingly popular, it is important to understand the end-to-end streaming system and to develop effective algorithms for quality control. In this paper, we address the problem of rate control for streaming videos with a control-theoretic approach. Among the various control knobs, video bit rate is one of the most effective in the sense that it has a direct impact on the interaction between the video coder and network system. While increasing rate reduces the coder-induced distortion, it may also cause congestion at a bottleneck link. The packet loss due to congestion will, then, increase the distortion of the decoded video. We model end-to-end video steaming as a feedback control system, taking into account video codec and sequence characteristics, rate control, active queue management, and receiver feedback. We then develop effective proportional (P) controllers to stabilize the received video quality as well as the bottleneck link queue, for both homogeneous and heterogeneous video systems. Simulation results are presented to demonstrate the efficacy of the P controllers and the viability of the proposed control-theoretic approach.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2009