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The rate-distortion performance of a distributed video coding system strongly depends on the characteristics of the side information. One could naïvely think that the best side information is the one with the largest PSNR with respect to the original corresponding image. However, previous works have shown that this is not always the case and a reduction of the side information MSE does not always translate into better rate-distortion performance for the complete system. The scope of this paper is to explore a set of metrics other than the PSNR and explicitly designed to classify the side information with respect to its impact on the end-to-end compression performance. A first contribution is to define an experimental framework that can be used to meaningfully compare different metrics for side information evaluation. As a second contribution, our analysis allows to understand why in some cases PSNR-based metrics provide a fairly reliable estimation of the side information quality, while in other cases they do not. This analysis also allows us to introduce a set of new metrics that are better adapted for side information effectiveness evaluation, and that are based on a suitable power of the absolute difference between side information and the original image, or on the Hamming distance between the respective transform coefficients. Besides their theoretical interest, these new metrics can also improve the rate-distortion performance of some distributed video coding systems such as the hash-based ones. We observe improvement up to 74% rate reduction in a simple study case.