Subjective and Objective Quality Assessment of 2D and 3D Foveated Video Compression in Virtual Reality

IEEE Transactions on Image Processing

Abstract

In Virtual Reality (VR), the requirements of much higher resolution and smooth viewing experiences under rapid and often real-time changes in viewing direction, leads to significant challenges in compression and communication. To reduce the stresses of very high bandwidth consumption, the concept of foveated video compression is being accorded renewed interest. By exploiting the space-variant property of retinal visual acuity, foveation has the potential to substantially reduce video resolution in the visual periphery, with hardly noticeable perceptual quality degradations. Accordingly, foveated image / video quality predictors are also becoming increasingly important, as a practical way to monitor and control future foveated compression algorithms. Towards advancing the development of foveated image / video quality assessment (FIQA / FVQA) algorithms, we have constructed 2D and (stereoscopic) 3D VR databases of foveated / compressed videos, and conducted a human study of perceptual quality on each database. Each database includes 10 reference videos and 180 foveated videos, which were processed by 3 levels of foveation on the reference videos. Foveation was applied by increasing compression with increased eccentricity. In the 2D study, each video was of resolution 7680×3840 and was viewed and quality-rated by 36 subjects, while in the 3D study, each video was of resolution 5376×5376 and rated by 34 subjects. Both studies were conducted on top of a foveated video player having low motion-to-photon latency (∼50ms). We evaluated different objective image and video quality assessment algorithms, including both FIQA / FVQA algorithms and non-foveated algorithms, on our so called LIVE-Facebook Technologies Foveation-Compressed Virtual Reality (LIVE-FBTFCVR) databases. We also present a statistical evaluation of the relative performances of these algorithms. The LIVE-FBTFCVR databases have been made publicly available and can be accessed at:  https://live.ece.utexas.edu/research/LIVEFBTFCVR/index.html

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