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This paper provides a technical overview of a newly added in-loop filtering technique, sample adaptive offset (SAO), in High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). The key idea of SAO is to reduce sample distortion by first classifying reconstructed samples into different categories, obtaining an offset for each category, and then adding the offset to each sample of the category. The offset of each category is properly calculated at the encoder and explicitly signaled to the decoder for reducing sample distortion effectively, while the classification of each sample is performed at both the encoder and the decoder for saving side information significantly. To achieve low latency of only one coding tree unit (CTU), a CTU-based syntax design is specified to adapt SAO parameters for each CTU. A CTU-based optimization algorithm can be used to derive SAO parameters of each CTU, and the SAO parameters of the CTU are inter leaved into the slice data. It is reported that SAO achieves on average 3.5% BD-rate reduction and up to 23.5% BD-rate reduction with less than 1% encoding time increase and about 2.5% decoding time increase under common test conditions of HEVC reference software version 8.0.
Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:22 , Issue: 12 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012