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Visibility Thresholds for Compression-Induced Image Blocking: Measurement and Models

Published

Author(s)

John M. Libert, Charles D. Fenimore

Abstract

The present investigation compares performance of two objective video quality metrics in predicting the visual threshold for the detection of blocking impairments associated with MPEG-2 compression. The visibility thresholds for both saturated color and grayscale targets are measured. The test material consists of image sequences in which either saturated color or grayscale targets exhibiting blocking are varied in luminance contrast from -44 dB to -5 dB against a constant gray background. Stimulus presentation is by the method of limits under International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Rec. 500 conditions. Results find the detection of blocking impairments at Michelson contrast levels between -28 dB and -33 dB. This result is consistent with values reported by other investigators for luminance contrast detection thresholds. A small, but statistically significant difference is found between the detection threshold of saturated color patterns vs. luma-only images. The results suggest, however, that blocking impairment detection is controlled mainly by display luminance. Two objective metrics are applied to gray-scale (luminance-only) image sequences, yielding measures of perceivable image blocking for each frame. A relatively simple blocking detector and a more elaborate discrete cosine transform (DCT) error metric correlate well over the contrast range examined. Also, the two measures correlate highly with measured image contrast. Both objective metrics agree closely with visual threshold measurements, yielding threshold predictions of approximately -29 dB.
Proceedings Title
Proc. Intl. Soc. for Optical Engineering (SPIE) Conf. on Human Vision and Electronic Imaging IV
Conference Dates
January 25-28, 1999
Conference Location
San Jose, CA

Keywords

blocking, DCT error, fest patterns, flats, quality metrics, video compression, visibility threshold

Citation

Libert, J. and Fenimore, C. (1999), Visibility Thresholds for Compression-Induced Image Blocking: Measurement and Models, Proc. Intl. Soc. for Optical Engineering (SPIE) Conf. on Human Vision and Electronic Imaging IV, San Jose, CA, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=1046 (Accessed June 24, 2024)

Issues

If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact reflib@nist.gov.

Created December 31, 1998, Updated October 12, 2021