As the electronics world continues to expand, bringing smaller and more portable devices to consumers, demands for media access continue to rise. Consumers are seeking the ability to view the wealth of information available on the Internet from devices such as smart phones, tablets, and music players. In addition to Internet browsing, smart phones and tablets in particular look to reinvent phone communication by adding video chat through services such as Skype and FaceTime. Bringing video to mobile platforms requires trade-offs between size, channel capacity, hardware cost, quality, loading times and power consumption. H.264, the current standard for video encoding specifies multiple profiles to support different modes of operation and environments. Creating an H.264 video encoder for a mobile platform requires a proper balance between the aforementioned trade-offs while maintaining flexibility in a real time environment such as video chatting. The goal of this thesis was to investigate the trade-offs of implementing the H.264 Baseline encoding process specifically at low bit rates in hardware and software using Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) reconfigurable resources with an embedded processor core on the same chip. To further preserve encoding flexibility, existing encoding parameters were left intact. The Joint Model (JM) Reference encoder modified to include only the Baseline Profile was used as an initial reference point to evaluate the efficacy of the finished encoder. To improve upon the initial software implementation, major software bottlenecks were identified and hardware accelerators were designed aimed at producing a speedup capable of encoding 176x144 or Quarter Common Intermediate Format (QCIF) videos in real-time at 24 Frames Per Second (FPS) or greater. Finally, the hardware/software implementation was analyzed in comparison with the original JM Reference software encoder. This analysis included FPS, bit rate, encoding time, luminance Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Y-PSNR) and associated hardware costs.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Digital video--Standards; Video compression--Standards; Multimedia systems; Field programmable gate arrays--Testing; Image transmission
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Engineering (KGCOE)
Hogan, Mark, "Towards flexible hardware/software encoding using H.264" (2011). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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