Bamby’s Chronicles
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April 20th, 2007

A Perceptual-based Quality Measures in Multimedia Communications and Broadcasting (Part 1)

Posted in Scientific Article by mkusuma

Multimedia becomes an increasingly important technology in today’s communication and broadcasting systems. One of the reasons of its growing popularity is the arrival of the ever promising third and future generation mobile radio systems as well as the digital television systems. Due to the limited bandwidth available, the multimedia data are heavily compressed prior to transmission. Furthermore, the time-varying nature of the mobile radio (wireless) channel caused by multipath propagation and the changing interference conditions make the channel very unreliable. Therefore, the multimedia services over wireless channels are impaired not only by lossy compression but also by burst errors associated with the channel.

The existing quality measurements of digital multimedia delivery use bit error rate (BER) as the indicator or metric. The higher the number of bits experiencing errors, the lower the quality of the multimedia data. However, a number of research in this area shows that BER does not necessarily correlate well with the quality of multimedia. A few bit errors in the most critical part of a multimedia bit stream may render the rest of the file useless. In another situation where errors in a non-critical bit locations are high, the multimedia quality may be still acceptable. In order to deal with such conditions, quality measurement techniques that take human perception into account is needed. The term perceptual in the title is used as we are dealing with human perception. The metric that is used to measure the quality of multimedia services by taking human perception into account is called perceptual-based metric.

To be able to measure speech and audio quality using perceptual-based metrics, understanding of how the human auditory system works is required. Similar requirements is also valid in order to measure image and video quality where we have to understand how the human visual system works. This is the end of Part 1. I will continue writing this article very soon. Stay tuned.

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