April 17, 2019

Fraunhofer HHI presents Virtual Reality for 5G

At the Second VR Ecosystems & Standards Workshop “Immersive Media Meets 5G” organized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the VR Industry Forum (VRIF) and the Advanced Imaging Society (AIS), Gurdeep Singh Bhullar, researcher at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, showcased VR 360 video streaming for 5G. At the end of last year, 3GPP released the specification TS 26.118 on Virtual Reality (VR) to enable 360-degree video streaming over 5G networks. The demo of the Fraunhofer HHI shows a first implementation of the “Advanced Video Media Profile” of TS 26.118 for delivering highest quality in a fully standard compliant HTML5 browser implementation.

VR offers the ability to be present in a virtual space created by the rendering of natural or synthetic image and sound. To facilitate that presence a set of VR Video and Audio operating points and their mapping to Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) have been specified in 3GPP specification TS 26.118. It is the first specification on VR to enable 360-degree video streaming over 5G networks while relying on several technologies specified in ISO/IEC 23090-2, also known as MPEG-OMAF. The MPEG-OMAF standard is the first international standard for storage and distribution of 360-degree content, with significant contributions from Fraunhofer HHI’s Video Coding and Analytics department. MPEG-OMAF specifies tile-based streaming of 360-degree video which allows for significantly higher resolution at the end device. The MPEG-OMAF standard allows to package HEVC tile streams in a way that the receiver, e.g. VR glasses, TV screen or a web browser, can request the high-definition tiles for the user's viewport and low-definition tiles for the areas out of sight. The tiles are aggregated into a single HEVC compliant video stream and decoded with a legacy hardware video decoder on the end device.

The demo “Virtual Reality for 5G: 3GPP and OMAF compliant HTML5 MSE Playback of 360 VR Tiled Streaming”, that was developed by the Fraunhofer HHI researchers Dimitri Podborski, Jangwoo Son, and Gurdeep Singh Bhullar, shows the JavaScript implementation of the "Advanced Video Media Profile” from TS 26.118. The implementation is demonstrated on Safari browser with support of HEVC video through HTML5 Media Source Extensions API and WebGL API for rendering. The demo shows the integration of the “Advanced Video Media Profile” in a regular browser media pipeline. On April 15, Fraunhofer HHI also released the complete JavaScript source code on GitHub . In addition to the JavaScript player, the GitHub repository contains details on how to generate standard compliant content by using freely available open source tools.

Gurdeep Singh Bhullar, researcher in the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI, presented the demo at the “Immersive Media Meets 5G” Workshop, that took place from April 15 to 16, 2019, at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Culver City, California, USA. The workshop focuses on next-generation immersive formats and services, including Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality, and wants to investigate 5G business opportunities brought by immersive services – as well as their requirements.