June 2002 | NTIA Technical Report TR-02-392

Video Quality Measurement Techniques

Stephen Wolf; Margaret H. Pinson

Abstract: Objective metrics for measuring digital video performance are required by Government and industry for specification of system performance requirements, comparison of competing service offerings, service level agreements, network maintenance, and optimization of the use of limited network resources such as transmission bandwidth. To be accurate, digital video quality measurements must be based on the perceived quality of the actual video being received by the users of the digital video system rather than the measured quality of traditional video test signals (e.g., color bar). This is because the performance of digital video systems is variable and depends upon the dynamic characteristics of both the original video (e.g., spatial detail, motion) and the digital transmission system (e.g., bit rate, error rate). The goal of this report is to provide a complete description of the ITS video quality metric (VQM) algorithms and techniques. The ITS automated objective measurement algorithms provide close approximations to the overall quality impressions, or mean opinion scores, of digital video impairments that have been graded by panels of viewers.

Keywords: television; models; video; quality; metrics; features; parameters; objective; subjective; correlation; reduced-reference; videoconferencing; root cause analysis; spatial information (SI); temporal information (TI); impairments; blocking; blurring; frame dropping; peak-signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR); video calibration; spatial registration; temporal registration; gain; contrast; level offset; brightness

To request a reprint of this report, contact:

Lilli Segre, Publications Officer
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-3572

For technical information concerning this report, contact:

Margaret H. Pinson
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-3579

Disclaimer: Certain commercial equipment, components, and software may be identified in this report to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, nor does it imply that the equipment or software identified is necessarily the best available for the particular application or uses.

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