Skip to main content

Unbalanced Quantized Multiple State Video Coding


Multiple state video coding (MSVC) is a multiple description scheme based on frame-wise splitting of the video sequence into two or more subsequences. Each subsequence is encoded separately to generate descriptions which can be decoded independently. Due to subsequence splitting, the prediction gain decreases. But since reconstruction capabilities improve, error resilience of the system increases. Our focus is on multiple state video coding with unbalanced quantized descriptions, which is particularly interesting for video streaming applications over heterogeneous networks where path diversity is used and transmission channels have varying transmission characteristics. The total bitrate is kept constant, while the subsequences are quantized with different stepsizes depending on the sequence as well as on the transmission conditions. Our goal is to figure out under which transmission conditions unbalanced bitstreams lead to good system performance in terms of the average reconstructed PSNR. Besides, we investigate the effects of intra-coding on the error resilience of the system and show that the sequence characteristics, and in particular the degree of motion in the sequence, have an important impact on the decoding performance. Finally, we propose a distortion model that is the core of an optimized rate allocation strategy, which is dependent on the network characteristics and status as well as on the video sequence characteristics.


  1. 1.

    Apostolopoulos JG: Reliable video communication over lossy packet networks using multiple state encoding and path diversity. Visual Communications and Image Processing (VCIP '01), January 2001, San Jose, Calif, USA, Proceedings of SPIE 4310: 392–409.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Ekmekci S, Sikora T: Unbalanced quantized multiple description video transmission using path diversity. Image and Video Communications and Processing (IVCP '03), January 2003, Santa Clara, Calif, USA, Proceedings of SPIE 5022: 301–311.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Goyal VK: Multiple description coding: compression meets the network. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine 2001, 18(5):74–93. 10.1109/79.952806

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Lee WS, Pickering MR, Frater MR, Arnold JF: A robust codec for transmission of very low bit-rate video over channels with bursty errors. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology 2000, 10(8):1403–1412. 10.1109/76.889033

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Kim C-S, Lee S-U: Multiple description motion coding algorithm for robust video transmission. Proceedings of IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS~'00), May 2000, Geneva, Switzerland 4: 717–720.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Reibman AR, Jafarkhani H, Wang Y, Orchard MT, Puri R: Multiple-description video coding using motion-compensated temporal prediction. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology 2002, 12(3):193–204. 10.1109/76.993440

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Vaishampayan VA, Domaszewicz J: Design of entropy-constrained multiple-description scalar quantizers. IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 1994, 40(1):245–250. 10.1109/18.272491

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Tang X, Zakhor A: Matching pursuits multiple description coding for wireless video. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology 2002, 12(6):566–575. 10.1109/TCSVT.2002.800327

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Puri R, Ramchandran K, Lee KW, Bharghavan V: Forward error correction (FEC) codes based multiple description coding for Internet video streaming and multicast. Signal Processing: Image Communication 2001, 16(8):745–762. 10.1016/S0923-5965(01)00005-4

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Gersho A: The channel splitting problem and Modulo-PCM coding. Bell Labs Memo for Record (not archived), October 1979

  11. 11.

    Jayant NS: Subsampling of a DPCM speech channel to provide two self-contained half-rate channels. Bell System Technical Journal 1981, 60(4):501–509.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Jayant NS, Christensen SW: Effects of packet losses in waveform coded speech and improvements due to an odd-even sample-interpolation procedure. IEEE Transactions on Communications 1981, 29(2):101–109. 10.1109/TCOM.1981.1094975

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Ingle A, Vaishampayan VA: DPCM system design for diversity systems with applications to packetized speech. IEEE Transactions on Speech and Audio Processing 1995, 3(1):48–58. 10.1109/89.365381

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Reudink DO: The channel splitting problem with interpolative coders. In Tech. Rep. TM80-134-1. Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, USA; October 1980.

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Wenger S, Knorr GD, Ott J, Kossentini F: Error resilience support in H.263+. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology 1998, 8(7):867–877. 10.1109/76.735382

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Comas D, Singh R, Ortega A, Marques F: Unbalanced multiple-description video coding with rate-distortion optimization. EURASIP Journal on Applied Signal Processing 2003, 2003(1):81–90. 10.1155/S1110865703211215

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Apostolopoulos JG, Wee SJ: Unbalanced multiple description video communication using path diversity. Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP '01), October 2001, Thessaloniki, Greece 1: 966–969.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Chen C: Motion-compensated hybrid coders in video communications, M.S. thesis. Monash University, Victoria, Australia; 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Berger T: Rate-Distortion Theory: A Mathematical Basis for Data Compression. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA; 1971.

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Ekmekci S, Sikora T: Model-based unbalanced multiple description video transmission using path diversity. Visual Communications and Image Processing (VCIP '03), July 2003, Lugano, Switzerland, Proceedings of SPIE 5150: 1023–1034.

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Aaron A, Zhang R, Girod B: Wyner-Ziv coding of motion video. Conference Record of the 36th Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers (ACSSC '02), November 2002, Pacific Grove, Calif, USA 1: 240–244.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sila Ekmekci Flierl.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Flierl, S.E., Sikora, T. & Frossard, P. Unbalanced Quantized Multiple State Video Coding. EURASIP J. Adv. Signal Process. 2006, 014694 (2006).

Download citation


  • Video Sequence
  • Sequence Characteristic
  • Heterogeneous Network
  • Video Streaming
  • Rate Allocation