ITU-T SG12 standardizes measurement of adaptive-bitrate video stream quality

adaptive bitrate
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The ITU-T SG12 has approved recommendation P.1203, which describes algorithms (“models”) that estimate the end-user media quality for adaptive bitrate video streaming services.

P.1203 was approved by ITU-T SG12 in December last year, according to a joint statement released Monday by the seven companies that created the standard: Deutsche Telekom (with Ilmenau University of Technology), Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, NetScout Systems, NTT Network Technology Laboratories, Opticom Dipl.-Ing. M. Keyhl, and SwissQual (owned by Rohde & Schwarz).

P.1203 is applicable to non-intrusive in-service quality monitoring and contributes to the development of high-quality adaptive bitrate video streaming services. By using P.1203, service providers and network operators can now monitor the quality of their video services, and take actions if the targeted quality is not reached.

Video streaming is one of the most used internet services today, and adaptive bitrate streaming mechanisms are often used to balance the media delivery according to any variations in the available bandwidth. This is also important for mobile scenarios, where the bandwidth can vary due to interference and user movement. While adaptation improves the possibility of an interrupt-free delivery, it also creates quality variations in the audiovisual media which can be disturbing to the end user.

The standard comprises individual models for short-term video and audio quality estimation, and a final integration model. The integration model combines the short-term outputs from the video and audio quality models into a long-term audio-visual quality estimation, and also includes the effect of stalling (freezing). The standard describes different model realizations for different levels of content encryption and computational complexity.

P.1203 currently supports adaptive bitrate video streaming services for H.264/AVC-encoded videos up to HD format. As a next step, in its ongoing work ITU-T is extending the standard to cover up to 4K/UHD format video, then including three video codecs: H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC and VP9.

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