Skip to Main Content
An embedded source code allows the decoder to reconstruct the source progressively from the prefixes of a single bit stream. It is desirable to design joint source-channel coding schemes which retain the capability of progressive reconstruction in the presence of channel noise or packet loss. Here, we address the problem of joint source-channel coding of images for progressive transmission over memoryless bit error or packet erasure channels. We develop a framework for encoding based on embedded source codes and embedded error correcting and error detecting channel codes. For a target transmission rate, we provide solutions and an algorithm for the design of optimal unequal error/erasure protection. Three performance measures are considered: the average distortion, the average peak signal-to-noise ratio, and the average useful source coding rate. Under the assumption of rate compatibility of the underlying channel codes, we provide necessary conditions for progressive transmission of joint source-channel codes. We also show that the unequal error/erasure protection policies that maximize the average useful source coding rate allow progressive transmission with optimal unequal protection at a number of intermediate rates.