SVC4QoE Project Combines Scalable Video Coding and Quality of Experience Technologies for Robust Mobile Performance Over DVB-T2

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

RENNES, France — The SVC4QoE consortium has successfully concluded a project that demonstrates the potential of combined Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and Quality of Experience (QoE) technologies to improve mobile multimedia services while reducing broadcasters’ capital and operational costs. In the project’s final phase, SVC4QoE conducted field trials in the Rennes area over an experimental DVB-T2 network, validating the theoretical concepts and gathering operational data.

The SVC4QoE project began in October 2009 with the definition of a full multimedia transmission chain combining SVC, DVB-T2 (broadcast transmission), and QoE technologies. The project partners provided all the technological components, and the integration phase culminated with the field trials performed during the last quarter of 2011.

The project demonstrated the benefits of the combination of these technologies for mobile reception on an efficient DVB-T2 transmission network. When receiving conditions deteriorate, the QoE monitoring probe embedded in the terminal prevents a complete loss of the picture by supplying the SVC decoder with the securely received base layer, with or without the SVC enhancement layer.

The SVC4QoE consortium benefited from the skills of a multidisciplinary team composed of AccepTV, Degetel, IETR/INSA, Inria, IRCCyN/Université de Nantes, TeamCast (project leader), Telecom Bretagne, TDF, and Thomson Video Networks.

The project’s transmission chain assembled an offline SVC encoder from IETR/INSA, a MANE splitter from Telecom Bretagne, and a DVB-T2 multiPLP gateway from Thomson Video Networks feeding two TeamCast DVB-T2 modulators. The DVB-T2 signal emitted from two TDF transmitter sites allowed the testing of MFN (multifrequency network), SISO-SFN (single-frequency network), and even MISO-SFN broadcast operation.

The broadcast signals were received in a mobile van, where the DVB-T2 demodulator supplied the MANE splitter connected to an SVC decoder. The QoE metric from AccepTV controlled the SVC decoder to ensure the display of the correctly decoded SVC layers. Coverage assessment was undertaken by TDF and closely matched the calculated coverage predictions. Degetel supplied complementary developments for the terminal, Inria conducted propagation simulations, and IRCCyN provided QoE expertise for defining scenarios and performed subjective tests with the demonstrator.

The SVC4QoE project has contributed to a greater understanding of the benefits of combining SVC, QoE, and DVB-T2 multiPLP transmission features instead of using them separately, and the project results have been disseminated through several publications and demonstrations, including a showcase at IBC2011.

“SVC4QoE has been an exciting and challenging experience, associating expertise from nine organizations in many video and broadcast domains,” said Alain Untersee, project coordinator. “The experiments conducted both in laboratory and in the field confirmed the validity of the concepts, and highlighted that a lot of work remains necessary to turn them into a real consumer experience.”