Nonlinear rate control techniques for constant bit rate MPEG video coders
Digital visual communication has been increasingly adopted as an efficient new medium in a variety of different fields; multi-media computers, digital televisions, telecommunications, etc. Exchange of visual information between remote sites requires that digital video is encoded by compressing the amount of data and transmitting it through specified network connections. The compression and transmission of digital video is an amalgamation of statistical data coding processes, which aims at efficient exchange of visual information without technical barriers due to different standards, services, media, etc. It is associated with a series of different disciplines of digital signal processing, each of which can be applied independently. It includes a few different technical principles; distortionrate theory, prediction techniques and control theory. The MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) video compression standard is based on this paradigm, thus, it contains a variety of different coding parameters which may result in different performance depending on their values. It specifies the bit stream syntax and the decoding process as its normative parts. The encoder details remain nonnormative and are configured by a specific design. This means that the MPEG video encoder has a great deal of flexibility in the aspects of performance and implementation. This thesis deals with control techniques for the data rate of compressed video, which determine the encoding efficiency and video quality. The video rate control is achieved by adjusting quantisation step size depending on the occupancy of a transmission buffer memory which stores the compressed video data for a specific period of time. Conventional video rate control techniques have generally been based either on linear predictive or on control theoretic models. However, this thesis takes a different view on digital video and MPEG video coding, and focuses on the non-stationary and nonlinear nature of realistic moving pictures. Furthermore, considering the MPEG encoding structure involved in the different disciplines, A series of improvements for video rate control are proposed, each of which enhances the performance of the MPEG encoder. A nonlinear quantisation control technique is investigated, which controls the buffer occupancy with the quantiser using a series of nonlinear functions. Linear and nonlinear feed-forward networks are also employed to control the quantiser. The linear combiner is used as a linear estimator and a radial basis function network as a nonlinear one. Finally, fuzzy rulebased control is applied to exploit the advantages of the nonlinear control technique which is able to provide linguistic judgement in the control mechanism. All these techniques are employed according to two global approaches (feedforward and feedback) applied to the rate control. The performance evaluation is carried out in terms of controllability over bit rate variation and video quality, by conducting a series of simulations.