H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is a video coding standard that was developed by the Joint Video Team (JVT) of the ITU-T Visual Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). Today the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard is used in more than 1 billion devices.
The work on H.264/MPEG-4 was split into 4 phases:
- Phase 1: Development of the first H.264/MPEG-4 AVC version:
Specification of the Baseline, Main, and Extended profiles,
December 2001 – May 2003.
- Phase 2: Development of Fidelity Range Extension (FRExt):
Specification of the High profile and professional profiles,
June 2003 – October 2004.
- Phase 3: Extension for Scalable Video Coding (SVC):
Specification of the Scalable Baseline, Scalable High, and Scalable High Intra profiles,
November 2005 – July 2007.
- Phase 4: Extension for Multiview Video Coding (MVC):
Specification of the Stereo High and Multiview High profiles,
July 2006 – March 2009.
Contributions of the Image & Video Coding Group
The Image and Video Coding Group contributed actively to all phases of the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC development.
In phase 1 (first version of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC), the Image and Video Coding Group contributed:
- Multi-frame motion-compensated prediction and multi-hypotheses prediction
- Context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC)
- Fast adaptive binary arithmetic coding (M Coder)
- Tree-structured partitioning for motion-compensated prediction
- Rate-distortion optimized encoding
In phase 2 (fidelity range extension), the Image and Video Coding Group contributed:
- Base model for the development of the High profile
- Design for supporting 8×8 transforms
- Design for 8×8 intra prediction
In phase 3 (Scalable Video Coding, SVC), the Image and Video Coding Group contributed:
- The first model for SVC that became that first Working Draft and has remained almost unchanged (but was extended by additional concepts for interlaced, arbitrary resolution ratios, and bitstream re-writing)
- Hierarchical prediction structures
- Inter-layer prediction tools
- Single-loop decoding
- The key picture concept for quality scalability
- The concept of transform coefficient partitioning
- An RD-optimized multi-layer encoder control
In phase 4 (Multiview Coding, MVC), the Image and Video Coding Group contributed in collaboration with the 3D Coding Group:
- The first model for MVC that became that first Working Draft and has remained almost unchanged (only additional high-level signaling concepts have been included)
In all phases the Image and Video Coding Group was involved in the administration of the JVT standardization in various ways:
- Thomas Wiegand has been appointed as Co-Chair and Editor of the JVT project.
- Detlev Marpe has been appointed as Editor for phase 2.
- Heiko Schwarz has been appointed as Editor starting with phase 3 of the standardization and as Coordinator for the SVC reference software.
- Karsten Sühring has been appointed as Coordinator for the JM reference software.
- T. Wiegand, G. J. Sullivan, G. Bjøntegaard, and A. Luthra, "Overview of the H.264/AVC Video Coding Standard," IEEE Trans. on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, July 2003.
- D. Marpe, T. Wiegand, and S. Gordon, "H.264/MPEG4-AVC Fidelity Range Extensions: Tools, Profiles, Performance, and Application Areas," IEEE Intl. Conf. on Image Processing, Sept. 2005.
- H. Schwarz, D. Marpe, and T. Wiegand, "Overview of the Scalable Video Coding Extension of the H.264/AVC Standard," IEEE Trans. on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, Sept. 2007.
- P. Merkle, A. Smolic, K. Müller, and T. Wiegand, "Efficient Prediction Structures for Multiview Video Coding," IEEE Trans. on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, Nov. 2007.
- H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Standard.
- JM Reference Software.