Evaluating and improving the performance of video content distribution in lossy networks

  • Timothy Richard Porter

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The contributions in this research are split in to three distinct, but related, areas. The focus of the work is based on improving the efficiency of video content distribution in the networks that are liable to packet loss, such as the Internet. Initially, the benefits and limitations of content distribution using Forward Error Correction (FEC) in conjunction with the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is presented. Since added FEC can be used to reduce the number of retransmissions, the requirement for TCP to deal with any losses is greatly reduced. When real-time applications are needed, delay must be kept to a minimum, and retransmissions not desirable. A balance, therefore, between additional bandwidth and delays due to retransmissions must be struck. This is followed by the proposal of a hybrid transport, specifically for H.264 encoded video, as a compromise between the delay-prone TCP and the loss-prone UDP. It is argued that the playback quality at the receiver often need not be 100% perfect, providing a certain level is assured. Reliable TCP is used to transmit and guarantee delivery of the most important packets. The delay associated with the proposal is measured, and the potential for use as an alternative to the conventional methods of transporting video by either TCP or UDP alone is demonstrated. Finally, a new objective measurement is investigated for assessing the playback quality of video transported using TCP. A new metric is defined to characterise the quality of playback in terms of its continuity. Using packet traces generated from real TCP connections in a lossy environment, simulating the playback of a video is possible, whilst monitoring buffer behaviour to calculate pause intensity values. Subjective tests are conducted to verify the effectiveness of the metric introduced and show that the results of objective and subjective scores made are closely correlated.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorXiao-Hong Peng (Supervisor) & David J Holding (Supervisor)


    • Reed Solomon
    • pause intensity
    • H.264
    • data partitioning

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