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More Pixels and Samples: High Resolution Media Streaming. Roger Zimmermann Data Management Research Laboratory University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089 Outline. Motivation Background Remote Media Immersion Distributed Immersive Performance

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More pixels and samples high resolution media streaming

More Pixels and Samples:High Resolution Media Streaming

Roger Zimmermann

Data Management Research Laboratory

University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA 90089


  • Motivation

  • Background

    • Remote Media Immersion

    • Distributed Immersive Performance

  • High-performance Data Recording Architecture

  • Demonstration

  • Conclusions


  • The charter of the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC) is “Immersipresence”

    • Immerse real (e.g. people) and virtual elements into a common space

  • Becomes much more interesting in a distributed environment

    • Many sub-problems: tracking, gesture recognition, data management, …

    • Video and audio are an important component

What is the problem
What is the problem?

  • Live streaming is either

    • Low to medium quality, or

    • Very expensive, i.e., there are only a few people to call …

  • Other obstacles

    • Complicated (not like the telephone)

    • Often requires room engineering

    • Network bandwidth is not available

  • Some of the technical constraints can and will be solved

Ex network infrastructure
Ex.: Network Infrastructure

  • UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency): public works project to provide fiber to the home (FTTH).

  • SuperNet, Alberta, Canada. Public project to provide a high speed Internet infrastructure.

  • NSF sponsored workshop, Oct. 23-24, 2003, Chicago, Illinois. The importance of “broaderband” networks is recognized.

Research timeline
Research Timeline


Jun 2-3

Unveiling of RMI Demonstration

Oct 29

Internet2 Meeting: RMI Demonstration

Dec 28

DIP Experiment 1: Distributed Duet


Jan 18

Recording from Stream

Jan 19

DIP Experiment 2: Remote Master Class

Jun 2-3

DIP Experiment 3: Duet with Audience


Jan 29

APAN Meeting: HYDRA Experiment

What is the rmi
What is the RMI?

“The goal of the Remote Media Immersion system is to build a testbed for the creation of immersive applications.”

Immersive application aspects:

Multi-model environment (aural, visual, haptic, …)

Shared space with virtual and real elements

High fidelity

Geographically distributed


Rmi challenges
RMI Challenges

  • Immersive, high-quality video acquisition and rendering

    • High Definition video 1080i and 720p (40 Mb/s)

  • Immersive, high-quality audio acquisition and rendering

    • 10.2 channels of uncompressed audio (12 Mb/s)

  • Storage and transmission of media streams across networks

  • Synchronization between streams (A/V, A/A, V/V)!

Rmi experimental setup

ISI East


RMI Experimental Setup

  • Synchronized immersive audio and HDTV streamed playback from Yima server over Internet2

    • 16 channels of immersive audio, uncompressed at 16 Mb/s

    • 1920x1080i HDTV content, MPEG-2 compressed at 40 Mb/s

  • Control of end-to-end process: capturing, network interface, transmission, rendering

Internet2 fall 02 member meeting
Internet2 Fall ‘02Member Meeting

Video: HDTV 1280x720p

Audio: 10.2 channel,

immersive soundsystem

New World Symphony, Miami, FL

Distributed immersive performance
Distributed Immersive Performance

  • Outgrowth of Remote Media Immersion (RMI)

    • Create seamless immersive environment for distributed musicians, conductor (active) and audience (passive)

    • Compelling relevance for any human interaction scenario: education, journalism, communications

  • Scenario:

    • Orchestra not available in town

    • Famous soloist cannot fit travel into schedule

    • Multiple soloists in different places

60 ms

20 ms

40 ms

30 ms

10 ms

30 ms

Challenge: network latency

  • Key observations:

    • Network latency maps to audio delay on stage

    • Video delay is zero

  • Challenge:

    • Synchronization

    • Transmitting low latency video of conductor to players and audience

    • Maintaining constant delay between players

Player 1

15m: 45ms

15m: 45ms


Player 2

10m: 30ms

Barriers and requirements
Barriers and Requirements

1. Real-time continuous media (CM) stream transmission (network protocol) with low latency

2. Precise timing: GPS clock, synchronization

3. Data loss management: error concealment, FEC, retransmission, multi-path streaming

4. Many-to-many transmission capability

5. Low latency, high-quality real-time video and audio acquisition and rendering

6. Real-time CM stream recording

7. User experiments, requirements, specifications, performance evaluation

Distributed immersive performance v 1 0 the duet
Distributed Immersive Performancev.1.0-The Duet

  • Experiments and Objectives

    • Experimental testbed and demonstration system

    • Demonstrate and document a distributed musical performance with two musicians (a duet)

    • Two-way interactive video and 10.2 channel immersive audio capability

    • Explore other applications involving passive and active participants, such as two-site interactive meetings

    • Evaluate technical barriers and psychophysical effects of latency and fidelity on music and other forms of human interaction between two interconnected sites

  • Dennis Thurmond - USC Thornton School of Music

  • Elaine Chew - USC Industrial and Systems Engineering

Distributed Immersive Performancev.1.0-The Duet

Linux PC

Linux PC

DV FireWire Camera

DV FireWire Camera

DV FireWire Camera

100BaseT campus net

100BaseT IMSC net


Ramo Hall of Music (RHM 106)

Powell Hall (PHE 106)

  • Video: NTSC resolution, 31 Mb/s DV, software decode, one-way latency: 110 ms due to DV camera compression + < 5 ms network

  • Audio: uncompressed, 16 or more channels at 1 Mb/s each, one-way latency: < 10 ms due to audio processing + < 5 ms network

Hydra streaming architecture
HYDRA Streaming Architecture

  • Most previous work in streaming media has focused on the retrieval and playback functionality.

  • More and more devices directly output digital media streams:

    • E.g., camcorders (FireWire, USB, SDI),microphones (Bluetooth), mobile handsets (3G)

  • Need for a backend data stream recording /playback system (“Super TiVo”)

  • HYDRA (High-performance Data Recording Architecture) [ICEIS 2003]


  • Variable bit rate media streams

  • Multi-zoned disks

  • Different read and writetransfer rates

Live streaming
Live Streaming

  • Latency is a crucial limiting factor:

    • Only ~ 20-40 ms is unnoticeable (foruniversal interactive applications)

  • Tradeoff: Latency versus bandwidth

    • Compression reduces bandwidth

    • But: high compression increases latency(e.g., interframe MPEG compression)

  • Approach:

    • Perform experiments within this design spacee.g. DV: NTSC resolution, 31Mb/s, SW/HW codecse.g. uncompressed audio and video

Architecture hydra hd live streaming
ArchitectureHYDRA HD Live Streaming

  • Acquisition and rendering PC are both Linux based (RH 9 includes kernel support for FireWire).

  • MPEG transport stream extraction.

  • Data transport via UDP packets with single retransmissions













  • Solution 1: Software based rendering

  • Use X11 hw acceleration: XvMC (libmpeg2)

    • Motion compensation and iDCT with GPU

  • Our hw: NVIDIA FX 5200 ($100)

  • Performance: ~ 90 fps @ 1280x720 with 3 GHz P4


  • Issues with software rendering

    • Precise timing: 29.97 fps

    • Decoding time for I, P, and B frames varies

    • Buffering of decoded frames necessary to achieve precise timing

    • Transport stream splitter and audio decoding

    • Video card refresh rate (timing) is independent of MPEG timing, but

      • Non-standard display modes are possible: 720p on Linux (16x9)

    • Decoding latency


  • Solution 2: Hardware based rendering

  • E.g.: CineCast HD board from Vela Research

    • Digital HD-SDI and analog RGB/YPrPb outputs

  • Great and stable picture (but $$$)

  • Genlock input for synchronization


  • Issues with hardware rendering

    • Linux drivers hard to come by

    • CineCast HD board uses SCSI interface

      • Wrote our own SCSI extensions to the Linux SCSI Generic driver (/dev/sg0)

    • Decoding latency: requires 8 x 64 kB to start decoding

    • Consumer HD card:Telemann HiPix ($400)But: No Linux drivers(no Windows filters?)

    • New Vela card:CineCast HD LE

Distributed immersive performance v 2 0 extended architecture
Distributed Immersive Performance v.2.0-Extended Architecture

  • Conflicting requirements: Low latency and low bandwidth (i.e., use of compression)

  • Solution - two-tier architecture:

  • Between performers

    • Low latency stereo audio streaming

    • Low latency video streaming

  • Between performers and audience

    • High definition video streaming

    • Multichannel audio streaming (10.2 channel)

  • Recording of all streams sychronously for archival purposes and later playback.

Multichannel audio Architecture

Stereo audio

Low latency, low resolution video

High latency, high resolution video

Performer 1

Performer 2

Playback and



Thank you questions
Thank You! Questions? Architecture

  • More info at:

    • Data Management Research Lab


    • Integrated Media Systems Center


  • Acknowledgments:

    • Kun Fu, Beomjoo Seo, Shihua Liu, Dwipal A. Desai, Didi Shu-Yuen Yao, Mehrdad Jahangiri, Farnoush Banaei-Kashani, Rishi Sinha, Hong Zhu, Nitin Nahata, Sahitya Gupta, Vasan N. Sundar,