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Rate-distortion optimized streaming of packetized media

Philip A. Chou and Zhourong Miao


This paper addresses the problem of streaming packetizedfl media over a lossy packet network in a rate-distortion optimizedfl way. We show that although the data units in a media presentationfl generally depend on each other according to a directedfl acyclic graph, the problem of rate-distortion optimized streamingfl of an entire presentation can be reduced to the problem of errorcostfl optimized transmission of an isolated data unit.We show howfl to solve the latter problem in a variety of scenarios, including thefl important common scenario of sender-driven streaming with feedbackfl over a best-effort network, which we couch in the frameworkfl of Markov decision processes.We derive a fast practical algorithmfl for nearly optimal streaming in this scenario, and we derivefl a general purpose iterative descent algorithm for locally optimalfl streaming in arbitrary scenarios. Experimental results show thatfl systems based on our algorithms have steady-state gains of 2–6 dBfl or more over systems that are not rate-distortion optimized. Furthermore,fl our systems essentially achieve the best possible performance:fl the operational distortion-rate function of the source at thefl capacity of the packet erasure channel.


Publication typeArticle
Published inIEEE Trans. Multimedia
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
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