Implications of smoothing on statistical multiplexing of H.264/AVC and SVC video streams

Geert Van Der Auwera, Martin Reisslein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


While the hierarchical B frame based Scalable Video Coding (SVC) extension of the H.264/AVC standard achieves significantly improved compression over the initial H.264/AVC codec, the SVC video traffic is significantly more variable than H.264/AVC traffic. The higher traffic variability of the SVC encoder can lead to smaller numbers of streams supported with bufferless statistical multiplexing than with the H.264/AVC encoder (and even less streams than with the MPEG-4 Part 2 encoder) for prescribed link capacities and loss constraints. In this paper we examine the implications of video traffic smoothing on the numbers of statistically multiplexed H.264 SVC, H.264/AVC, and MPEG-4 Part 2 streams, the bandwidth requirements for streaming, and the introduced delay. We identify the levels of smoothing that ensure that more H.264 SVC streams than H.264/AVC streams can be supported. For a basic low-complexity smoothing technique that is readily applicable to both live and prerecorded streams, we identify the levels of smoothing that give (bufferless) statistical multiplexing performance close to an optimal off-line smoothing technique. We thus characterize the trade-offs between increased smoothing delay and increased statistical multiplexing performance for both H.264/AVC, which employs classical B frames, and H.264 SVC, which employs hierarchical B frames. We similarly identify the buffer sizes for the buffered multiplexing of unsmoothed H.264 SVC, H.264/AVC, and MPEG-4 Part 2 streams that give close to optimal performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5200455
Pages (from-to)541-558
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Broadcasting
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Delay
  • H.264/AVC
  • Hierarchical B frames
  • SVC
  • Smoothing
  • Statistical multiplexing
  • Video traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Media Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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