Processing

Please wait...

PATENTSCOPE will be unavailable a few hours for maintenance reason on Tuesday 27.07.2021 at 12:00 PM CEST
Settings

Settings

Goto Application

1. FI20165256 - An apparatus, a method and a computer program for video coding and decoding

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]
Kuvaus

AN APPARATUS, A METHOD AND A COMPUTER PROGRAM FOR VIDEO

CODING AND DECODING

TECHNICAL FIELD


[0001 The present invention relates to an apparatus, a method and a computer program for video coding and decoding.

BACKGROUND


[0002] This section is intended to provide a background or context to the invention that is recited in the claims. The description herein may include concepts that could be pursued, but are not necessarily ones that have been previously conceived or pursued. Therefore, unless otherwise indicated herein, what is described in this section is not prior art to the description and claims in this application and is not admitted to be prior art by inclusion in this section.

[0003] A video coding system may comprise an encoded that transforms an input video into a compressed representation suited for storage/transmission and a decoder that can uncompress the compressed video representation back into a viewable form. The encoder may discard some information in the original video sequence in order to represent the video in a more compact form, for example, to enable the storage /transmission of the video information at a lower bitrate than otherwise might be needed.

SUMMARY


[0004] Some embodiments provide a method for encoding and decoding video information. In some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method, apparatus and computer program product for video coding.

[0005] A method according to a first aspect comprises: receiving an encoded picture;

decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or

determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0006] An apparatus according to a second aspect comprises at least one processor and at least one memory, said at least one memory stored with code thereon, which when executed by said at least one processor, causes the apparatus to perform at least: receiving an encoded picture;

decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0007] A computer readable storage medium according to a third aspect comprises code for use by an apparatus, which when executed by a processor, causes the apparatus to perform: receiving an encoded picture;

decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0008] An apparatus according to a fourth aspect comprises: means for receiving an encoded picture;

means for decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

means for performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0009] A method according to a fifth aspect comprises: obtaining a constituent frame of a first picture having an effective picture area for encoding;

performing either of the following:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area of the

constituent frame to form a boundary extension for the constituent frame; or


saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.

[0010] An apparatus according to a sixth aspect comprises at least one processor and at least one memory, said at least one memory stored with code thereon, which when executed by said at least one processor, causes the apparatus to perform at least: encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or
saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area. [0011 ] A computer readable storage medium according to a seventh aspect comprises code for use by an apparatus, which when executed by a processor, causes the apparatus to perform:
encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or
saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.

[0012] An apparatus according to an eighth aspect comprises: means for encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

means for performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a

boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or

saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.

[0013] Further aspects include at least apparatuses and computer program products/code stored on a non-transitory memory medium arranged to carry out the above methods.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


[0014] For better understanding of the present invention, reference will now be made by way of example to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0015] Figure 1 shows schematically an electronic device employing embodiments of the invention;

[0016] Figure 2 shows schematically a user equipment suitable for employing embodiments of the invention;

[0017] Figure 3 further shows schematically electronic devices employing embodiments of the invention connected using wireless and wired network connections;

[0018] Figure 4 shows schematically an encoder suitable for implementing embodiments of the invention;

[0019] Figure 5a shows spatial candidate sources of the candidate motion vector predictor, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0020] Figure 5b shows temporal candidate sources of the candidate motion vector predictor, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0021 ] Figure 6a illustrates a problem regarding sub-optimally handled motion vectors;

[0022] Figure 6b shows an example of boundary extension, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0023] Figure 6c shows spatial candidate sources of the candidate motion vector predictor, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0024] Figure 6d shows temporal candidate sources of the candidate motion vector predictor, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0025] Figure 7a shows a flow chart of encoding a picture, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0026] Figure 7b shows a flow chart of decoding a picture, in accordance with an embodiment;

[0027] Figure 8 shows a schematic diagram of a decoder suitable for implementing embodiments of the invention; and

[0028] Figure 9 shows a schematic diagram of an example multimedia communication system within which various embodiments may be implemented; and

[0029] Figures 10a to 10c illustrate a pyramidal mapping, in accordance with an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTON OF SOME EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS


[0030] In the following, several embodiments of the invention will be described in the context of one video coding arrangement. It is to be noted, however, that the invention is not limited to this particular arrangement. In fact, the different embodiments have applications widely in any environment where improvement of non-scalable, scalable and/or multiview video coding is required. For example, the invention may be applicable to video coding systems like streaming systems, DVD players, digital television receivers, personal video recorders, systems and computer programs on personal computers, handheld computers and communication devices, as well as network elements such as transcoders and cloud computing arrangements where video data is handled.
[0031 The following describes in further detail suitable apparatus and possible mechanisms for implementing some embodiments. In this regard reference is first made to Figures 1 and 2, where Figure 1 shows a block diagram of a video coding system according to an example embodiment as a schematic block diagram of an exemplary apparatus or electronic device 50, which may incorporate a codec according to an embodiment of the invention. Figure 2 shows a layout of an apparatus according to an example embodiment. The elements of Figs. 1 and 2 will be explained next.

[0032] The electronic device 50 may for example be a mobile terminal or user equipment of a wireless communication system. However, it would be appreciated that embodiments of the invention may be implemented within any electronic device or apparatus which may require encoding and decoding or encoding or decoding video images.

[0033] The apparatus 50 may comprise a housing 30 for incorporating and protecting the device. The apparatus 50 further may comprise a display 32 in the form of a liquid crystal display. In other embodiments of the invention the display may be any suitable display technology suitable to display an image or video. The apparatus 50 may further comprise a keypad 34. In other embodiments of the invention any suitable data or user interface mechanism may be employed. For example the user interface may be implemented as a virtual keyboard or data entry system as part of a touch-sensitive display.

[0034] The apparatus may comprise a microphone 36 or any suitable audio input which may be a digital or analogue signal input. The apparatus 50 may further comprise an audio output

device which in embodiments of the invention may be any one of: an earpiece 38, speaker, or an analogue audio or digital audio output connection. The apparatus 50 may also comprise a battery 40 (or in other embodiments of the invention the device may be powered by any suitable mobile energy device such as solar cell, fuel cell or clockwork generator). The apparatus may further comprise a camera 42 capable of recording or capturing images and/or video. The apparatus 50 may further comprise an infrared port for short range line of sight communication to other devices. In other embodiments the apparatus 50 may further comprise any suitable short range communication solution such as for example a Bluetooth wireless connection or a USB/firewire wired connection.

[0035] The apparatus 50 may comprise a controller 56 or processor for controlling the apparatus 50. The controller 56 may be connected to memory 58 which in embodiments of the invention may store both data in the form of image and audio data and/or may also store instructions for implementation on the controller 56. The controller 56 may further be connected to codec circuitry 54 suitable for carrying out coding and decoding of audio and/or video data or assisting in coding and decoding carried out by the controller.

[0036] The apparatus 50 may further comprise a card reader 48 and a smart card 46, for example a UICC and UICC reader for providing user information and being suitable for providing authentication information for authentication and authorization of the user at a network.

[0037] The apparatus 50 may comprise radio interface circuitry 52 connected to the controller and suitable for generating wireless communication signals for example for communication with a cellular communications network, a wireless communications system or a wireless local area network. The apparatus 50 may further comprise an antenna 44 connected to the radio interface circuitry 52 for transmitting radio frequency signals generated at the radio interface circuitry 52 to other apparatus(es) and for receiving radio frequency signals from other apparatus(es).

[0038] The apparatus 50 may comprise a camera capable of recording or detecting individual frames which are then passed to the codec 54 or the controller for processing. The apparatus may receive the video image data for processing from another device prior to transmission and/or storage. The apparatus 50 may also receive either wirelessly or by a wired connection the image for coding/decoding.

[0039] With respect to Figure 3, an example of a system within which embodiments of the present invention can be utilized is shown. The system 10 comprises multiple communication devices which can communicate through one or more networks. The system 10 may comprise any combination of wired or wireless networks including, but not limited to a wireless cellular telephone network (such as a GSM, UMTS, CDMA network etc), a wireless local area network (WLAN) such as defined by any of the IEEE 802.x standards, a Bluetooth personal area network, an Ethernet local area network, a token ring local area network, a wide area network, and the Internet.

[0040] The system 10 may include both wired and wireless communication devices and/or apparatus 50 suitable for implementing embodiments of the invention.

[0041] For example, the system shown in Figure 3 shows a mobile telephone network 11 and a representation of the internet 28. Connectivity to the internet 28 may include, but is not limited to, long range wireless connections, short range wireless connections, and various wired connections including, but not limited to, telephone lines, cable lines, power lines, and similar communication pathways.

[0042] The example communication devices shown in the system 10 may include, but are not limited to, an electronic device or apparatus 50, a combination of a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a mobile telephone 14, a PDA 16, an integrated messaging device (IMD) 18, a desktop computer 20, a notebook computer 22. The apparatus 50 may be stationary or mobile when carried by an individual who is moving. The apparatus 50 may also be located in a mode of transport including, but not limited to, a car, a truck, a taxi, a bus, a train, a boat, an airplane, a bicycle, a motorcycle or any similar suitable mode of transport.

[0043] The embodiments may also be implemented in a set-top box; i.e. a digital TV receiver, which may/may not have a display or wireless capabilities, in tablets or (laptop) personal computers (PC), which have hardware or software or combination of the encoder/decoder implementations, in various operating systems, and in chipsets, processors, DSPs and/or embedded systems offering hardware/software based coding.

[0044] Some or further apparatus may send and receive calls and messages and communicate with service providers through a wireless connection 25 to a base station 24. The base station 24 may be connected to a network server 26 that allows communication between the mobile telephone network 11 and the internet 28. The system may include additional communication devices and communication devices of various types.

[0045] The communication devices may communicate using various transmission technologies including, but not limited to, code division multiple access (CDMA), global systems for mobile communications (GSM), universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), time divisional multiple access (TDMA), frequency division multiple access (FDMA), transmission control protocol-internet protocol (TCP-IP), short messaging service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), email, instant messaging service (EVIS), Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 and any similar wireless communication technology. A communications device involved in implementing various embodiments of the present invention may communicate using various media including, but not limited to, radio, infrared, laser, cable connections, and any suitable connection.

[0046] Video codec consists of an encoder that transforms the input video into a compressed representation suited for storage/transmission and a decoder that can uncompress the compressed video representation back into a viewable form. A video encoder and/or a video decoder may also be separate from each other, i.e. need not form a codec. Typically encoder discards some information in the original video sequence in order to represent the video in a more compact form (that is, at lower bitrate). A video encoder may be used to encode an image sequence, as defined subsequently, and a video decoder may be used to decode a coded image sequence. A video encoder or an intra coding part of a video encoder or an image encoder may be used to encode an image, and a video decoder or an inter decoding part of a video decoder or an image decoder may be used to decode a coded image.

[0047] Some hybrid video encoders, for example many encoder implementations of ITU-T H.263 and H.264, encode the video information in two phases. Firstly pixel values in a certain picture area (or "block") are predicted for example by motion compensation means (finding and indicating an area in one of the previously coded video frames that corresponds closely to the block being coded) or by spatial means (using the pixel values around the block to be coded in a specified manner). Secondly the prediction error, i.e. the difference between the predicted block of pixels and the original block of pixels, is coded. This is typically done by transforming the difference in pixel values using a specified transform (e.g. Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) or a variant of it), quantizing the coefficients and entropy coding the quantized coefficients. By varying the fidelity of the quantization process, encoder can control the balance between the accuracy of the pixel representation (picture quality) and size of the resulting coded video representation (file size or transmission bitrate).

[0048] In temporal prediction, the sources of prediction are previously decoded pictures (a.k.a. reference pictures). In intra block copy (a.k.a. intra-block-copy prediction), prediction is applied similarly to temporal prediction but the reference picture is the current picture and only previously decoded samples can be referred in the prediction process. Inter-layer or inter-view prediction may be applied similarly to temporal prediction, but the reference picture is a decoded picture from another scalable layer or from another view, respectively. In some cases, inter prediction may refer to temporal prediction only, while in other cases inter prediction may refer collectively to temporal prediction and any of intra block copy, inter-layer prediction, and inter-view prediction provided that they are performed with the same or similar process than temporal prediction. Inter prediction or temporal prediction may sometimes be referred to as motion compensation or motion-compensated prediction.

[0049] Intra prediction utilizes the fact that adjacent pixels within the same picture are likely to be correlated. Intra prediction can be performed in spatial or transform domain, i.e., either sample values or transform coefficients can be predicted. Intra prediction is typically exploited in intra coding, where no inter prediction is applied.

[0050] There may be different types of intra prediction modes available in a coding scheme, out of which an encoder can select and indicate the used one, e.g. on block or coding unit basis. A decoder may decode the indicated intra prediction mode and reconstruct the prediction block accordingly. For example, several angular intra prediction modes, each for different angular direction, may be available. Angular intra prediction may be considered to extrapolate the border samples of adjacent blocks along a linear prediction direction. Additionally or alternatively, a planar prediction mode may be available. Planar prediction may be considered to essentially form a prediction block, in which each sample of a prediction block may be specified to be an average of vertically aligned sample in the adjacent sample column on the left of the current block and the horizontally aligned sample in the adjacent sample line above the current block. Additionally or alternatively, a DC prediction mode may be available, in which the prediction block is essentially an average sample value of a neighboring block or blocks.
[0051 ] One outcome of the coding procedure is a set of coding parameters, such as motion vectors and quantized transform coefficients. Many parameters can be entropy-coded more efficiently if they are predicted first from spatially or temporally neighbouring parameters. For example, a motion vector may be predicted from spatially adjacent motion vectors and only the difference relative to the motion vector predictor may be coded. Prediction of coding parameters and intra prediction may be collectively referred to as in-picture prediction.

[0052] The H.264/AVC standard was developed by the Joint Video Team (JVT) of the Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) of the Telecommunications Standardization Sector of International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) and the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) of International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The H.264/AVC standard is published by both parent standardization organizations, and it is referred to as ITU-T Recommendation H.264 and ISO/IEC International Standard 14496-10, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10 Advanced Video Coding (AVC). There have been multiple versions of the H.264/AVC standard, integrating new extensions or features to the specification. These extensions include Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and Multiview Video Coding (MVC).

[0053] Version 1 of the High Efficiency Video Coding (H.265/HEVC a.k.a. HEVC) standard was developed by the Joint Collaborative Team - Video Coding (JCT-VC) of VCEG and MPEG. The standard was published by both parent standardization organizations, and it is referred to as ITU-T Recommendation H.265 and ISO/IEC International Standard 23008-2, also known as MPEG-H Part 2 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). Version 2 of H.265/HEVC included scalable, multiview, and fidelity range extensions, which may be abbreviated SHVC, MV-HEVC, and REXT, respectively. Version 2 of H.265/HEVC was published as ITU-T Recommendation H.265 (10/2014) and as Edition 2 of ISO/IEC 23008-2. There are currently ongoing standardization projects to develop further extensions to H.265/HEVC, including three-dimensional and screen content coding extensions, which may be abbreviated 3D-HEVC and SCC, respectively.

[0054] SHVC, MV-HEVC, and 3D-HEVC use a common basis specification, specified in Annex F of the version 2 of the HEVC standard. This common basis comprises for example high-level syntax and semantics e.g. specifying some of the characteristics of the layers of the bitstream, such as inter-layer dependencies, as well as decoding processes, such as reference picture list construction including inter-layer reference pictures and picture order count derivation for multi-layer bitstream. Annex F may also be used in potential subsequent multi-layer extensions of HEVC. It is to be understood that even though a video encoder, a video decoder, encoding methods, decoding methods, bitstream structures, and/or embodiments may be described in the following with reference to specific extensions, such as SHVC and/or MV-HEVC, they are generally applicable to any multi-layer extensions of HEVC, and even more generally to any multi-layer video coding scheme.

[0055] Some key definitions, bitstream and coding structures, and concepts of H.264/AVC and HEVC are described in this section as an example of a video encoder, decoder, encoding method, decoding method, and a bitstream structure, wherein the embodiments may be implemented. Some of the key definitions, bitstream and coding structures, and concepts of H.264/AVC are the same as in HEVC - hence, they are described below jointly. The aspects of the invention are not limited to H.264/AVC or HEVC, but rather the description is given for one possible basis on top of which the invention may be partly or fully realized.

[0056] Similarly to many earlier video coding standards, the bitstream syntax and semantics as well as the decoding process for error-free bitstreams are specified in H.264/AVC and HEVC. The encoding process is not specified, but encoders must generate conforming bitstreams. Bitstream and decoder conformance can be verified with the Hypothetical Reference Decoder (HRD). The standards contain coding tools that help in coping with transmission errors and losses, but the use of the tools in encoding is optional and no decoding process has been specified for erroneous bitstreams.

[0057] In the description of existing standards as well as in the description of example embodiments, a syntax element may be defined as an element of data represented in the bitstream. A syntax structure may be defined as zero or more syntax elements present together in the bitstream in a specified order. In the description of existing standards as well as in the description of example embodiments, a phrase "by external means" or "through external means" may be used. For example, an entity, such as a syntax structure or a value of a variable used in the decoding process, may be provided "by external means" to the decoding process. The phrase "by external means" may indicate that the entity is not included in the bitstream created by the encoder, but rather conveyed externally from the bitstream for example using a control protocol. It may alternatively or additionally mean that the entity is not created by the encoder, but may be created for example in the player or decoding control logic or alike that is using the decoder. The decoder may have an interface for inputting the external means, such as variable values.

[0058] The elementary unit for the input to an H.264/AVC or HEVC encoder and the output of an H.264/AVC or HEVC decoder, respectively, is a picture. A picture given as an input to an encoder may also referred to as a source picture, and a picture decoded by a decoded may be referred to as a decoded picture.

[0059] The source and decoded pictures are each comprised of one or more sample arrays, such as one of the following sets of sample arrays:

- Luma (Y) only (monochrome).

- Luma and two chroma (YCbCr or YCgCo).

- Green, Blue and Red (GBR, also known as RGB).


- Arrays representing other unspecified monochrome or tri-stimulus color samplings (for example, YZX, also known as XYZ).

[0060] In the following, these arrays may be referred to as luma (or L or Y) and chroma, where the two chroma arrays may be referred to as Cb and Cr; regardless of the actual color representation method in use. The actual color representation method in use can be indicated e.g. in a coded bitstream e.g. using the Video Usability Information (VUI) syntax of H.264/AVC and/or HEVC. A component may be defined as an array or single sample from one of the three sample arrays arrays (luma and two chroma) or the array or a single sample of the array that compose a picture in monochrome format.

[0061] In H.264/AVC and HEVC, a picture may either be a frame or a field. A frame

comprises a matrix of luma samples and possibly the corresponding chroma samples. A field is a set of alternate sample rows of a frame and may be used as encoder input, when the source signal is interlaced. Chroma sample arrays may be absent (and hence monochrome sampling may be in use) or chroma sample arrays may be subsampled when compared to luma sample arrays. Chroma formats may be summarized as follows:

- In monochrome sampling there is only one sample array, which may be nominally considered the luma array. - In 4:2:0 sampling, each of the two chroma arrays has half the height and half the width of the luma array. - In 4:2:2 sampling, each of the two chroma arrays has the same height and half the width of the luma array. - In 4:4:4 sampling when no separate color planes are in use, each of the two chroma arrays has the same height and width as the luma array.

[0062] In H.264/AVC and HEVC, it is possible to code sample arrays as separate color planes into the bitstream and respectively decode separately coded color planes from the bitstream. When separate color planes are in use, each one of them is separately processed (by the encoder and/or the decoder) as a picture with monochrome sampling.

[0063] A partitioning may be defined as a division of a set into subsets such that each element of the set is in exactly one of the subsets.

[0064] In H.264/AVC, a macroblock is a 16x16 block of luma samples and the corresponding blocks of chroma samples. For example, in the 4:2:0 sampling pattern, a macroblock contains one 8x8 block of chroma samples per each chroma component. In H.264/AVC, a picture is partitioned to one or more slice groups, and a slice group contains one or more slices. In H.264/AVC, a slice consists of an integer number of macroblocks ordered consecutively in the raster scan within a particular slice group.

[0065] When describing the operation of HEVC encoding and/or decoding, the following terms may be used. A coding block may be defined as an NxN block of samples for some value of N such that the division of a coding tree block into coding blocks is a partitioning. A coding tree block (CTB) may be defined as an NxN block of samples for some value of N such that the division of a component into coding tree blocks is a partitioning. A coding tree unit (CTU) may be defined as a coding tree block of luma samples, two corresponding coding tree blocks of chroma samples of a picture that has three sample arrays, or a coding tree block of samples of a monochrome picture or a picture that is coded using three separate color planes and syntax structures used to code the samples. A coding unit (CU) may be defined as a coding block of luma samples, two corresponding coding blocks of chroma samples of a picture that has three sample arrays, or a coding block of samples of a monochrome picture or a picture that is coded using three separate color planes and syntax structures used to code the samples.

[0066] In some video codecs, such as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codec, video pictures are divided into coding units (CU) covering the area of the picture. A CU consists of one or more prediction units (PU) defining the prediction process for the samples within the CU and one or more transform units (TU) defining the prediction error coding process for the samples in the said CU. Typically, a CU consists of a square block of samples with a size selectable from a predefined set of possible CU sizes. A CU with the maximum allowed size may be named as LCU (largest coding unit) or coding tree unit (CTU) and the video picture is divided into non-overlapping LCUs. An LCU can be further split into a combination of smaller CUs, e.g. by recursively splitting the LCU and resultant CUs. Each resulting CU typically has at least one PU and at least one TU associated with it. Each PU and TU can be further split into smaller PUs and TUs in order to increase granularity of the prediction and prediction error coding processes, respectively. Each PU has prediction information associated with it defining what kind of a prediction is to be applied for the pixels within that PU (e.g. motion vector information for inter predicted PUs and intra prediction directionality information for intra predicted PUs).

[0067] Each TU can be associated with information describing the prediction error decoding process for the samples within the said TU (including e.g. DCT coefficient information). It may be signalled at CU level whether prediction error coding is applied or not for each CU. In the case there is no prediction error residual associated with the CU, it can be considered there are no TUs for the said CU. The division of the image into CUs, and division of CUs into PUs and TUs may be signalled in the bitstream allowing the decoder to reproduce the intended structure of these units.

[0068] In HEVC, a picture can be partitioned in tiles, which are rectangular and contain an integer number of LCUs. In HEVC, the partitioning to tiles forms a grid comprising one or more tile columns and one or more tile rows. A coded tile is byte-aligned, which may be achieved by adding byte-alignment bits at the end of the coded tile.

[0069] In HEVC, a slice is defined to be an integer number of coding tree units contained in one independent slice segment and all subsequent dependent slice segments (if any) that precede the next independent slice segment (if any) within the same access unit. In HEVC, a slice segment is defined to be an integer number of coding tree units ordered consecutively in the tile scan and contained in a single NAL unit. The division of each picture into slice segments is a partitioning. In HEVC, an independent slice segment is defined to be a slice segment for which the values of the syntax elements of the slice segment header are not inferred from the values for a preceding slice segment, and a dependent slice segment is defined to be a slice segment for which the values of some syntax elements of the slice segment header are inferred from the values for the preceding independent slice segment in decoding order. In HEVC, a slice header is defined to be the slice segment header of the independent slice segment that is a current slice segment or is the independent slice segment that precedes a current dependent slice segment, and a slice segment header is defined to be a part of a coded slice segment containing the data elements pertaining to the first or all coding tree units represented in the slice segment. The CUs are scanned in the raster scan order of LCUs within tiles or within a picture, if tiles are not in use. Within an LCU, the CUs have a specific scan order.

[0070] In HEVC, a tile contains an integer number of coding tree units, and may consist of coding tree units contained in more than one slice. Similarly, a slice may consist of coding tree units contained in more than one tile. In HEVC, all coding tree units in a slice belong to the same tile and/or all coding tree units in a tile belong to the same slice. Furthermore, in HEVC, all coding tree units in a slice segment belong to the same tile and/or all coding tree units in a tile belong to the same slice segment.
[0071 ] A motion-constrained tile set is such that the inter prediction process is constrained in encoding such that no sample value outside the motion-constrained tile set, and no sample value at a fractional sample position that is derived using one or more sample values outside the motion-constrained tile set, is used for inter prediction of any sample within the motion-constrained tile set.

[0072] It is noted that sample locations used in inter prediction are saturated so that a location that would be outside the picture otherwise is saturated to point to the corresponding boundary sample of the picture. Hence, if a tile boundary is also a picture boundary, motion vectors may effectively cross that boundary or a motion vector may effectively cause fractional sample interpolation that would refer to a location outside that boundary, since the sample locations are saturated onto the boundary.

[0073] The temporal motion-constrained tile sets SEI message of HEVC can be used to indicate the presence of motion-constrained tile sets in the bitstream.

[0074] An inter-layer constrained tile set is such that the inter-layer prediction process is constrained in encoding such that no sample value outside each associated reference tile set, and no sample value at a fractional sample position that is derived using one or more sample values outside each associated reference tile set, is used for inter-layer prediction of any sample within the inter-layer constrained tile set.

[0075] The inter-layer constrained tile sets SEI message of HEVC can be used to indicate the presence of inter-layer constrained tile sets in the bitstream.

[0076] The decoder reconstructs the output video by applying prediction means similar to the encoder to form a predicted representation of the pixel blocks (using the motion or spatial information created by the encoder and stored in the compressed representation) and prediction error decoding (inverse operation of the prediction error coding recovering the quantized prediction error signal in spatial pixel domain). After applying prediction and prediction error decoding means the decoder sums up the prediction and prediction error signals (pixel values) to form the output video frame. The decoder (and encoder) can also apply additional filtering means to improve the quality of the output video before passing it for display and/or storing it as prediction reference for the forthcoming frames in the video sequence.

[0077] The filtering may for example include one or more of the following: deblocking, sample adaptive offset (SAO), and/or adaptive loop filtering (ALF). H.264/AVC includes a deblocking, whereas HEVC includes both deblocking and SAO.

[0078] In typical video codecs the motion information is indicated with motion vectors associated with each motion compensated image block, such as a prediction unit. Each of these motion vectors represents the displacement of the image block in the picture to be coded (in the encoder side) or decoded (in the decoder side) and the prediction source block in one of the previously coded or decoded pictures. In order to represent motion vectors efficiently those are typically coded differentially with respect to block specific predicted motion vectors. In typical video codecs the predicted motion vectors are created in a predefined way, for example calculating the median of the encoded or decoded motion vectors of the adjacent blocks. Another way to create motion vector predictions is to generate a list of candidate predictions from adjacent blocks and/or co-located blocks in temporal reference pictures and signalling the chosen candidate as the motion vector predictor. In addition to predicting the motion vector values, it can be predicted which reference picture(s) are used for motion-compensated prediction and this prediction information may be represented for example by a reference index of previously coded/decoded picture. The reference index is typically predicted from adjacent blocks and/or co-located blocks in temporal reference picture. Moreover, typical high efficiency video codecs employ an additional motion information coding/decoding mechanism, often called merging/merge mode, where all the motion field information, which includes motion vector and corresponding reference picture index for each available reference picture list, is predicted and used without any modification/correction. Similarly, predicting the motion field information is carried out using the motion field information of adjacent blocks and/or co-located blocks in temporal reference pictures and the used motion field information is signalled among a list of motion field candidate list filled with motion field information of available adjacent/co-located blocks.

[0079] Typical video codecs enable the use of uni-prediction, where a single prediction block is used for a block being (de)coded, and bi-prediction, where two prediction blocks are combined to form the prediction for a block being (de)coded. Some video codecs enable weighted prediction, where the sample values of the prediction blocks are weighted prior to adding residual information. For example, multiplicative weighting factor and an additive offset which can be applied. In explicit weighted prediction, enabled by some video codecs, a weighting factor and offset may be coded for example in the slice header for each allowable reference picture index. In implicit weighted prediction, enabled by some video codecs, the weighting factors and/or offsets are not coded but are derived e.g. based on the relative picture order count (POC) distances of the reference pictures.

[0080] In typical video codecs the prediction residual after motion compensation is first transformed with a transform kernel (like DCT) and then coded. The reason for this is that often there still exists some correlation among the residual and transform can in many cases help reduce this correlation and provide more efficient coding.
[0081 ] Typical video encoders utilize Lagrangian cost functions to find optimal coding modes, e.g. the desired Macroblock mode and associated motion vectors. This kind of cost function uses a weighting factor X to tie together the (exact or estimated) image distortion due to lossy coding methods and the (exact or estimated) amount of information that is required to represent the pixel values in an image area:

C = D + XR, (1)


where C is the Lagrangian cost to be minimized, D is the image distortion (e.g. Mean Squared Error) with the mode and motion vectors considered, and R the number of bits needed to represent the required data to reconstruct the image block in the decoder (including the amount of data to represent the candidate motion vectors).

[0082] Video coding standards and specifications may allow encoders to divide a coded picture to coded slices or alike. In-picture prediction is typically disabled across slice boundaries. Thus, slices can be regarded as a way to split a coded picture to independently decodable pieces. In H.264/AVC and HEVC, in-picture prediction may be disabled across slice boundaries. Thus, slices can be regarded as a way to split a coded picture into independently decodable pieces, and slices are therefore often regarded as elementary units for transmission. In many cases, encoders may indicate in the bitstream which types of in-picture prediction are turned off across slice boundaries, and the decoder operation takes this information into account for example when concluding which prediction sources are available. For example, samples from a neighbouring macroblock or CU may be regarded as unavailable for intra prediction, if the neighbouring macroblock or CU resides in a different slice.

[0083] An elementary unit for the output of an H.264/AVC or HEVC encoder and the input of an H.264/AVC or HEVC decoder, respectively, is a Network Abstraction Layer (NAL) unit. For transport over packet-oriented networks or storage into structured files, NAL units may be encapsulated into packets or similar structures. A NAL unit may be defined as a syntax structure containing an indication of the type of data to follow and bytes containing that data in the form of an RBSP interspersed as necessary with startcode emulation prevention bytes. A raw byte sequence payload (RBSP) may be defined as a syntax structure containing an integer number of bytes that is encapsulated in a NAL unit. An RBSP is either empty or has the form of a string of data bits containing syntax elements followed by an RBSP stop bit and followed by zero or more subsequent bits equal to 0. NAL units consist of a header and payload.

[0084] In HEVC, a two-byte NAL unit header is used for all specified NAL unit types. The NAL unit header contains one reserved bit, a six-bit NAL unit type indication, a three-bit nuh_temporal_id_plusl indication for temporal level (may be required to be greater than or equal to 1) and a six-bit nuhlayerid syntax element. The temporal_id_plusl syntax element may be regarded as a temporal identifier for the NAL unit, and a zero-based Temporalld variable may be derived as follows: Temporalld = temporal_id_plusl - 1. Temporalld equal to 0 corresponds to the lowest temporal level. The value of temporal_id_plusl is required to be non-zero in order to avoid start code emulation involving the two NAL unit header bytes. The bitstream created by excluding all VCL NAL units having a Temporalld greater than or equal to a selected value and including all other VCL NAL units remains conforming. Consequently, a picture having Temporalld equal to TK) does not use any picture having a Temporalld greater than TK) as inter prediction reference. A sub-layer or a temporal sub-layer may be defined to be a temporal scalable layer of a temporal scalable bitstream, consisting of VCL NAL units with a particular value of the Temporalld variable and the associated non-VCL NAL units, nuh layer id can be understood as a scalability layer identifier.

[0085] NAL units can be categorized into Video Coding Layer (VCL) NAL units and non-VCL NAL units. In H.264/AVC, coded slice NAL units contain syntax elements representing one or more coded macroblocks, each of which corresponds to a block of samples in the uncompressed picture. In HEVC, VCLNAL units contain syntax elements representing one or more CU.

[0086] In HEVC, a coded slice NAL unit can be indicated to be one of the following types:






[0087] In HEVC, abbreviations for picture types may be defined as follows: trailing (TRAIL) picture, Temporal Sub-layer Access (TSA), Step-wise Temporal Sub-layer Access (STSA), Random Access Decodable Leading (RADL) picture, Random Access Skipped Leading (RASL) picture, Broken Link Access (BLA) picture, Instantaneous Decoding Refresh (IDR) picture, Clean Random Access (CRA) picture.

[0088] A Random Access Point (RAP) picture, which may also be referred to as an intra random access point (TRAP) picture, is a picture where each slice or slice segment has nal unit type in the range of 16 to 23, inclusive. An IRAP picture in an independent layer does not refer to any pictures other than itself for inter prediction in its decoding process. When no intra block copy is in use, an IRAP picture in an independent layer contains only intra-coded slices. An IRAP picture belonging to a predicted layer with nuh layer id value currLayerld may contain P, B, and I slices, cannot use inter prediction from other pictures with nuh layer id equal to currLayerld, and may use inter-layer prediction from its direct reference layers. In the present version of HEVC, an IRAP picture may be a BLA picture, a CRA picture or an IDR picture. The first picture in a bitstream containing a base layer is an IRAP picture at the base layer. Provided the necessary parameter sets are available when they need to be activated, an IRAP picture at an independent layer and all subsequent non-RASL pictures at the independent layer in decoding order can be correctly decoded without performing the decoding process of any pictures that precede the IRAP picture in decoding order. The IRAP picture belonging to a predicted layer with nuh layer id value currLayerld and all subsequent non-RASL pictures with nuh layer id equal to currLayerld in decoding order can be correctly decoded without performing the decoding process of any pictures with nuh layer id equal to currLayerld that precede the IRAP picture in decoding order, when the necessary parameter sets are available when they need to be activated and when the decoding of each direct reference layer of the layer with nuh layer id equal to currLayerld has been initialized (i.e. when LayerInitializedFlag[ refLayerld ] is equal to 1 for refLayerld equal to all nuh layer id values of the direct reference layers of the layer with nuh layer id equal to currLayerld). There may be pictures in a bitstream that contain only intra-coded slices that are not IRAP pictures.

[0089] In HEVC a CRA picture may be the first picture in the bitstream in decoding order, or may appear later in the bitstream. CRA pictures in HEVC allow so-called leading pictures that follow the CRA picture in decoding order but precede it in output order. Some of the leading pictures, so-called RASL pictures, may use pictures decoded before the CRA picture as a reference. Pictures that follow a CRA picture in both decoding and output order are decodable if random access is performed at the CRA picture, and hence clean random access is achieved similarly to the clean random access functionality of an IDR picture.

[0090] A CRA picture may have associated RADL or RASL pictures. When a CRA picture is the first picture in the bitstream in decoding order, the CRA picture is the first picture of a coded video sequence in decoding order, and any associated RASL pictures are not output by the decoder and may not be decodable, as they may contain references to pictures that are not present in the bitstream.
[0091 ] A leading picture is a picture that precedes the associated RAP picture in output order. The associated RAP picture is the previous RAP picture in decoding order (if present). A leading picture is either a RADL picture or a RASL picture.

[0092] All RASL pictures are leading pictures of an associated BLA or CRA picture. When the associated RAP picture is a BLA picture or is the first coded picture in the bitstream, the RASL picture is not output and may not be correctly decodable, as the RASL picture may contain references to pictures that are not present in the bitstream. However, a RASL picture can be correctly decoded if the decoding had started from a RAP picture before the associated RAP picture of the RASL picture. RASL pictures are not used as reference pictures for the decoding process of non-RASL pictures. When present, all RASL pictures precede, in decoding order, all trailing pictures of the same associated RAP picture. In some drafts of the HEVC standard, a RASL picture was referred to a Tagged for Discard (TFD) picture.

[0093] All RADL pictures are leading pictures. RADL pictures are not used as reference pictures for the decoding process of trailing pictures of the same associated RAP picture. When present, all RADL pictures precede, in decoding order, all trailing pictures of the same associated RAP picture. RADL pictures do not refer to any picture preceding the associated RAP picture in decoding order and can therefore be correctly decoded when the decoding starts from the associated RAP picture.

[0094] When a part of a bitstream starting from a CRA picture is included in another bitstream, the RASL pictures associated with the CRA picture might not be correctly decodable, because some of their reference pictures might not be present in the combined bitstream. To make such a splicing operation straightforward, the NAL unit type of the CRA picture can be changed to indicate that it is a BLA picture. The RASL pictures associated with a BLA picture may not be correctly decodable hence are not be output/displayed. Furthermore, the RASL pictures associated with a BLA picture may be omitted from decoding.

[0095] A BLA picture may be the first picture in the bitstream in decoding order, or may appear later in the bitstream. Each BLA picture begins a new coded video sequence, and has similar effect on the decoding process as an IDR picture. However, a BLA picture contains syntax elements that specify a non-empty reference picture set. When a BLA picture has nalunittype equal to BLAWLP, it may have associated RASL pictures, which are not output by the decoder and may not be decodable, as they may contain references to pictures that are not present in the bitstream. When a BLA picture has nal unit type equal to BLA W LP, it may also have associated RADL pictures, which are specified to be decoded. When a BLA picture has nal unit type equal to BLA W RADL, it does not have associated RASL pictures but may have associated RADL pictures, which are specified to be decoded. When a BLA picture has nal unit type equal to BLA N LP, it does not have any associated leading pictures.

[0096] An IDR picture having nal unit type equal to IDR N LP does not have associated leading pictures present in the bitstream. An IDR picture having nal unit type equal to IDR W LP does not have associated RASL pictures present in the bitstream, but may have associated RADL pictures in the bitstream.

[0097] When the value of nal_unit_type is equal to TRAILN, TSA_N, STSA_N, RADLN, RASLN, RSV_VCL_N10, RSV_VCL_N12, or RSV_VCL_N14, the decoded picture is not used as a reference for any other picture of the same temporal sub-layer. That is, in HEVC, when the value of nal unit type is equal to TRAIL N, TSA_N, STSA_N, RADL N, RASL N, RSV_VCL_N10, RSV_VCL_N12, or RSV_VCL_N14, the decoded picture is not included in any of RefPicSetStCurrBefore, RefPicSetStCurrAfter and RefPicSetLtCurr of any picture with the same value of Temporalld. A coded picture with nal unit type equal to TRAIL N, TSA N, STSA N, RADL N, RASL N, RSV_VCL_N10, RSV_VCL_N12, or RSV_VCL_N14 may be discarded without affecting the decodability of other pictures with the same value of Temporalld.

[0098] A trailing picture may be defined as a picture that follows the associated RAP picture in output order. Any picture that is a trailing picture does not have nal unit type equal to RADL N, RADL R, RASL N or RASL R. Any picture that is a leading picture may be constrained to precede, in decoding order, all trailing pictures that are associated with the same RAP picture. No RASL pictures are present in the bitstream that are associated with a BLA picture having nal unit type equal to BLA W RADL or BLANLP. No RADL pictures are present in the bitstream that are associated with a BLA picture having nal unit type equal to BLA N LP or that are associated with an IDR picture having nal unit type equal to IDR N LP. Any RASL picture associated with a CRA or BLA picture may be constrained to precede any RADL picture associated with the CRA or BLA picture in output order. Any RASL picture associated with a CRA picture may be constrained to follow, in output order, any other RAP picture that precedes the CRA picture in decoding order.

[0099] In HEVC there are two picture types, the TSA and STSA picture types that can be used to indicate temporal sub-layer switching points. If temporal sub-layers with Temporalld up to N had been decoded until the TSA or STSA picture (exclusive) and the TSA or STSA picture has Temporalld equal to N+l, the TSA or STSA picture enables decoding of all subsequent pictures (in decoding order) having Temporalld equal to N+l. The TSA picture type may impose restrictions on the TSA picture itself and all pictures in the same sub-layer that follow the TSA picture in decoding order. None of these pictures is allowed to use inter prediction from any picture in the same sub-layer that precedes the TSA picture in decoding order. The TSA definition may further impose restrictions on the pictures in higher sub-layers that follow the TSA picture in decoding order. None of these pictures is allowed to refer a picture that precedes the TSA picture in decoding order if that picture belongs to the same or higher sub-layer as the TSA picture. TSA pictures have Temporalld greater than 0. The STSA is similar to the TSA picture but does not impose restrictions on the pictures in higher sub-layers that follow the STSA picture in decoding order and hence enable up-switching only onto the sub-layer where the STSA picture resides.

[0100] A non-VCL NAL unit may be for example one of the following types: a sequence parameter set, a picture parameter set, a supplemental enhancement information (SEI) NAL unit, an access unit delimiter, an end of sequence NAL unit, an end of bitstream NAL unit, or a filler data NAL unit. Parameter sets may be needed for the reconstruction of decoded pictures, whereas many of the other non-VCL NAL units are not necessary for the reconstruction of decoded sample values.

[0101] Parameters that remain unchanged through a coded video sequence may be included in a sequence parameter set. In addition to the parameters that may be needed by the decoding process, the sequence parameter set may optionally contain video usability information (VUI), which includes parameters that may be important for buffering, picture output timing, rendering, and resource reservation. In HEVC a sequence parameter set RBSP includes parameters that can be referred to by one or more picture parameter set RBSPs or one or more SEI NAL units containing a buffering period SEI message. A picture parameter set contains such parameters that are likely to be unchanged in several coded pictures. A picture parameter set RBSP may include parameters that can be referred to by the coded slice NAL units of one or more coded pictures. In HEVC, a video parameter set (VPS) may be defined as a syntax structure containing syntax elements that apply to zero or more entire coded video sequences as determined by the content of a syntax element found in the SPS referred to by a syntax element found in the PPS referred to by a syntax element found in each slice segment header. A video parameter set RBSP may include parameters that can be referred to by one or more sequence parameter set RBSPs.

[0102] The relationship and hierarchy between video parameter set (VPS), sequence parameter set (SPS), and picture parameter set (PPS) may be described as follows. VPS resides one level above SPS in the parameter set hierarchy and in the context of scalability and/or 3D video. VPS may include parameters that are common for all slices across all (scalability or view) layers in the entire coded video sequence. SPS includes the parameters that are common for all slices in a particular (scalability or view) layer in the entire coded video sequence, and may be shared by multiple (scalability or view) layers. PPS includes the parameters that are common for all slices in a particular layer representation (the representation of one scalability or view layer in one access unit) and are likely to be shared by all slices in multiple layer representations.

[0103] VPS may provide information about the dependency relationships of the layers in a bitstream, as well as many other information that are applicable to all slices across all (scalability or view) layers in the entire coded video sequence. VPS may be considered to comprise two parts, the base VPS and a VPS extension, where the VPS extension may be optionally present. In HEVC, the base VPS may be considered to comprise the video_parameter_set_rbsp( ) syntax structure without the vps_extension( ) syntax structure. The video_parameter_set_rbsp( ) syntax structure was primarily specified already for HEVC version 1 and includes syntax elements which may be of use for base layer decoding. In HEVC, the VPS extension may be considered to comprise the vps_extension() syntax structure. The vps_extension() syntax structure was specified in HEVC version 2 primarily for multi-layer extensions and comprises syntax elements which may be of use for decoding of one or more non-base layers, such as syntax elements indicating layer dependency relations.

[0104] The syntax element max_tid_il_ref_pics_plusl in the VPS extension can be used to indicate that non-IRAP pictures are not used a reference for inter-layer prediction and, if not so, which temporal sub-layers are not used as a reference for inter-layer prediction: max_tid_il_ref_pics_plusl [ i ][ j ] equal to 0 specifies that non-IRAP pictures with nuhlayerid equal to layer_id_in_nuh[ i ] are not used as source pictures for inter-layer prediction for pictures with nuhlayerid equal to layer_id_in_nuh[ j ]. max_tid_il_ref_pics_plusl [ i ][ j ] greater than 0 specifies that pictures with nuh layer id equal to layer_id_in_nuh[ i ] and Temporalld greater than max_tid_il_ref_pics_plusl [ i ][ j ] - 1 are not used as source pictures for inter-layer prediction for pictures with nuh layer id equal to layer_id_in_nuh[ j ]. When not present, the value of max_tid_il_ref_pics_plusl [ i ][ j ] is inferred to be equal to 7.

[0105] H.264/AVC and HEVC syntax allows many instances of parameter sets, and each instance is identified with a unique identifier. In order to limit the memory usage needed for parameter sets, the value range for parameter set identifiers has been limited. In H.264/AVC and HEVC, each slice header includes the identifier of the picture parameter set that is active for the decoding of the picture that contains the slice, and each picture parameter set contains the identifier of the active sequence parameter set. Consequently, the transmission of picture and sequence parameter sets does not have to be accurately synchronized with the transmission of slices. Instead, it is sufficient that the active sequence and picture parameter sets are received at any moment before they are referenced, which allows transmission of parameter sets "out-of-band" using a more reliable transmission mechanism compared to the protocols used for the slice data. For example, parameter sets can be included as a parameter in the session description for Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) sessions. If parameter sets are transmitted in-band, they can be repeated to improve error robustness.

[0106] Out-of-band transmission, signalling or storage can additionally or alternatively be used for other purposes than tolerance against transmission errors, such as ease of access or session negotiation. For example, a sample entry of a track in a file conforming to the ISOBMFF may comprise parameter sets, while the coded data in the bitstream is stored elsewhere in the file or in another file. The phrase along the bitstream (e.g. indicating along the bitstream) may be used in claims and described embodiments to refer to out-of-band transmission, signalling, or storage in a manner that the out-of-band data is associated with the bitstream. The phrase decoding along the bitstream or alike may refer to decoding the referred out-of-band data (which may be obtained from out-of-band transmission, signalling, or storage) that is associated with the bitstream. A coded picture is a coded representation of a picture.

[0107] In HEVC, a coded picture may be defined as a coded representation of a picture containing all coding tree units of the picture. In HEVC, an access unit (AU) may be defined as a set of NAL units that are associated with each other according to a specified classification rule, are consecutive in decoding order, and contain at most one picture with any specific value of nuhlayerid. In addition to containing the VCL NAL units of the coded picture, an access unit may also contain non-VCL NAL units.

[0108] It may be required that coded pictures appear in certain order within an access unit. For example a coded picture with nuh layer id equal to nuhLayerldA may be required to precede, in decoding order, all coded pictures with nuh layer id greater than nuhLayerldA in the same access unit. An AU typically contains all the coded pictures that represent the same output time and/or capturing time.

[0109] A bitstream may be defined as a sequence of bits, in the form of a NAL unit stream or a byte stream, that forms the representation of coded pictures and associated data forming one or more coded video sequences. A first bitstream may be followed by a second bitstream in the same logical channel, such as in the same file or in the same connection of a communication protocol. An elementary stream (in the context of video coding) may be defined as a sequence of one or more bitstreams. The end of the first bitstream may be indicated by a specific NAL unit, which may be referred to as the end of bitstream (EOB) NAL unit and which is the last NAL unit of the bitstream. In HEVC and its current draft extensions, the EOB NAL unit is required to have nuh layer id equal to 0.

[0110] A byte stream format has been specified in H.264/AVC and HEVC for transmission or storage environments that do not provide framing structures. The byte stream format separates NAL units from each other by attaching a start code in front of each NAL unit. To avoid false detection of NAL unit boundaries, encoders run a byte-oriented start code emulation prevention algorithm, which adds an emulation prevention byte to the NAL unit payload if a start code would have occurred otherwise. In order to, for example, enable straightforward gateway operation between packet- and stream-oriented systems, start code emulation prevention may always be performed regardless of whether the byte stream format is in use or not. The bit order for the byte stream format may be specified to start with the most significant bit (MSB) of the first byte, proceed to the least significant bit (LSB) of the first byte, followed by the MSB of the second byte, etc. The byte stream format may be considered to consist of a sequence of byte stream NAL unit syntax structures. Each byte stream NAL unit syntax structure may be considered to contain one start code prefix followed by one NAL unit syntax structure, i.e. the nal_unit( NumBytesInNalUnit) syntax structure if syntax element names are referred to. A byte stream NAL unit may also contain an additional zero byte syntax element. It may also contain one or more additional trailing_zero_8bits syntax elements. When a byte stream NAL unit is the first byte stream NAL unit in the bitstream, it may also contain one or more additional leading_zero_8bits syntax elements. The syntax of a byte stream NAL unit may be specified as follows:


[0111] The order of byte stream NAL units in the byte stream may be required to follow the decoding order of the NAL units contained in the byte stream NAL units. The semantics of syntax elements may be specified as follows. leading_zero_8bits is a byte equal to 0x00. The leading_zero_8bits syntax element can only be present in the first byte stream NAL unit of the bitstream, because any bytes equal to 0x00 that follow a NAL unit syntax structure and precede the four-byte sequence 0x00000001 (which is to be interpreted as a zero byte followed by a start_code_prefix_one_3 bytes) will be considered to be trailing_zero_8bits syntax elements that are part of the preceding byte stream NAL unit. zero_byte is a single byte equal to 0x00. start_code_prefix_one_3bytes is a fixed-value sequence of 3 bytes equal to 0x000001. This syntax element may be called a start code prefix (or simply a start code). trailing_zero_8bits is a byte equal to 0x00.

[0112] A NAL unit may be defined as a syntax structure containing an indication of the type of data to follow and bytes containing that data in the form of an RBSP interspersed as necessary with emulation prevention bytes. A raw byte sequence payload (RBSP) may be defined as a syntax structure containing an integer number of bytes that is encapsulated in a NAL unit. An RBSP is either empty or has the form of a string of data bits containing syntax elements followed by an RBSP stop bit and followed by zero or more subsequent bits equal to 0.

[0113] NAL units consist of a header and payload. In H.264/AVC and HEVC, the NAL unit header indicates the type of the NAL unit.

[0114] The HEVC syntax of the nal_unit( NumBytesInNalUnit) syntax structure are provided next as an example of a syntax of NAL unit.


[0115] In HEVC, a coded video sequence (CVS) may be defined, for example, as a sequence of access units that consists, in decoding order, of an IRAP access unit with NoRaslOutputFlag equal to 1, followed by zero or more access units that are not IRAP access units with NoRaslOutputFlag equal to 1, including all subsequent access units up to but not including any subsequent access unit that is an IRAP access unit with NoRaslOutputFlag equal to 1. An IRAP access unit may be defined as an access unit in which the base layer picture is an IRAP picture. The value of NoRaslOutputFlag is equal to 1 for each IDR picture, each BLA picture, and each IRAP picture that is the first picture in that particular layer in the bitstream in decoding order, is the first IRAP picture that follows an end of sequence NAL unit having the same value of nuh layer id in decoding order. In multi-layer HEVC, the value of NoRaslOutputFlag is equal to 1 for each IRAP picture when its nuh layer id is such that LayerInitializedFlag[ nuh layer id ] is equal to 0 and LayerInitializedFlag[ refLayerld ] is equal to 1 for all values of refLayerld equal to IdDirectRefLayerf nuh layer id ] [ j ], where j is in the range of 0 to NumDirectRefLayers[ nuh layer id ] - 1, inclusive. Otherwise, the value of NoRaslOutputFlag is equal to HandleCraAsBlaFlag. NoRaslOutputFlag equal to 1 has an impact that the RASL pictures associated with the IRAP picture for which the NoRaslOutputFlag is set are not output by the decoder. There may be means to provide the value of HandleCraAsBlaFlag to the decoder from an external entity, such as a player or a receiver, which may control the decoder. HandleCraAsBlaFlag may be set to 1 for example by a player that seeks to a new position in a bitstream or tunes into a broadcast and starts decoding and then starts decoding from a CRA picture. When HandleCraAsBlaFlag is equal to 1 for a CRA picture, the CRA picture is handled and decoded as if it were a BLA picture.

[0116] In HEVC, a coded video sequence may additionally or alternatively (to the specification above) be specified to end, when a specific NAL unit, which may be referred to as an end of sequence (EOS) NAL unit, appears in the bitstream and has nuh layer id equal to 0.

[0117] A group of pictures (GOP) and its characteristics may be defined as follows. A GOP can be decoded regardless of whether any previous pictures were decoded. An open GOP is such a group of pictures in which pictures preceding the initial intra picture in output order might not be correctly decodable when the decoding starts from the initial intra picture of the open GOP. In other words, pictures of an open GOP may refer (in inter prediction) to pictures belonging to a previous GOP. An HEVC decoder can recognize an intra picture starting an open GOP, because a specific NAL unit type, CRA NAL unit type, may be used for its coded slices. A closed GOP is such a group of pictures in which all pictures can be correctly decoded when the decoding starts from the initial intra picture of the closed GOP. In other words, no picture in a closed GOP refers to any pictures in previous GOPs. In H.264/AVC and HEVC, a closed GOP may start from an IDR picture. In HEVC a closed GOP may also start from a BLA W RADL or a BLA N LP picture. An open GOP coding structure is potentially more efficient in the compression compared to a closed GOP coding structure, due to a larger flexibility in selection of reference pictures.

[0118] A Structure of Pictures (SOP) may be defined as one or more coded pictures consecutive in decoding order, in which the first coded picture in decoding order is a reference picture at the lowest temporal sub-layer and no coded picture except potentially the first coded picture in decoding order is a RAP picture. All pictures in the previous SOP precede in decoding order all pictures in the current SOP and all pictures in the next SOP succeed in decoding order all pictures in the current SOP. A SOP may represent a hierarchical and repetitive inter prediction structure. The term group of pictures (GOP) may sometimes be used interchangeably with the term SOP and having the same semantics as the semantics of SOP.

[0119] The bitstream syntax of H.264/AVC and HEVC indicates whether a particular picture is a reference picture for inter prediction of any other picture. Pictures of any coding type (I, P, B) can be reference pictures or non-reference pictures in H.264 /AVC and HEVC.

[0120] In HEVC, a reference picture set (RPS) syntax structure and decoding process are used. A reference picture set valid or active for a picture includes all the reference pictures used as reference for the picture and all the reference pictures that are kept marked as "used for reference" for any subsequent pictures in decoding order. There are six subsets of the reference picture set, which are referred to as namely RefPicSetStCurrO (a.k.a. RefPicSetStCurrBefore), RefPicSetStCurrl (a.k.a. RefPicSetStCurrAfter), RefPicSetStFollO, RefPicSetStFolll, RefPicSetLtCurr, and RefPicSetLtFoll. RefPicSetStFollO and RefPicSetStFolll may also be considered to form jointly one subset RefPicSetStFoll. The notation of the six subsets is as follows. "Curr" refers to reference pictures that are included in the reference picture lists of the current picture and hence may be used as inter prediction reference for the current picture. "Foil" refers to reference pictures that are not included in the reference picture lists of the current picture but may be used in subsequent pictures in decoding order as reference pictures. "St" refers to short-term reference pictures, which may generally be identified through a certain number of least significant bits of their POC value. "Lt" refers to long-term reference pictures, which are specifically identified and generally have a greater difference of POC values relative to the current picture than what can be represented by the mentioned certain number of least significant bits. "0" refers to those reference pictures that have a smaller POC value than that of the current picture. "1" refers to those reference pictures that have a greater POC value than that of the current picture. RefPicSetStCurrO, RefPicSetStCurrl, RefPicSetStFollO and RefPicSetStFolll are collectively referred to as the short-term subset of the reference picture set. RefPicSetLtCurr and RefPicSetLtFoll are collectively referred to as the long-term subset of the reference picture set.
[0121 ] In HEVC, a reference picture set may be specified in a sequence parameter set and taken into use in the slice header through an index to the reference picture set. A reference picture set may also be specified in a slice header. A reference picture set may be coded independently or may be predicted from another reference picture set (known as inter-RPS prediction). In both types of reference picture set coding, a flag (used by curr pic X flag) is additionally sent for each reference picture indicating whether the reference picture is used for reference by the current picture (included in a *Curr list) or not (included in a *Foll list). Pictures that are included in the reference picture set used by the current slice are marked as "used for reference", and pictures that are not in the reference picture set used by the current slice are marked as "unused for reference". If the current picture is an IDR picture, RefPicSetStCurrO, RefPicSetStCurrl, RefPicSetStFollO, RefPicSetStFolll, RefPicSetLtCurr, and RefPicSetLtFoll are all set to empty.

[0122] A Decoded Picture Buffer (DPB) may be used in the encoder and/or in the decoder. There are two reasons to buffer decoded pictures, for references in inter prediction and for reordering decoded pictures into output order. As H.264/AVC and HEVC provide a great deal of flexibility for both reference picture marking and output reordering, separate buffers for reference picture buffering and output picture buffering may waste memory resources. Hence, the DPB may include a unified decoded picture buffering process for reference pictures and output reordering. A decoded picture may be removed from the DPB when it is no longer used as a reference and is not needed for output.

[0123] In many coding modes of H.264/AVC and HEVC, the reference picture for inter prediction is indicated with an index to a reference picture list. The index may be coded with variable length coding, which usually causes a smaller index to have a shorter value for the corresponding syntax element. In H.264/AVC and HEVC, two reference picture lists (reference picture list 0 and reference picture list 1) are generated for each bi-predictive (B) slice, and one reference picture list (reference picture list 0) is formed for each inter-coded (P) slice.

[0124] A reference picture list, such as reference picture list 0 and reference picture list 1, is typically constructed in two steps: First, an initial reference picture list is generated. The initial reference picture list may be generated for example on the basis of framenum, POC, temporalid (or Temporalld or alike), or information on the prediction hierarchy such as GOP structure, or any combination thereof. Second, the initial reference picture list may be reordered by reference picture list reordering (RPLR) commands, also known as reference picture list modification syntax structure, which may be contained in slice headers. If reference picture sets are used, the reference picture list 0 may be initialized to contain RefPicSetStCurrO first, followed by RefPicSetStCurrl, followed by RefPicSetLtCurr. Reference picture list 1 may be initialized to contain RefPicSetStCurrl first, followed by RefPicSetStCurrO. In HEVC, the initial reference picture lists may be modified through the reference picture list modification syntax structure, where pictures in the initial reference picture lists may be identified through an entry index to the list. In other words, in HEVC, reference picture list modification is encoded into a syntax structure comprising a loop over each entry in the final reference picture list, where each loop entry is a fixed-length coded index to the initial reference picture list and indicates the picture in ascending position order in the final reference picture list.

[0125] Many coding standards, including H.264/AVC and HEVC, may have decoding process to derive a reference picture index to a reference picture list, which may be used to indicate which one of the multiple reference pictures is used for inter prediction for a particular block. A reference picture index may be coded by an encoder into the bitstream is some inter coding modes or it may be derived (by an encoder and a decoder) for example using neighbouring blocks in some other inter coding modes.

[0126] In order to represent motion vectors efficiently in bitstreams, motion vectors may be coded differentially with respect to a block-specific predicted motion vector. In many video codecs, the predicted motion vectors are created in a predefined way, for example by calculating the median of the encoded or decoded motion vectors of the adjacent blocks. Another way to create motion vector predictions, sometimes referred to as advanced motion vector prediction (AMVP), is to generate a list of candidate predictions from adjacent blocks and/or co-located blocks in temporal reference pictures and signalling the chosen candidate as the motion vector predictor. In addition to predicting the motion vector values, the reference index of previously coded/decoded picture can be predicted. The reference index is typically predicted from adjacent blocks and/or co-located blocks in temporal reference picture. Differential coding of motion vectors is typically disabled across slice boundaries.

[0127] Scalable video coding may refer to coding structure where one bitstream can contain multiple representations of the content, for example, at different bitrates, resolutions or frame rates. In these cases the receiver can extract the desired representation depending on its characteristics (e.g. resolution that matches best the display device). Alternatively, a server or a network element can extract the portions of the bitstream to be transmitted to the receiver depending on e.g. the network characteristics or processing capabilities of the receiver. A meaningful decoded representation can be produced by decoding only certain parts of a scalable bit stream. A scalable bitstream typically consists of a "base layer" providing the lowest quality video available and one or more enhancement layers that enhance the video quality when received and decoded together with the lower layers. In order to improve coding efficiency for the enhancement layers, the coded representation of that layer typically depends on the lower layers. E.g. the motion and mode information of the enhancement layer can be predicted from lower layers. Similarly the pixel data of the lower layers can be used to create prediction for the enhancement layer.

[0128] In some scalable video coding schemes, a video signal can be encoded into a base layer and one or more enhancement layers. An enhancement layer may enhance, for example, the temporal resolution (i.e., the frame rate), the spatial resolution, or simply the quality of the video content represented by another layer or part thereof. Each layer together with all its dependent layers is one representation of the video signal, for example, at a certain spatial resolution, temporal resolution and quality level. In this document, we refer to a scalable layer together with all of its dependent layers as a "scalable layer representation". The portion of a scalable bitstream corresponding to a scalable layer representation can be extracted and decoded to produce a representation of the original signal at certain fidelity.

[0129] Scalability modes or scalability dimensions may include but are not limited to the following: - Quality scalability: Base layer pictures are coded at a lower quality than enhancement layer pictures, which may be achieved for example using a greater quantization parameter value (i.e., a greater quantization step size for transform coefficient quantization) in the base layer than in the enhancement layer. - Spatial scalability: Base layer pictures are coded at a lower resolution (i.e. have fewer samples) than enhancement layer pictures. Spatial scalability and quality scalability, particularly its coarse-grain scalability type, may sometimes be considered the same type

of scalability.


- Bit-depth scalability: Base layer pictures are coded at lower bit-depth (e.g. 8 bits) than enhancement layer pictures (e.g. 10 or 12 bits). - Dynamic range scalability: Scalable layers represent a different dynamic range and/or images obtained using a different tone mapping function and/or a different optical

transfer function.


- Chroma format scalability: Base layer pictures provide lower spatial resolution in chroma sample arrays (e.g. coded in 4:2:0 chroma format) than enhancement layer pictures (e.g.

4:4:4 format).


- Color gamut scalability: enhancement layer pictures have a richer/broader color representation range than that of the base layer pictures - for example the enhancement layer may have UHDTV (ITU-R BT.2020) color gamut and the base layer may have the

ITU-R BT.709 color gamut.


- View scalability, which may also be referred to as multiview coding. The base layer represents a first view, whereas an enhancement layer represents a second view. - Depth scalability, which may also be referred to as depth-enhanced coding. A layer or some layers of a bitstream may represent texture view(s), while other layer or layers may

represent depth view(s).

- Region-of-interest scalability (as described below).


- Interlaced-to-progressive scalability (also known as field-to-frame scalability): coded interlaced source content material of the base layer is enhanced with an enhancement

layer to represent progressive source content.


- Hybrid codec scalability (also known as coding standard scalability): In hybrid codec scalability, the bitstream syntax, semantics and decoding process of the base layer and the enhancement layer are specified in different video coding standards. Thus, base layer pictures are coded according to a different coding standard or format than enhancement

layer pictures. For example, the base layer may be coded with H.264/AVC and an enhancement layer may be coded with an HEVC multi-layer extension.

[0130] It should be understood that many of the scalability types may be combined and applied together. For example color gamut scalability and bit-depth scalability may be combined.

[0131] The term layer may be used in context of any type of scalability, including view scalability and depth enhancements. An enhancement layer may refer to any type of an enhancement, such as SNR, spatial, multiview, depth, bit-depth, chroma format, and/or color gamut enhancement. A base layer may refer to any type of a base video sequence, such as a base view, a base layer for SNR/spatial scalability, or a texture base view for depth-enhanced video coding.

[0132] Various technologies for providing three-dimensional (3D) video content are currently investigated and developed. It may be considered that in stereoscopic or two-view video, one video sequence or view is presented for the left eye while a parallel view is presented for the right eye. More than two parallel views may be needed for applications which enable viewpoint switching or for autostereoscopic displays which may present a large number of views simultaneously and let the viewers to observe the content from different viewpoints.

[0133] A view may be defined as a sequence of pictures representing one camera or viewpoint. The pictures representing a view may also be called view components. In other words, a view component may be defined as a coded representation of a view in a single access unit. In multiview video coding, more than one view is coded in a bitstream. Since views are typically intended to be displayed on stereoscopic or multiview autostereoscopic display or to be used for other 3D arrangements, they typically represent the same scene and are content-wise partly overlapping although representing different viewpoints to the content. Hence, inter-view prediction may be utilized in multiview video coding to take advantage of inter-view correlation and improve compression efficiency. One way to realize inter-view prediction is to include one or more decoded pictures of one or more other views in the reference picture list(s) of a picture being coded or decoded residing within a first view. View scalability may refer to such multiview video coding or multiview video bitstreams, which enable removal or omission of one or more coded views, while the resulting bitstream remains conforming and represents video with a smaller number of views than originally. Region of Interest (ROI) coding may be defined to refer to coding a particular region within a video at a higher fidelity.

[0134] ROI scalability may be defined as a type of scalability wherein an enhancement layer enhances only part of a reference-layer picture e.g. spatially, quality-wise, in bit-depth, and/or along other scalability dimensions. As ROI scalability may be used together with other types of scalabilities, it may be considered to form a different categorization of scalability types. There exists several different applications for ROI coding with different requirements, which may be realized by using ROI scalability. For example, an enhancement layer can be transmitted to enhance the quality and/or a resolution of a region in the base layer. A decoder receiving both enhancement and base layer bitstream might decode both layers and overlay the decoded pictures on top of each other and display the final picture.

[0135] The spatial correspondence of a reference-layer picture and an enhancement-layer picture may be inferred or may be indicated with one or more types of so-called reference layer location offsets. In HEVC, reference layer location offsets may be included in the PPS by the encoder and decoded from the PPS by the decoder. Reference layer location offsets may be used for but are not limited to achieving ROI scalability. Reference layer location offsets may be indicated between two layers or pictures of two layers even if the layers do not have an inter-layer prediction relation between each other. Reference layer location offsets may comprise one or more of scaled reference layer offsets, reference region offsets, and resampling phase sets. Scaled reference layer offsets may be considered to specify the horizontal and vertical offsets between the sample in the current picture that is collocated with the top-left luma sample of the reference region in a decoded picture in a reference layer and the horizontal and vertical offsets between the sample in the current picture that is collocated with the bottom-right luma sample of the reference region in a decoded picture in a reference layer. Another way is to consider scaled reference layer offsets to specify the positions of the corner samples of the upsampled reference region relative to the respective corner samples of the enhancement layer picture. The scaled reference layer offset values may be signed and are generally allowed to be equal to 0. Reference region offsets may be considered to specify the horizontal and vertical offsets between the top-left luma sample of the reference region in the decoded picture in a reference layer and the top-left luma sample of the same decoded picture as well as the horizontal and vertical offsets between the bottom-right luma sample of the reference region in the decoded picture in a reference layer and the bottom-right luma sample of the same decoded picture. The reference region offset values may be signed and are generally allowed to be equal to 0. A resampling phase set may be considered to specify the phase offsets used in resampling process of a source picture for inter-layer prediction. Different phase offsets may be provided for luma and chroma components.

[0136] Frame packing may be defined to comprise arranging more than one input picture, which may be referred to as (input) constituent frames, into an output picture. In general, frame packing is not limited to any particular type of constituent frames or the constituent frames need not have a particular relation with each other. In many cases, frame packing is used for arranging constituent frames of a stereoscopic video clip into a single picture sequence, as explained in more details in the next paragraph. The arranging may include placing the input pictures in spatially non-overlapping areas within the output picture. For example, in a side-by-side arrangement, two input pictures are placed within an output picture horizontally adjacently to each other. The arranging may also include partitioning of one or more input pictures into two or more constituent frame partitions and placing the constituent frame partitions in spatially non-overlapping areas within the output picture. The output picture or a sequence of frame-packed output pictures may be encoded into a bitstream e.g. by a video encoder. The bitstream may be decoded e.g. by a video decoder. The decoder or a post-processing operation after decoding may extract the decoded constituent frames from the decoded picture(s) e.g. for displaying.

[0137] In frame-compatible stereoscopic video (a.k.a. frame packing of stereoscopic video), a spatial packing of a stereo pair into a single frame is performed at the encoder side as a pre-processing step for encoding and then the frame-packed frames are encoded with a conventional 2D video coding scheme. The output frames produced by the decoder contain constituent frames of a stereo pair.

[0138] In a typical operation mode, the spatial resolution of the original frames of each view and the packaged single frame have the same resolution. In this case the encoder downsamples the two views of the stereoscopic video before the packing operation. The spatial packing may use for example a side-by-side or top-bottom format, and the downsampling should be performed accordingly.

[0139] Frame packing may be preferred over multiview video coding (e.g. MVC extension of H.264/AVC or MV-HEVC extension of H.265/HEVC) for example due to the following reasons:

- The post-production workflows might be tailored for a single video signal. Some post-production tools might not be able to handle two separate picture sequences and/or might not be able to keep the separate picture sequences in synchrony with each other. - The distribution system, such as transmission protocols, might be such that support single coded sequence only and/or might not be able to keep separate coded sequences in synchrony with each other and/or may require more buffering or latency to keep the separate coded sequences in synchrony with each other. - The decoding of bitstreams with multiview video coding tools may require support of specific coding modes, which might not be available in players. For example, many smartphones support H.265/HEVC Main profile decoding but are not able to handle H.265/HEVC Multiview Main profile decoding even though it only requires high-level additions compared to the Main profile.

[0140] A specific projection for mapping a panoramic image covering 360-degree field-of-view horizontally and 180-degree field-of-view vertically (hence representing a sphere) to a rectangular two-dimensional image plane is known as equirectangular projection. In this case, the horizontal coordinate may be considered equivalent to a longitude, and the vertical coordinate may be considered equivalent to a latitude, with no transformation or scaling applied. In some cases panoramic content with 360-degree horizontal field-of-view but with less than

180-degree vertical field-of-view may be considered special cases of equirectangular projection, where the polar areas of the sphere have not been mapped onto the two-dimensional image plane. In some cases panoramic may have less than 360-degree horizontal field-of-view and up to 180degree vertical field-of-view, while otherwise have the characteristics of equirectangular projection format.

[0141] In cubemap projection format, spherical video is projected onto the six faces (a.k.a. sides) of a cube. The cubemap may be generated e.g. by first rendering the spherical scene six times from a viewpoint, with the views defined by an 90 degree view frustum representing each cube face. The cube sides may be frame-packed into the same frame or each cube side may be treated individually (e.g. in encoding). There are many possible orders of locating cube sides onto a frame and/or cube sides may be rotated or mirrored. The frame width and height for frame-packing may be selected to fit the cube sides "tightly" e.g. at 3x2 cube side grid, or may include unused constituent frames e.g. at 4x3 cube side grid.

[0142] A coding tool or mode called intra block copy (IBC) is similar to inter prediction but uses the current picture being encoded or decoded as a reference picture. Obviously, only the blocks coded or decoded before the current block being coded or decoded can be used as references for the prediction. The screen content coding (SCC) extension of HEVC is planned to include IBC.

[0143] IBC in HEVC SCC is meant for sample prediction only. It is explicitly disallowed in the HEVC SCC specification text to use the current picture as the collocated picture for TMVP.

[0144] The inter prediction process may involve referring to sample locations outside picture boundaries at least for (but not necessarily limited to) the following two reasons. First, motion vectors may point to prediction blocks outside picture boundaries, and second, motion vectors may point to a non-integer sample location for which the sample value is interpolated using filtering that takes input samples from locations that are outside picture boundaries.

[0145] In several video coding standards, such as H.263, H.264/AVC, and H.265/HEVC, motion vectors are allowed to point to an area outside the picture boundaries for obtaining the prediction block and fractional sample interpolation may use sample locations outside picture boundaries. For obtaining samples outside picture boundaries as a part of the prediction process, the respective samples of the picture boundaries may be effectively copied. This is illustrated in Figure 5 a. In Figures 5 a and 5b the dotted rectangle illustrates a sample array of a reference picture, and squares with constant lines illustrate samples of the sample array. In the squares, the upper notation indicates the x -coordinate of the location of the sample in question and the lower notation indicates the y-coordinate of the location of the sample in question.

[0146] Figure 5a illustrates an example of handling of referring to samples outside picture boundaries in the inter prediction process in which the border samples are copied to the area outside the picture boundary.

[0147] The mechanism to support sample locations outside picture boundaries in the inter prediction process may be implemented in multiple ways. One way is to allocate a sample array that is larger than the decoded picture size, i.e. has margins on top of, below, on the right side, and on the left side of the image. In addition to or instead of using such margins, the location of a sample used for prediction (either as input to fractional sample interpolation for the prediction block or as a sample in the prediction block itself) may be saturated so that the location does not exceed the picture boundaries (with margins, if such are used). Some of the video coding standards describe the support of motion vectors over picture boundaries in such manner.

[0148] For example, the following equation is used in HEVC for deriving the locations (xAi, j, yAi, j ) inside the given array refPicLXL of luma samples (of a reference picture) for fractional sample interpolation for generating an (intermediate) prediction block:

where (xlntL, ylntL ) is a a luma location in full-sample units; i and j are relative positions within the interpolation filter window; picwidthinlumasamples is the picture width in luma samples; pic height in luma samples is the picture height in luma samples; and Clip3() is specified as follows:


[0149] It can be observed that if a sample location would have a negative coordinate (prior to the Clip3 operation), it is saturated to 0 with the Clip3 operation. Similarly, if a sample location would have a coordinate greater than width (for horizontal location) or height (for vertical location), it is saturated width - 1 or height - 1, respectively.

[0150] Similar equations exist also for saturating the chroma sample locations to be within the chroma sample array boundaries in the fractional sample interpolation for inter prediction of chroma components.

[0151] In 360-degree panoramic video the sample values from the opposite side of the picture can be used instead of using the boundary sample when a sample horizontally outside the picture boundary is needed in a prediction process. This is illustrated in Figure 5b which shows handling of motion vectors over picture boundaries in panoramic video coding, in accordance with an

embodiment.


[0152] Such handling of pixels outside picture boundaries can be handled by extending the reference picture to be larger (in width and/or height) compared to the coded picture. Alternative implementations as described below are also possible.

[0153] In the example of Figure 5b it can be seen that the horizontal sample location may be wrapped for referred samples in the inter prediction process. For example, the adjacent column to the left of the reference picture boundary (x=-l) may refer to sample values of the right-most column of the reference picture (x=w-l), the next column further to the left (x=-2) may refer to sample values of the second right-most column of the reference picture (x=w-2), etc. In other

words, instead of saturating negative horizontal locations to 0 and horizontal sample locations greater than width - 1 to width - 1 (i.e. the horizontal sample location of the right-most sample column of the picture), the referred horizontal sample locations outside picture boundaries may be wrapped, i.e., horizontal sample locations greater than width - 1 are wrapped so that they refer to sample columns on the left side of the picture. Vice versa, horizontal sample locations less than 0 are wrapped so that they refer to sample column on the right side of the picture.

[0154] The function Wrap() may thus be specified as follows:


[0155] When referring to the equations above for fractional luma sample interpolation in HEVC, the following equation may be used:

instead of the equation:


[0156] An effective picture area may be defined as the picture area or the set of samples or sample locations within a decoded picture that contains decoded samples useful for displaying. Areas outside the effective picture area might not be useful for displaying but may be present e.g. for making the picture width or height to match the block grid used in coding.

[0157] Frame packing may be inferior to multiview video coding in terms of compression performance (a.k.a. rate-distortion performance) due to, for example, the following reasons. In frame packing, inter-view sample prediction and inter-view motion prediction are not enabled between the views. Furthermore, in frame packing, motion vectors pointing outside the boundaries of the constituent frame (to another constituent frame) or causing sub-pixel interpolation using samples outside the boundaries of the constituent frame (within another constituent frame) may be sub-optimally handled. In conventional multiview video coding, the sample locations used in inter prediction and sub-pixel interpolation may be saturated to be within the picture boundaries or equivalently areas outside the picture boundary in the reconstructed pictures may be padded with border sample values.

[0158] Figure 6a illustrates the problem regarding sub-optimally handled motion vectors. In the example, the right-most block 604 of the second block row in constituent frame #1 601 of frame #N+1 has been moving from an area partly outside the area of constituent frame #1 in frame #N, which is illustrated with block 603 in Figure 6a. The arrow 605 illustrates an example of inter prediction that may be sub-optimal or, in case of bitstreams with parallel decoding capability, may not be allowed. In non-frame-packed coding, areas outside the picture boundaries may be handled in inter prediction by padding, as described above, which is equivalent to saturating the sample locations used in inter prediction or fractional sample interpolation to be within picture boundaries. In frame-packed video coding, such padding or sample location saturation is not available and hence the compression performance close to the boundaries between constituent frames may be worse than that in non-frame-packed multiview video coding.

[0159] Embodiments are described below for either extending the boundary of one or more constituent frames or for saturating the sample locations used in the inter prediction process within the boundaries of the constituent frame. Below phrases such as extending the boundary of a constituent frame or padding may refer to extrapolating the signal of the effective picture area of a constituent frame, e.g. by copying a boundary pixel, or by copying the signal of the effective picture area representing 360-degree panoramic content from the opposite side of the effective picture, as described in details further below.

[0160] Figure 6b shows an example of boundary extension, in accordance with an embodiment. In Figure 6b, the constituent frame #1 601 is extended by one block column 606 to the right, and, respectively, the constituent frame #2 602 is extended by one block column 607 to the left (e.g. CTU column in HEVC), although in a more generic case only a subset of constituent frames may have boundary extension. The samples within the boundary extension 606, 607 may for example contain the border sample value of the effective picture area of the respective constituent frame. The arrow 608 illustrates an example of inter prediction with motion vector over the effective picture area of the constituent frame #1 601.

[0161] Embodiments are presented below for some methods to encode and/or decode the boundary extension area.

[0162] An encoder may obtain one or more pictures for encoding (block 71 in the flow diagram of Figure 7a). In accordance with an embodiment, the encoder may decide (block 72) to arrange (block 73) the uncompressed pictures prior to encoding (block 74) to contain block row(s) and/or block column(s) intended for boundary extensions or include block row(s) and/or block column(s) for boundary extensions into coded pictures during encoding (block 75). In accordance with an embodiment, the boundary extension is formed in block 75 by intra prediction, intra-block-copy prediction, or inter prediction, as explained in details further below. In accordance with another embodiment, the boundary extension is formed in block 75 by reference frame padding, as explained in details further below.

[0163] Correspondingly, a decoder may receive one or more encoded pictures for decoding (block 81 in the flow diagram of Figure 7b). In accordance with an embodiment, the decoder decodes the pictures to obtain reconstructed frame(s) (block 82) and perform frame padding to fill in areas outside an effective picture area to produce a padded reference picture, if needed (block 83).

[0164] In an embodiment, a block column extending a constituent frame to the right (e.g. boundary extension 606 of constituent frame #1 601 in Figure 6b) is encoded with horizontal intra prediction. In an embodiment, an encoder may choose to encode the boundary extension without prediction error coding. In another embodiment, an encoder always encodes the boundary extension without prediction error coding.

[0165] In an embodiment, a block row extending a constituent frame to below (e.g. boundary extension of constituent frame #1 in the top-bottom frame packing arrangement) is encoded with vertical intra prediction. An encoder may choose to encode the boundary extension without prediction error coding. In another embodiment, an encoder always encodes the boundary extension without prediction error coding.

[0166] In an embodiment, an encoder indicates in the bitstream the prediction error coding blocks to be absent or to contain zero-valued prediction error. In an embodiment, an encoder infers that no prediction error is included for the boundary extension and omit coding any prediction error related syntax elements for the boundary extension into the bitstream. In an embodiment, a decoder concludes which blocks belong to a boundary extension and omits decoding of any prediction error related syntax elements for the boundary extension from the bitstream.

[0167] In an embodiment, which may be applied together with or independently of other embodiments, a first constituent frame representing a first view and a second constituent frame representing a second view of the same multiview (e.g. stereoscopic) content are frame-packed. Intra-block-copy prediction from the first constituent frame to the second constituent frame is enabled in encoding, but intra-block-copy prediction from the second constituent frame to the first constituent frame is disabled in encoding. Hence, inter-view prediction is essentially achieved by applying intra-block-copy prediction between constituent frames of different views. Compression efficiency is hence improved compared to coding of frame-packed multiview content without intra-block-copy prediction.

[0168] In an embodiment, it is indicated (e.g. by an encoder) that intra-block-copy prediction is applied only within a second constituent frame in a constrained manner as follows. For each block of the second constituent frame, here referred to as block being coded/decoded, the encoding is constrained as follows. In the following, let a collocated block be the block in the first constituent frame collocated with the block being coded/decoded, where collocation may be defined as a property of having the same relative horizontal and vertical coordinates relative to the top-left corner of the containing constituent frame, or of having the same coordinates summed up with a vertical and/or horizontal offset e.g. in units of coding tree units. The offset(s) may be indicated by an encoder in a bitstream and/or decoded from a bitstream by a decoder. No sample values of blocks succeeding, in a block scan order, the collocated block in the first constituent frame, is used for intra-block-copy prediction.

[0169] In an embodiment, the encoder is made aware of, e.g. through an application programming interface (API) or alike, of the maximum vertical and/or horizontal disparity between the constituent frames or the encoder analyzes the source content to discover the maximum vertical and/or horizontal disparity between the constituent frames or the encoder makes an assumption of the maximum vertical and/or horizontal disparity between the constituent frames. The encoder limits the search range of inter-block-copy prediction according to the maximum vertical and/or horizontal disparity. For example, the maximum vertical disparity may be assumed to be 0, and the search range is hence limited to be on the same row as the current block.

[0170] In an embodiment, which may be used together with or independently of the above embodiments describing the use of intra-block-copy prediction for achieving inter-view prediction of frame-packed multiview content, a block column extending a constituent frame to the right (e.g. boundary extension 606 of constituent frame #1 601 in Figure 6b) is encoded with intra-block-copy prediction from the left-most block column of the constituent frame. The encoder may determine to encode the boundary extension block column without prediction error coding. This mode of operation suits a constituent frame that is a 360-degree panorama (e.g. equirectangular panorama), because thanks to applying the boundary extension by intra-block-copy prediction, the signal remains continuous across the effective picture boundary. This embodiment may be used also in the case where there is a single constituent frame in the picture, i.e. with monoscopic panorama coding.

[0171] In an embodiment, a block column extending a constituent frame to the left (e.g. boundary extension 607 of constituent frame #2 602 in Figure 6b) is encoded with intra-block-copy prediction from another constituent frame in the picture. In an embodiment, a block row extending a constituent frame to above (e.g. boundary extension 607 of constituent frame # 2 602 in the top-bottom frame packing arrangement) is encoded with intra-block-copy prediction from another constituent frame in the picture. These two embodiments may be regarded as applying inter-view prediction to fill in boundary regions, which can be effective when the disparity or distance of the samples copied by IBC prediction into the boundary extension is stable and matches to that of the border samples of the effective picture area.

[0172] In an embodiment, a block in a boundary extension is inter predicted. This can be effective when the movement is such that the previous picture(s), in decoding order, contain suitable samples for the boundary extension, e.g. when the camera pans in a suitable manner or when the camera and the picture content have been stationary and hence the boundary extension of a previous picture can also serve as the boundary extension for the current picture.

[0173] In an embodiment, an encoder indicates, e.g. in a PPS, a SPS, a VPS, an SEI message or VUI, the effective picture area of a constituent frame. In an embodiment, the decoder decodes the indication of the effective picture area of a constituent frame. In an embodiment, the decoder crops the decoded pictures to exclude the areas outside the effective picture area as a part of the output cropping process applied to decoded pictures before they are output by the decoder. In an embodiment, the decoder outputs the decoded indication of the effective picture area of the constituent frame. In an embodiment, the decoder or the displaying process uses only the effective picture area of the constituent frame in the displaying process, excluding boundary extension(s) from the displaying process.

[0174] In an embodiment, a file generator or alike indicates the effective picture area of a constituent frame in a container file. In an embodiment, a file parser or alike decodes the indication of the effective picture area of a constituent frame from a container file. In an embodiment, the file parser or alike crops the decoded pictures to exclude the areas outside the effective picture area prior to displaying the decoded pictures. In an embodiment, the displaying process uses only the effective picture area of the constituent frame in the displaying process, excluding boundary extension(s) from the displaying process.

[0175] In another example embodiment, the boundary extension blocks are first encoded and reconstructed into an intermediate reference frame conventionally but might contain any sample values. Analogously, the boundary extension blocks are first conventionally decoded into an intermediate reference frame. The boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame is then modified. For example, the reconstructed sample value of the boundary sample of the effective picture area may be used to fill in samples in the same sample row within the boundary extension. If the constituent frame represents a 360-degree panorama picture, the reconstructed samples at the opposite side of the effective picture area may be used to fill in samples in the boundary extension. For example, the samples in the boundary extension can be_filled in by copying decoded samples from the opposite-side of the effective picture area on sample row basis: the first sample outside the effective picture area (in the boundary extension) is copied from the first sample inside the effective picture area in the opposite side, the second sample outside the effective picture area is copied from the second sample inside the effective picture area in the opposite side, and so on. The source region for said copying may be referred to as the boundary region. For example, when the boundary extension is on the right of the effective picture area, the left-most sample column of the boundary extension can be filled in by copying decoded samples from the left-most sample column of the effective picture area, the second sample column from the left within the boundary extension can be filled in by the copying decoded samples from the second sample column from the left within the effective picture area, and so on.

[0176] In an embodiment regarding in-loop reference frame padding, an encoder indicates, e.g. in a parameter set such as PPS or SPS, the effective picture area of a constituent frame. In an embodiment, the decoder decodes the indication and concludes the boundary extensions accordingly.

[0177] In an embodiment, an encoder indicates, e.g. on boundary extension or constituent frame basis e.g. in PPS or SPS, which method is used to fill in the boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame. In an embodiment, the decoder decodes the indication and uses the indicated method to fill in the boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame. In an embodiment, the decoder concludes the method to fill in the boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame, e.g. uses copying from the opposite side of the effective picture area when the constituent frame is indicated to be a 360-degree panorama picture, and uses boundary sample copying otherwise.

[0178] In an embodiment applicable when picture(s) to be encoded comprise at least a first constituent frame and a second constituent frame, the encoder selects or is configured to use tile partitioning such that a first tile set covers the first constituent frame and its boundary extension(s) entirely and includes no data from the second constituent frame, and a second tile set covers the second constituent frame and its boundary extension(s) entirely and includes no data from the first constituent frame.

[0179] In an embodiment, the encoder encodes the first tile set as a motion-constrained tile set and the second tile set as another motion-constrained tile set. The encoder may indicate that the encoding of the first and second tile sets have been performed in a motion-constrained manner e.g. with an SEI message, such as the temporal motion-constrained tile sets SEI message of

HEVC.


[0180] In an embodiment, a decoder, a player, or alike decodes an indication e.g. from an SEI message, such as the temporal motion-constrained tile sets SEI message of HEVC, that the encoding of the first and second tile sets have been performed in a motion-constrained manner. In an embodiment, the decoder, the player, or alike determines on the basis of the decoded indication to decode the first tile set with a first decoder instance (e.g. a first decoding process) and the second tile set with a second decoder instance (e.g. a second decoding process).

[0181] In an embodiment, the encoder encodes the first tile set as a motion-constrained tile set. In an embodiment, the encoder encodes the second tile set as a motion-constrained tile set except when referencing to the current picture in intra-block-copy prediction or alike (as described in another embodiment). In an embodiment, the encoder indicates in a bitstream, e.g. in an SEI message, that the motion-constrained tile sets have been used in encoding as described in this paragraph.

[0182] In an embodiment, a decoder, a player, or alike decodes an indication e.g. from an SEI message, such as the temporal motion-constrained tile sets SEI message of HEVC, that the encoding of the first and second tile sets have been performed in a motion-constrained manner except when referencing to the current picture in intra-block-copy prediction or alike (as described in another embodiment). In an embodiment, the decoder, the player, or alike determines on the basis of the decoded indication to decode the first tile set with a first decoder instance (e.g. a first decoding process) and the second tile set with a second decoder instance (e.g. a second decoding process). The first decoder instance is configured to decode the first tile set prior to the second decoder instance decoding the second tile set of the same picture. However, the first decoder instance may decode the first tile set of a succeeding picture (following a current picture) in decoding order, while the second decoder instance decodes the second tile set of the current picture.

[0183] In an example embodiment regarding saturation or wrap-over of sample locations on constituent frame boundary, the constituent frames may be packed "back-to-back", i.e. without boundary extension areas in between them. The process to obtain samples for inter prediction may be modified in a manner that sample locations outside a constituent frame area are not used.

[0184] An encoder indicates, e.g. in a parameter set such as PPS or SPS, the picture area of a constituent frame. In an embodiment, the decoder decodes the indication. In the following, it is assumed that the top-left corner of the constituent frame has luma sample coordinates leftCF, topCF and the bottom-right corner has luma sample coordinates rightCF, bottomCF.

[0185] In an embodiment, an encoder indicates, e.g. on constituent frame basis e.g. in PPS or SPS, whether sample locations outside constituent frame boundaries are saturated or wrapped over. In an embodiment, the decoder decodes the indication and uses the indicated method in inter prediction. In an embodiment, the decoder concludes the method, e.g. uses wrapping over when the constituent frame is indicated to be a 360-degree panorama picture, and uses saturation otherwise.

[0186] The encoder and/or decoder may use the following equation for wrapping over sample locations:


[0187] The encoder and/or decoder may use the following equation for saturating sample locations to be within the constituent frame boundaries:


[0188] Similar equations or processing may apply for vertical direction.

[0189] In the following, more details on in-loop reference frame padding in an encoder and a decoder will be provided, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0190] Figure 4 shows a block diagram of a video encoder suitable for employing embodiments of the invention. Figure 4 presents an encoder for two layers, but it would be appreciated that presented encoder could be similarly simplified to encode only one layer or extended to encode more than two layers. Figure 4 illustrates an embodiment of a video encoder comprising a first encoder section 500 for a base layer and a second encoder section 502 for an enhancement layer. Each of the first encoder section 500 and the second encoder section 502 may comprise similar elements for encoding incoming pictures. The encoder sections 500, 502 may comprise a pixel predictor 302, 402, prediction error encoder 303, 403 and prediction error decoder 304, 404. Figure 4 also shows an embodiment of the pixel predictor 302, 402 as comprising an inter-predictor 306, 406, an intra-predictor 308, 408, a mode selector 310, 410, a filter 316, 416, and a reference frame memory 318, 418. The pixel predictor 302 of the first encoder section 500 receives 300 base layer images of a video stream to be encoded at both the inter-predictor 306 (which determines the difference between the image and a motion compensated reference frame 318) and the intra-predictor 308 (which determines a prediction for an image block based only on the already processed parts of current frame or picture). The output of both the inter-predictor and the intra-predictor are passed to the mode selector 310. The intra-predictor 308 may have more than one intra-prediction modes. Hence, each mode may perform the intra-prediction and provide the predicted signal to the mode selector 310. The mode selector 310 also receives a copy of the base layer picture 300. Correspondingly, the pixel predictor 402 of the second encoder section 502 receives 400 enhancement layer images of a video stream to be encoded at both the inter-predictor 406 (which determines the difference between the image and a motion compensated reference frame 418) and the intra-predictor 408 (which determines a prediction for an image block based only on the already processed parts of current frame or picture). The output of both the inter-predictor and the intra-predictor are passed to the mode selector 410. The intra-predictor 408 may have more than one intra-prediction modes. Hence, each mode may perform the intra-prediction and provide the predicted signal to the mode selector 410. The mode selector 410 also receives a copy of the enhancement layer picture 400.

[0191] Depending on which encoding mode is selected to encode the current block, the output of the inter-predictor 306, 406 or the output of one of the optional intra-predictor modes or the output of a surface encoder within the mode selector is passed to the output of the mode selector 310, 410. The output of the mode selector is passed to a first summing device 321, 421. The first summing device may subtract the output of the pixel predictor 302, 402 from the base layer picture 300/enhancement layer picture 400 to produce a first prediction error signal 320, 420 which is input to the prediction error encoder 303, 403.

[0192] The pixel predictor 302, 402 further receives from a preliminary reconstructor 339, 439 the combination of the prediction representation of the image block 312, 412 and the output 338, 438 of the prediction error decoder 304, 404. The preliminary reconstructed image 314, 414 may be passed to the intra-predictor 308, 408 and to a reference frame padding unit 315,415. The reference frame padding unit 315, 415 may fill in areas outside an effective picture area according to one or more different embodiments to produce a padded reference image. The padded reference image may be passed to a filter 316, 416. The filter 316, 416 receiving the padded reference image may filter the padded reference image and output a final reconstructed image 340, 440 which may be saved in a reference frame memory 318, 418. The reference frame memory 318 may be connected to the inter-predictor 306 to be used as the reference image against which a future base layer picture 300 is compared in inter-prediction operations. Subject to the base layer being selected and indicated to be source for inter-layer sample prediction and/or inter-layer motion information prediction of the enhancement layer according to some embodiments, the reference frame memory 318 may also be connected to the inter-predictor 406 to be used as the reference image against which a future enhancement layer pictures 400 is compared in inter-prediction operations. Moreover, the reference frame memory 418 may be connected to the inter-predictor 406 to be used as the reference image against which a future enhancement layer picture 400 is compared in inter-prediction operations.

[0193] It needs to be understood that the reference frame padding unit 315, 415 may operate on different units, which may be pre-determined e.g. in a coding standard or may be indicated by an encoder in the bitstream. In an embodiment, the reference frame padding unit 315,415 takes an entire preliminary reconstructed image 314, 414 as input. In another embodiment, the reference frame padding unit 315, 415 takes a preliminary reconstructed constituent frame as input, and hence may be invoked more than once per each preliminary reconstructed image (depending on the number of constituent frames it encloses). When invoking the reference frame padding unit 315, 415 with a preliminary reconstructed constituent frame as input, the extended boundary of the constituent frame may be advantageous when using intra-block-copy prediction from the constituent frame to another constituent frame of the same picture. In yet another embodiment, the reference frame padding unit 315, 415 takes a preliminary reconstructed block, a boundary sample row of a preliminary reconstructed block (when extending the boundary vertically), or a boundary sample column of a preliminary reconstructed block (when extending the boundary horizontally) as input. This embodiment may be advantageous e.g. when using intra-block-copy prediction from the constituent frame to another constituent frame of the same picture.

[0194] It needs to be understood that in different embodiments the pixel predictor could be arranged to perform a sequence of filtering and padding in different ways. For example, the pixel predictor may perform reference frame padding and filtering in an opposite order, i.e. filtering prior to reference frame padding. As another example, the pixel predictor may perform filtering in two stages, such as sample adaptive offset filtering and deblocking filtering, wherein a first stage takes place prior to reference frame padding and a second stage takes place after reference frame padding. It should be noted that these are non-limiting examples and the pixel predictor may perform the filtering in another way.

[0195] Filtering parameters from the filter 316 of the first encoder section 500 may be provided to the second encoder section 502 subject to the base layer being selected and indicated to be source for predicting the filtering parameters of the enhancement layer according to some embodiments.

[0196] The prediction error encoder 303, 403 comprises a transform unit 342, 442 and a quantizer 344, 444. The transform unit 342, 442 transforms the first prediction error signal 320, 420 to a transform domain. The transform is, for example, the DCT transform. The quantizer 344, 444 quantizes the transform domain signal, e.g. the DCT coefficients, to form quantized coefficients.

[0197] The prediction error decoder 304, 404 receives the output from the prediction error encoder 303, 403 and performs the opposite processes of the prediction error encoder 303, 403 to produce a decoded prediction error signal 338, 438 which, when combined with the prediction representation of the image block 312, 412 at the second summing device 339, 439, produces the preliminary reconstructed image 314, 414. The prediction error decoder may be considered to comprise a dequantizer 361, 461, which dequantizes the quantized coefficient values, e.g. DCT coefficients, to reconstruct the transform signal and an inverse transformation unit 363, 463, which performs the inverse transformation to the reconstructed transform signal wherein the output of the inverse transformation unit 363, 463 contains reconstructed block(s). The prediction error decoder may also comprise a block filter which may filter the reconstructed block(s) according to further decoded information and filter parameters.

[0198] The entropy encoder 330, 430 receives the output of the prediction error encoder 303, 403 and may perform a suitable entropy encoding/variable length encoding on the signal to provide error detection and correction capability. The outputs of the entropy encoders 330, 430 may be inserted into a bitstream e.g. by a multiplexer 508.

[0199] Figure 8 shows a block diagram of a video decoder suitable for employing embodiments of the invention. Figure 8 depicts a structure of a two-layer decoder, but it would be appreciated that the decoding operations may similarly be employed in a single-layer decoder.

[0200] The video decoder 550 comprises a first decoder section 552 for base view components and a second decoder section 554 for non-base view components. Block 556 illustrates a demultiplexer for delivering information regarding base view components to the first decoder section 552 and for delivering information regarding non-base view components to the second decoder section 554. Reference P'n stands for a predicted representation of an image block. Reference D'n stands for a reconstructed prediction error signal. Blocks 704, 804 illustrate preliminary reconstructed images (Fn). Reference R'n stands for a final reconstructed image. Blocks 703, 803 illustrate inverse transform (T" 1). Blocks 702, 802 illustrate inverse quantization (Q" 1). Blocks 700, 800 illustrate entropy decoding (E" 1). Blocks 706, 806 illustrate a reference frame memory (RFM). Blocks 707, 807 illustrate prediction (P) (either inter prediction or intra prediction). Blocks 708, 808 illustrate filtering (F). Blocks 709, 809 may be used to combine decoded prediction error information with predicted base view/non-base view components to obtain the preliminary reconstructed images (Fn). Preliminary reconstructed and filtered base view images may be output 710 from the first decoder section 552 and preliminary reconstructed and filtered base view images may be output 810 from the second decoder section 554.
[0201 ] Herein, the decoder should be interpreted to cover any operational unit capable to carry out the decoding operations, such as a player, a receiver, a gateway, a demultiplexer and/or a decoder.

[0202] The entropy decoder 700, 800 perform entropy decoding on the received signal. The entropy decoder 700, 800 thus performs the inverse operation to the entropy encoder of the encoder 330, 430 described above. The entropy decoder 700, 800 outputs the results of the entropy decoding to the prediction error decoder 701, 801 and pixel predictor 704, 804.

[0203] The pixel predictor 704, 804 receives the output of the entropy decoder 700, 800. The output of the entropy decoder 700, 800 may include an indication on the prediction mode used in encoding the current block. A predictor 707, 807 may perform intra or inter prediction as determined by the indication and output a predicted representation of an image block to a first combiner 709, 809. The predicted representation of the image block is used in conjunction with the reconstructed prediction error signal to generate a preliminary reconstructed image. The preliminary reconstructed image may be used in the predictor or may be passed to a reference frame padding unit 711, 811. The reference frame padding unit 711, 811 may fill in areas outside an effective picture area according to different embodiments to produce a padded reference image. The padded reference image may be passed to a filter 708, 808. The filter 708, 808 may apply a filtering which outputs a final reconstructed signal. The final reconstructed signal may be stored in a reference frame memory 706, 806. The reference frame memory 706, 806 may further be connected to the predictor 707, 807 for prediction operations.

[0204] It needs to be understood that the reference frame padding unit 711,811 may operate on different units, which may be pre-determined e.g. in a coding standard or may be decoded by a decoder from the bitstream. In an embodiment, the reference frame padding unit 711,811 takes an entire preliminary reconstructed image as input. In another embodiment, the reference frame padding unit 711, 811 takes a preliminary reconstructed constituent frame as input, and hence may be invoked more than once per each preliminary reconstructed image (depending on the number of constituent frames it encloses). In yet another embodiment, the reference frame padding unit 711, 811 takes a preliminary reconstructed block, a boundary sample row of a preliminary reconstructed block (when extending the boundary vertically), or a boundary sample column of a preliminary reconstructed block (when extending the boundary horizontally) as input.

[0205] It needs to be understood that in different embodiments the pixel predictor 704, 804 could be arranged to perform a sequence of filtering and padding in different ways. For example, the pixel predictor 704, 804 may perform reference frame padding and filtering in an opposite order, i.e. filtering prior to reference frame padding. As another example, the pixel predictor 704, 804 may perform filtering in two stages, such as sample adaptive offset filtering and deblocking filtering, wherein a first stage takes place prior to reference frame padding and a second stage takes place after reference frame padding. It should be noted that these are non-limiting examples and the pixel predictor 704, 804 may perform the filtering in another way.

[0206] The final reconstructed signal may also be passed to an output cropper 712, 812, which may perform either or both of (but is not limited to) the following. The output cropper 712, 812 may crop of the final reconstructed image according to an indicated effective picture area, or cropping window, or alike. The output cropper 712, 812 may set sample values outside the effective picture area (in the boundary extension) e.g. to a pre-defined value e.g. representing a black color.

[0207] The output cropper 712, 812 may give an output image as output. The output cropper 712, 812 may also indicate the effective picture area(s) along with the output image.

[0208] The prediction error decoder 701, 801 receives the output of the entropy decoder 700, 800. A dequantizer 702, 802 of the prediction error decoder may dequantize the output of the entropy decoder and the inverse transform block 703, 803 may perform an inverse transform operation to the dequantized signal output by the dequantizer 702, 802. The prediction error decoder 701, 801 may alternatively or additionally comprise a transform-bypass decoder, wherein sample values are decoded without involving an inverse transform operation, but rather e.g. with differential sample value decoding. The output of the entropy decoder 700, 800 may also indicate that prediction error signal is not to be applied and in this case the prediction error decoder 701, 801 may produce an all zero output signal.

[0209] In the following, some examples of possible modifications to the filter in the encoder will be provided.

[0210] When determining the filter parameter values, the encoder may include samples inside the effective picture area for consideration and exclude samples outside the effective picture area from consideration. For example, SAO parameter values may be derived by considering only the sample values inside the effective picture area.

[0211] For handling of block in the boundary extension area, the encoder may perform one or more of the following. The encoder may omit the coding of blocks that are outside the effective picture area. Here, blocks may be e.g. coding tree units and/or coding units. The intra prediction and filtering using samples of the blocks outside the effective picture area may be disabled. The encoder may determine block partitioning on the basis of the effective picture area. It can be determined that blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area are not partitioned. The encoder may select a mode on the basis of the effective picture area. It can be determined that blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area are coded with a particular mode, which may be pre-determined on the basis that it provides a small bitrate. For example, the encoder may select the most probable intra mode (as determined by the entropy encoder). The encoder may also omit prediction error coding of blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area. The encoder may indicate that no prediction error is present in the bitstream for a block that is fully outside the effective picture area.

[0212] Correspondingly, the decoder may perform one or more of the following. The decoder may omit the decoding of blocks that are outside the effective picture area. Here, blocks may be e.g. coding tree units and/or coding units. In some cases, no syntax elements are present in the bitstream for the blocks that are outside the effective picture area and the decoder keeps track which block location the next coded data corresponds to. In some cases, the blocks that are outside the effective picture area use the same syntax as blocks fully or partly inside the effective picture area, and the decoder may entropy-decode the blocks but omit the prediction error decoding and pixel prediction for the blocks. The decoder may disable intra prediction and filtering using samples of the blocks outside the effective picture area. The decoder may determine block partitioning on the basis of the effective picture area. It can be determined that blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area are not partitioned. In some cases, no syntax elements are present in the bitstream for block partitioning of blocks fully outside the effective picture area. The decoder may select of a mode on the basis of the effective picture area. It can be determined that blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area are decoded with a particular mode, which may be pre-determined e.g. in a coding standard. For example, the decoder may select the most probable intra mode (as determined by the entropy decoder). The decoder may omit prediction error decoding of blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area. In some cases, no syntax elements are present in the bitstream for prediction error blocks that are fully outside the effective picture area.

[0213] The motion vector prediction of H.265/HEVC is described below as an example of a system or method where embodiments may be applied.

[0214] H.265/HEVC includes two motion vector prediction schemes, namely the advanced motion vector prediction (AMVP) and the merge mode. In the AMVP or the merge mode, a list of motion vector candidates is derived for a PU. There are two kinds of candidates: spatial candidates and temporal candidates, where temporal candidates may also be referred to as TMVP candidates. The sources of the candidate motion vector predictors are presented in Figures. 6c and 6d. X stands for the current prediction unit. A o, Ai, Bo, Bi, B 2 in Figure 6c are spatial candidates while Co, Ci in Figure 6d are temporal candidates. The block comprising or corresponding to the candidate Co or Ci in Figure 6d, whichever is the source for the temporal candidate, may be referred to as the collocated block.

[0215] A candidate list derivation may be performed for example as follows, while it should be understood that other possibilities may exist for candidate list derivation. If the occupancy of the candidate list is not at maximum, the spatial candidates are included in the candidate list first if they are available and not already exist in the candidate list. After that, if occupancy of the candidate list is not yet at maximum, a temporal candidate is included in the candidate list. If the number of candidates still does not reach the maximum allowed number, the combined bi-predictive candidates (for B slices) and a zero motion vector are added in. After the candidate list has been constructed, the encoder decides the final motion information from candidates for example based on a rate-distortion optimization (RDO) decision and encodes the index of the selected candidate into the bitstream. Likewise, the decoder decodes the index of the selected candidate from the bitstream, constructs the candidate list, and uses the decoded index to select a motion vector predictor from the candidate list.

[0216] In H.265/HEVC, AMVP and the merge mode may be characterized as follows. In AMVP, the encoder indicates whether uni-prediction or bi-prediction is used and which reference pictures are used as well as encodes a motion vector difference. In the merge mode, only the chosen candidate from the candidate list is encoded into the bitstream indicating the current prediction unit has the same motion information as that of the indicated predictor. Thus, the merge mode creates regions composed of neighbouring prediction blocks sharing identical motion information, which is only signalled once for each region. Another difference between AMVP and the merge mode in H.265/HEVC is that the maximum number of candidates of AMVP is 2 while that of the merge mode is 5.

[0217] The advanced motion vector prediction may operate for example as follows, while other similar realizations of advanced motion vector prediction are also possible for example with different candidate position sets and candidate locations with candidate position sets. Two spatial motion vector predictors (MVPs) may be derived and a temporal motion vector predictor (TMVP) may be derived. They may be selected among the positions: three spatial motion vector predictor candidate positions located above the current prediction block (BO, Bl, B2) and two on the left (AO, Al). The first motion vector predictor that is available (e.g. resides in the same slice, is inter-coded, etc.) in a pre-defined order of each candidate position set, (BO, Bl, B2) or (AO, Al), may be selected to represent that prediction direction (up or left) in the motion vector competition. A reference index for the temporal motion vector predictor may be indicated by the encoder in the slice header (e.g. as a collocated ref idx syntax element). The first motion vector predictor that is available (e.g. is inter-coded) in a pre-defined order of potential temporal candidate locations, e.g. in the order (Co, C i), may be selected as a source for a temporal motion vector predictor. The motion vector obtained from the first available candidate location in the co-located picture may be scaled according to the proportions of the picture order count differences of the reference picture of the temporal motion vector predictor, the co-located picture, and the current picture. Moreover, a redundancy check may be performed among the candidates to remove identical candidates, which can lead to the inclusion of a zero motion vector in the candidate list. The motion vector predictor may be indicated in the bitstream for example by indicating the direction of the spatial motion vector predictor (up or left) or the selection of the temporal motion vector predictor candidate. The co-located picture may also be referred to as the collocated picture, the source for motion vector prediction, or the source picture for motion vector prediction.

[0218] The merging/merge mode/process/mechanism may operate for example as follows, while other similar realizations of the merge mode are also possible for example with different candidate position sets and candidate locations with candidate position sets.

[0219] In the merging/merge mode/process/mechanism, where all the motion information of a block/PU is predicted and used without any modification/correction. The aforementioned motion information for a PU may comprise one or more of the following: 1) The information whether 'the PU is uni-predicted using only reference picture listO' or 'the PU is uni-predicted using only reference picture listl' or 'the PU is bi-predicted using both reference picture listO and listl'; 2) Motion vector value corresponding to the reference picture listO, which may comprise a horizontal and vertical motion vector component; 3) Reference picture index in the reference picture listO and/or an identifier of a reference picture pointed to by the Motion vector corresponding to reference picture list 0, where the identifier of a reference picture may be for example a picture order count value, a layer identifier value (for inter-layer prediction), or a pair of a picture order count value and a layer identifier value; 4) Information of the reference picture marking of the reference picture, e.g. information whether the reference picture was marked as "used for short-term reference" or "used for long-term reference"; 5) - 7) The same as 2) - 4), respectively, but for reference picture listl.

[0220] Similarly, predicting the motion information is carried out using the motion information of adjacent blocks and/or co-located blocks in temporal reference pictures. A list, often called as a merge list, may be constructed by including motion prediction candidates associated with available adjacent/co-located blocks and the index of selected motion prediction candidate in the list is signalled and the motion information of the selected candidate is copied to the motion information of the current PU. When the merge mechanism is employed for a whole CU and the prediction signal for the CU is used as the reconstruction signal, i.e. prediction residual is not processed, this type of coding/decoding the CU is typically named as skip mode or merge based skip mode. In addition to the skip mode, the merge mechanism may also be employed for individual PUs (not necessarily the whole CU as in skip mode) and in this case, prediction residual may be utilized to improve prediction quality. This type of prediction mode is typically named as an inter-merge mode.
[0221 ] One of the candidates in the merge list and/or the candidate list for AMVP or any similar motion vector candidate list may be a TMVP candidate or alike, which may be derived from the collocated block within an indicated or inferred reference picture, such as the reference picture indicated for example in the slice header. In HEVC, the reference picture list to be used for obtaining a collocated partition is chosen according to the collocated from lO flag syntax element in the slice header. When the flag is equal to 1, it specifies that the picture that contains the collocated partition is derived from list 0, otherwise the picture is derived from list 1. When collocatedfromlOflag is not present, it is inferred to be equal to 1. The collocatedrefidx in the slice header specifies the reference index of the picture that contains the collocated partition. When the current slice is a P slice, collocated ref idx refers to a picture in list 0. When the current slice is a B slice, collocated ref idx refers to a picture in list 0 if collocatedfromlO is 1, otherwise it refers to a picture in list 1. collocated ref idx always refers to a valid list entry, and the resulting picture is the same for all slices of a coded picture. When collocated ref idx is not present, it is inferred to be equal to 0.

[0222] In HEVC the so-called target reference index for temporal motion vector prediction in the merge list is set as 0 when the motion coding mode is the merge mode. When the motion coding mode in HEVC utilizing the temporal motion vector prediction is the advanced motion vector prediction mode, the target reference index values are explicitly indicated (e.g. per each

PU).

[0223] In HEVC, the availability of a candidate predicted motion vector (PMV) may be determined as follows (both for spatial and temporal candidates) (SRTP = short-term reference picture, LRTP = long-term reference picture):


[0224] In HEVC, when the target reference index value has been determined, the motion vector value of the temporal motion vector prediction may be derived as follows: The motion vector PMV at the block that is collocated with the bottom-right neighbor (location CO in Figure 6d) of the current prediction unit is obtained. The picture where the collocated block resides may be e.g. determined according to the signalled reference index in the slice header as described above. If the PMV at location CO is not available, the motion vector PMV at location CI (see Figure 6d) of the collocated picture is obtained. The determined available motion vector PMV at the co-located block is scaled with respect to the ratio of a first picture order count difference and a second picture order count difference. The first picture order count difference is derived between the picture containing the co-located block and the reference picture of the motion vector of the co-located block. The second picture order count difference is derived between the current picture and the target reference picture. If one but not both of the target reference picture and the reference picture of the motion vector of the collocated block is a long-term reference picture (while the other is a short-term reference picture), the TMVP candidate may be considered unavailable. If both of the target reference picture and the reference picture of the motion vector of the collocated block are long-term reference pictures, no POC-based motion vector scaling may be applied.

[0225] Motion parameter types or motion information may include but are not limited to one or more of the following types: - an indication of a prediction type (e.g. intra prediction, uni-prediction, bi-prediction) and/or a number of reference pictures; - an indication of a prediction direction, such as inter (a.k.a. temporal) prediction, inter-layer prediction, inter-view prediction, view synthesis prediction (VSP), and inter-component prediction (which may be indicated per reference picture and/or per prediction type and where in some embodiments inter-view and view-synthesis prediction may be jointly

considered as one prediction direction) and/or


- an indication of a reference picture type, such as a short-term reference picture and/or a long-term reference picture and/or an inter-layer reference picture (which may be indicated e.g.

per reference picture)


- a reference index to a reference picture list and/or any other identifier of a reference picture (which may be indicated e.g. per reference picture and the type of which may depend on the prediction direction and/or the reference picture type and which may be accompanied by other relevant pieces of information, such as the reference picture list or alike to which

reference index applies);

- a horizontal motion vector component (which may be indicated e.g. per prediction block or per reference index or alike); - a vertical motion vector component (which may be indicated e.g. per prediction block or per reference index or alike); - one or more parameters, such as picture order count difference and/or a relative camera separation between the picture containing or associated with the motion parameters and its reference picture, which may be used for scaling of the horizontal motion vector component and/or the vertical motion vector component in one or more motion vector prediction processes (where said one or more parameters may be indicated e.g. per each reference picture or each reference index or alike); - coordinates of a block to which the motion parameters and/or motion information applies, e.g. coordinates of the top-left sample of the block in luma sample units; - extents (e.g. a width and a height) of a block to which the motion parameters and/or motion information applies.

[0226] In general, motion vector prediction mechanisms, such as those motion vector prediction mechanisms presented above as examples, may include prediction or inheritance of certain pre-defined or indicated motion parameters.

[0227] A motion field associated with a picture may be considered to comprise of a set of motion information produced for every coded block of the picture. A motion field may be accessible by coordinates of a block, for example. A motion field may be used for example in TMVP or any other motion prediction mechanism where a source or a reference for prediction other than the current (de)coded picture is used.

[0228] Different spatial granularity or units may be applied to represent and/or store a motion field. For example, a regular grid of spatial units may be used. For example, a picture may be

divided into rectangular blocks of certain size (with the possible exception of blocks at the edges of the picture, such as on the right edge and the bottom edge). For example, the size of the spatial unit may be equal to the smallest size for which a distinct motion can be indicated by the encoder in the bitstream, such as a 4x4 block in luma sample units. For example, a so-called compressed motion field may be used, where the spatial unit may be equal to a pre-defined or indicated size, such as a 16x16 block in luma sample units, which size may be greater than the smallest size for indicating distinct motion. For example, an FIEVC encoder and/or decoder may be implemented in a manner that a motion data storage reduction (MDSR) or motion field compression is performed for each decoded motion field (prior to using the motion field for any prediction

between pictures). In an HEVC implementation, MDSR may reduce the granularity of motion data to 16x16 blocks in luma sample units by keeping the motion applicable to the top-left sample of the 16x16 block in the compressed motion field. The encoder may encode indication(s) related to the spatial unit of the compressed motion field as one or more syntax elements and/or syntax element values for example in a sequence-level syntax structure, such as a video parameter set or a sequence parameter set. In some (de)coding methods and/or devices, a motion field may be represented and/or stored according to the block partitioning of the motion prediction (e.g. according to prediction units of the HEVC standard). In some (de)coding methods and/or devices, a combination of a regular grid and block partitioning may be applied so that motion associated with partitions greater than a pre-defined or indicated spatial unit size is represented and/or stored associated with those partitions, whereas motion associated with partitions smaller than or unaligned with a pre-defined or indicated spatial unit size or grid is represented and/or stored for the pre-defined or indicated units.

[0229] The scalable video coding extension (SHVC)of HEVC provides a mechanism for offering spatial, bit-depth, color gamut, and quality scalability while exploiting the inter-layer redundancy. The multiview extension (MV-HEVC) of HEVC enables coding of multiview video data suitable e.g. for stereoscopic displays. For MV-HEVC, the input multiview video sequences for encoding are typically captured by a number of cameras arranged in a row. The camera projection centers are typically collinear and equally distant from each neighbor and cameras typically point to the same direction. SHVC and MV-HEVC share the same high-level syntax and most parts of their decoding process are also identical, which makes it appealing to support both SHVC and MV-HEVC with the same codec implementation.

[0230] SHVC and MV-HEVC enable two types of inter-layer prediction, namely sample and motion prediction. In the inter-layer sample prediction, the inter-layer reference (ILR) picture is used to obtain the sample values of a prediction block. In MV-HEVC, the decoded base-layer picture acts, without modifications, as an ILR picture. In spatial and color gamut scalability of SHVC, inter-layer processing, such as resampling, is applied to the decoded base-layer picture to obtain an ILR picture. In the resampling process of SHVC, the base-layer picture may be cropped, upsampled and/or padded to obtain an ILR picture. The relative position of the upsampled base-layer picture to the enhancement layer picture is indicated through so-called reference layer location offsets. This feature enables region-of-interest (ROI) scalability, in which only subset of the picture area of the base layer is enhanced in an enhancement layer picture.
[0231 ] Inter-layer motion prediction exploits the temporal motion vector prediction (TMVP) mechanism of HEVC. The ILR picture is assigned as the collocated picture for TMVP, and hence is the source of TMVP candidates in the motion vector prediction process. In spatial scalability of SHVC, motion field mapping (MFM) is used to obtain the motion information for the ILR picture from that of the base-layer picture. In MFM, the prediction dependency in base-layer pictures may be considered to be duplicated to generate the reference picture list(s) for ILR pictures. For each block of a remapped motion field with a particular block grid (e.g. a 16x16 grid in HEVC), a collocated sample location in the source picture for inter-layer prediction may be derived. The reference sample location may for example be derived for the center-most sample of the block. In derivation of the reference sample location, the resampling ratio, the reference region, and the resampled reference region can be taken into account - see further below for the definition of the resampling ratio, the reference region, and the resampled reference region. Moreover, the reference sample location may be rounded or truncated to be aligned with the block grid of the motion field of the reference region or the source picture for inter-layer prediction. The motion vector corresponding to the reference sample location is obtained from the motion field of the reference region or the source picture for inter-layer prediction. This motion vector is re-scaled according to the resampling ratio and then included in the remapped motion field. The remapped motion field can be subsequently used as a source for TMVP or alike. In contrast, MFM is not applied in MV-HEVC for base-view pictures to be referenced during the inter-layer motion prediction process.

[0232] The spatial correspondence of a reference-layer picture and an enhancement-layer picture may be inferred or may be indicated with one or more types of so-called reference layer location offsets. In HEVC, reference layer location offsets may be included in the PPS by the encoder and decoded from the PPS by the decoder. Reference layer location offsets may be used for but are not limited to achieving region-of-interest (ROI) scalability. Reference layer location offsets may comprise one or more of scaled reference layer offsets, reference region offsets, and resampling phase sets. Scaled reference layer offsets may be considered to specify the horizontal and vertical offsets between the sample in the current picture that is collocated with the top-left luma sample of the reference region in a decoded picture in a reference layer and the horizontal and vertical offsets between the sample in the current picture that is collocated with the bottom-right luma sample of the reference region in a decoded picture in a reference layer. Another way is to consider scaled reference layer offsets to specify the positions of the comer samples of the upsampled reference region (or more generally, the resampled reference region) relative to the respective corner samples of the enhancement layer picture. The scaled reference layer offsets can be considered to specify the spatial correspondence of the current layer picture (for which the reference layer location offsets are indicated) relative to the scaled reference region of the scaled reference layer picture. The scaled reference layer offset values may be signed. When scaled reference layer offsets are negative, the picture for which the reference layer location offsets are indicated corresponds to a cropped area of the reference layer picture. Reference region offsets may be considered to specify the horizontal and vertical offsets between the top-left luma sample of the reference region in the decoded picture in a reference layer and the top-left luma sample of the same decoded picture as well as the horizontal and vertical offsets between the bottom-right luma sample of the reference region in the decoded picture in a reference layer and the bottom-right luma sample of the same decoded picture. The reference region offsets can be considered to specify the spatial correspondence of the reference region in the reference layer picture relative to the decoded reference layer picture. The reference region offset values may be signed. When reference region offsets are negative, the reference layer picture corresponds to a cropped area of the picture for which the reference layer location offsets are indicated. A resampling phase set may be considered to specify the phase offsets used in resampling process of a source picture for inter-layer prediction. Different phase offsets may be provided for luma and chroma components.

[0233] Some scalable video coding schemes may require IRAP pictures to be aligned across layers in a manner that either all pictures in an access unit are IRAP pictures or no picture in an access unit is an IRAP picture. Other scalable video coding schemes, such as the multi-layer extensions of HEVC, may allow IRAP pictures that are not aligned, i.e. that one or more pictures in an access unit are IRAP pictures, while one or more other pictures in an access unit are not IRAP pictures. Scalable bitstreams with IRAP pictures or similar that are not aligned across layers may be used for example for providing more frequent IRAP pictures in the base layer, where they may have a smaller coded size due to e.g. a smaller spatial resolution. A process or mechanism for layer-wise start-up of the decoding may be included in a video decoding scheme. Decoders may hence start decoding of a bitstream when a base layer contains an IRAP picture and step-wise start decoding other layers when they contain IRAP pictures. In other words, in a layer-wise start-up of the decoding mechanism or process, decoders progressively increase the number of decoded layers (where layers may represent an enhancement in spatial resolution, quality level, views, additional components such as depth, or a combination) as subsequent pictures from additional enhancement layers are decoded in the decoding process. The progressive increase of the number of decoded layers may be perceived for example as a progressive improvement of picture quality (in case of quality and spatial scalability).

[0234] A layer-wise start-up mechanism may generate unavailable pictures for the reference pictures of the first picture in decoding order in a particular enhancement layer. Alternatively, a decoder may omit the decoding of pictures preceding, in decoding order, the IRAP picture from which the decoding of a layer can be started. These pictures that may be omitted may be specifically labeled by the encoder or another entity within the bitstream. For example, one or more specific NAL unit types may be used for them. These pictures, regardless of whether they are specifically marked with a NAL unit type or inferred e.g. by the decoder, may be referred to as cross-layer random access skip (CL-RAS) pictures. The decoder may omit the output of the generated unavailable pictures and the decoded CL-RAS pictures.

[0235] Scalability may be enabled in two basic ways. Either by introducing new coding modes for performing prediction of pixel values or syntax from lower layers of the scalable representation or by placing the lower layer pictures to a reference picture buffer (e.g. a decoded picture buffer, DPB) of the higher layer. The first approach may be more flexible and thus may provide better coding efficiency in most cases. However, the second, reference frame based scalability, approach may be implemented efficiently with minimal changes to single layer codecs while still achieving majority of the coding efficiency gains available. Essentially a reference frame based scalability codec may be implemented by utilizing the same hardware or software implementation for all the layers, just taking care of the DPB management by external means.

[0236] A scalable video encoder for quality scalability (also known as Signal-to-Noise or SNR) and/or spatial scalability may be implemented as follows. For a base layer, a conventional non-scalable video encoder and decoder may be used. The reconstructed/decoded pictures of the base layer are included in the reference picture buffer and/or reference picture lists for an enhancement layer. In case of spatial scalability, the reconstructed/decoded base-layer picture may be upsampled prior to its insertion into the reference picture lists for an enhancement-layer picture. The base layer decoded pictures may be inserted into a reference picture list(s) for coding/decoding of an enhancement layer picture similarly to the decoded reference pictures of the enhancement layer. Consequently, the encoder may choose a base-layer reference picture as an inter prediction reference and indicate its use with a reference picture index in the coded bitstream. The decoder decodes from the bitstream, for example from a reference picture index, that a base-layer picture is used as an inter prediction reference for the enhancement layer. When a decoded base-layer picture is used as the prediction reference for an enhancement layer, it is referred to as an inter-layer reference picture.

[0237] While the previous paragraph described a scalable video codec with two scalability layers with an enhancement layer and a base layer, it needs to be understood that the description can be generalized to any two layers in a scalability hierarchy with more than two layers. In this case, a second enhancement layer may depend on a first enhancement layer in encoding and/or decoding processes, and the first enhancement layer may therefore be regarded as the base layer for the encoding and/or decoding of the second enhancement layer. Furthermore, it needs to be understood that there may be inter-layer reference pictures from more than one layer in a reference picture buffer or reference picture lists of an enhancement layer, and each of these inter-layer reference pictures may be considered to reside in a base layer or a reference layer for the enhancement layer being encoded and/or decoded. Furthermore, it needs to be understood that other types of inter-layer processing than reference-layer picture upsampling may take place instead or additionally. For example, the bit-depth of the samples of the reference-layer picture may be converted to the bit-depth of the enhancement layer and/or the sample values may undergo a mapping from the color space of the reference layer to the color space of the enhancement layer.

[0238] A scalable video coding and/or decoding scheme may use multi-loop coding and/or decoding, which may be characterized as follows. In the encoding/decoding, a base layer picture may be reconstructed/decoded to be used as a motion-compensation reference picture for subsequent pictures, in coding/decoding order, within the same layer or as a reference for inter-layer (or inter-view or inter-component) prediction. The reconstructed/decoded base layer picture may be stored in the DPB. An enhancement layer picture may likewise be reconstructed/decoded to be used as a motion-compensation reference picture for subsequent pictures, in coding/decoding order, within the same layer or as reference for inter-layer (or inter-view or inter-component) prediction for higher enhancement layers, if any. In addition to reconstructed/decoded sample values, syntax element values of the base/reference layer or variables derived from the syntax element values of the base/reference layer may be used in the inter-layer/inter-component/inter-view prediction.

[0239] Inter-layer prediction may be defined as prediction in a manner that is dependent on data elements (e.g., sample values or motion vectors) of reference pictures from a different layer than the layer of the current picture (being encoded or decoded). Many types of inter-layer prediction exist and may be applied in a scalable video encoder/decoder. The available types of inter-layer prediction may for example depend on the coding profile according to which the bitstream or a particular layer within the bitstream is being encoded or, when decoding, the coding profile that the bitstream or a particular layer within the bitstream is indicated to conform to. Alternatively or additionally, the available types of inter-layer prediction may depend on the types of scalability or the type of an scalable codec or video coding standard amendment (e.g. SHVC, MV-HEVC, or 3D-HEVC) being used.

[0240] The types of inter-layer prediction may comprise, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: inter-layer sample prediction, inter-layer motion prediction, inter-layer residual prediction. In inter-layer sample prediction, at least a subset of the reconstructed sample values of a source picture for inter-layer prediction are used as a reference for predicting sample values of the current picture. In inter-layer motion prediction, at least a subset of the motion vectors of a source picture for inter-layer prediction are used as a reference for predicting motion vectors of the current picture. Typically, predicting information on which reference pictures are associated with the motion vectors is also included in inter-layer motion prediction. For example, the reference indices of reference pictures for the motion vectors may be inter-layer predicted and/or the picture order count or any other identification of a reference picture may be inter-layer predicted. In some cases, inter-layer motion prediction may also comprise prediction of block coding mode, header information, block partitioning, and/or other similar parameters. In some cases, coding parameter prediction, such as inter-layer prediction of block partitioning, may be regarded as another type of inter-layer prediction. In inter-layer residual prediction, the prediction error or residual of selected blocks of a source picture for inter-layer prediction is used for predicting the current picture. In multiview-plus-depth coding, such as 3D-HEVC, cross-component inter-layer prediction may be applied, in which a picture of a first type, such as a depth picture, may affect the inter-layer prediction of a picture of a second type, such as a conventional texture picture. For example, disparity-compensated inter-layer sample value and/or motion prediction may be applied, where the disparity may be at least partially derived from a depth picture.
[0241 ] A direct reference layer may be defined as a layer that may be used for inter-layer prediction of another layer for which the layer is the direct reference layer. A direct predicted layer may be defined as a layer for which another layer is a direct reference layer. An indirect reference layer may be defined as a layer that is not a direct reference layer of a second layer but is a direct reference layer of a third layer that is a direct reference layer or indirect reference layer of a direct reference layer of the second layer for which the layer is the indirect reference layer. An indirect predicted layer may be defined as a layer for which another layer is an indirect reference layer. An independent layer may be defined as a layer that does not have direct reference layers. In other words, an independent layer is not predicted using inter-layer prediction. A non-base layer may be defined as any other layer than the base layer, and the base layer may be defined as the lowest layer in the bitstream. An independent non-base layer may be defined as a layer that is both an independent layer and a non-base layer.

[0242] A source picture for inter-layer prediction may be defined as a decoded picture that either is, or is used in deriving, an inter-layer reference picture that may be used as a reference picture for prediction of the current picture. In multi-layer FIEVC extensions, an inter-layer reference picture is included in an inter-layer reference picture set of the current picture. An inter-layer reference picture may be defined as a reference picture that may be used for inter-layer prediction of the current picture. In the coding and/or decoding process, the inter-layer reference pictures may be treated as long term reference pictures.

[0243] A source picture for inter-layer prediction may be required to be in the same access unit as the current picture. In some cases, e.g. when no resampling, motion field mapping or other inter-layer processing is needed, the source picture for inter-layer prediction and the respective inter-layer reference picture may be identical. In some cases, e.g. when resampling is needed to match the sampling grid of the reference layer to the sampling grid of the layer of the current picture (being encoded or decoded), inter-layer processing is applied to derive an inter- layer reference picture from the source picture for inter-layer prediction. Examples of such inter-layer processing are described in the next paragraphs.

[0244] Inter-layer sample prediction may be comprise resampling of the sample array(s) of the source picture for inter-layer prediction. The encoder and/or the decoder may derive a horizontal scale factor (e.g. stored in variable ScaleFactorX) and a vertical scale factor (e.g. stored in variable ScaleFactorY) for a pair of an enhancement layer and its reference layer for example based on the reference layer location offsets for the pair. If either or both scale factors are not equal to 1, the source picture for inter-layer prediction may be resampled to generate an inter-layer reference picture for predicting the enhancement layer picture. The process and/or the filter used for resampling may be pre-defined for example in a coding standard and/or indicated by the encoder in the bitstream (e.g. as an index among pre-defined resampling processes or filters) and/or decoded by the decoder from the bitstream. A different resampling process may be indicated by the encoder and/or decoded by the decoder and/or inferred by the encoder and/or the decoder depending on the values of the scale factor. For example, when both scale factors are less than 1, a pre-defined downsampling process may be inferred; and when both scale factors are greater than 1, a pre-defined upsampling process may be inferred. Additionally or alternatively, a different resampling process may be indicated by the encoder and/or decoded by the decoder and/or inferred by the encoder and/or the decoder depending on which sample array is processed. For example, a first resampling process may be inferred to be used for luma sample arrays and a second resampling process may be inferred to be used for chroma sample arrays.

[0245] SHVC enables the use of weighted prediction or a color-mapping process based on a 3D lookup table (LUT) for (but not limited to) color gamut scalability. The 3D LUT approach

may be described as follows. The sample value range of each color components may be first split into two ranges, forming up to 2x2x2 octants, and then the luma ranges can be further split up to four parts, resulting into up to 8x2x2 octants. Within each octant, a cross color component linear model is applied to perform color mapping. For each octant, four vertices are encoded into and/or decoded from the bitstream to represent a linear model within the octant. The color-mapping table is encoded into and/or decoded from the bitstream separately for each color component. Color mapping may be considered to involve three steps: First, the octant to which a given reference-layer sample triplet (Y, Cb, Cr) belongs is determined. Second, the sample locations of luma and chroma may be aligned through applying a color component adjustment

process. Third, the linear mapping specified for the determined octant is applied. The mapping may have cross-component nature, i.e. an input value of one color component may affect the mapped value of another color component. Additionally, if inter-layer resampling is also required, the input to the resampling process is the picture that has been color-mapped. The color-mapping may (but needs not to) map samples of a first bit-depth to samples of another bit-depth.

[0246] Inter-layer motion prediction may be realized as follows. A temporal motion vector prediction process, such as TMVP of H.265/HEVC, may be used to exploit the redundancy of motion data between different layers. This may be done as follows: when the decoded base-layer picture is upsampled, the motion data of the base-layer picture is also mapped to the resolution of an enhancement layer. If the enhancement layer picture utilizes motion vector prediction from the base layer picture e.g. with a temporal motion vector prediction mechanism such as TMVP of H.265/HEVC, the corresponding motion vector predictor is originated from the mapped base-layer motion field. This way the correlation between the motion data of different layers may be exploited to improve the coding efficiency of a scalable video coder. In SHVC and/or alike, inter-layer motion prediction may be performed by setting the inter-layer reference picture as the collocated reference picture for TMVP derivation.

[0247] Similarly to MVC, in MV-HEVC, inter-view reference pictures can be included in the reference picture list(s) of the current picture being coded or decoded. SHVC uses multi-loop decoding operation (unlike the SVC extension of H.264/AVC). SHVC may be considered to use a reference index based approach, i.e. an inter-layer reference picture can be included in a one or more reference picture lists of the current picture being coded or decoded (as described above).

[0248] For the enhancement layer coding, the concepts and coding tools of HEVC base layer may be used in SHVC, MV-HEVC, and/or alike. However, the additional inter-layer prediction tools, which employ already coded data (including reconstructed picture samples and motion parameters a.k.a motion information) in reference layer for efficiently coding an enhancement layer, may be integrated to SHVC, MV-HEVC, and/or alike codec.

[0249] A coding standard or system may refer to a term operation point or alike, which may indicate the scalable layers and/or sub-layers under which the decoding operates and/or may be associated with a sub-bitstream that includes the scalable layers and/or sub-layers being decoded. In HEVC, an operation point is defined as bitstream created from another bitstream by operation of the sub-bitstream extraction process with the another bitstream, a target highest Temporalld, and a target layer identifier list as inputs.

[0250] The VPS of HEVC specifies layer sets and HRD parameters for these layer sets. A layer set may be used as the target layer identifier list in the sub-bitstream extraction process. In HEVC, a layer set may be defined as set of layers represented within a bitstream created from another bitstream by operation of the sub-bitstream extraction process with the another bitstream, the target highest Temporalld equal to 6, and the target layer identifier list equal to the layer identifier list associated with the layer set as inputs.
[0251 ] An output layer may be defined as a layer whose decoded pictures are output by the decoding process. The output layers may depend on which subset of the multi-layer bitstream is decoded. The pictures output by the decoding process may be further processed, e.g. a color space conversion from the YUV color space to RGB may be performed, and they may be displayed. However, further processing and/or displaying may be considered to be processes external of the decoder and/or the decoding process and might not take place.

[0252] In multi-layer video bitstreams, an operation point definition may include a consideration a target output layer set. For example, an operation point may be defined as a bitstream that is created from another bitstream by operation of the sub-bitstream extraction process with the another bitstream, a target highest temporal sub-layer (e.g. a target highest Temporalld), and a target layer identifier list as inputs, and that is associated with a set of output layers. Alternatively, another term, such as an output operation point, may be used when referring to an operation point and the associated set of output layers. For example, in MV-HEVC/SHVC, an output operation point may be defined as a bitstream that is created from an input bitstream by operation of the sub-bitstream extraction process with the input bitstream, a target highest Temporalld, and a target layer identifier list as inputs, and that is associated with a set of output layers.

[0253] An output layer set (OLS) may be defined as a set of layers consisting of the layers of one of the specified layer sets, where one or more layers in the set of layers are indicated to be output layers. An output layer may be defined as a layer of an output layer set that is output when the decoder and/or the HRD operates using the output layer set as the target output layer set. In MV-HEVC/SHVC, the variable TargetOlsIdx may specify which output layer set is the target output layer set by setting TargetOlsIdx equal to the index of the output layer set that is the target output layer set. A target output layer set may be defined as the output layer set for which the index is equal to TargetOlsIdx. TargetOlsIdxmay be set for example by the HRD and/or may be set by external means, for example by a player or alike through an interface provided by the decoder. In MV-HEVC/SHVC, an output layer may be defined as a layer of an output layer set that is output when TargetOlsIdx is equal to the index of the output layer set.

[0254] A sender, a gateway, a client, or alike may select the transmitted layers and/or sub-layers of a scalable video bitstream. Terms layer extraction, extraction of layers, or layer down-switching may refer to transmitting fewer layers than what is available in the bitstream received by the sender, gateway, client, or alike. Layer up-switching may refer to transmitting additional layer(s) compared to those transmitted prior to the layer up-switching by the sender, gateway, client, or alike, i.e. restarting the transmission of one or more layers whose transmission was ceased earlier in layer down-switching. Similarly to layer down-switching and/or up-switching, the sender, gateway, client, or alike may perform down- and/or up-switching of temporal sub-layers. The sender, gateway client, or alike may also perform both layer and sub-layer down-switching and/or up-switching. Layer and sub-layer down-switching and/or up-switching may be carried out in the same access unit or alike (i.e. virtually simultaneously) or may be carried out in different access units or alike (i.e. virtually at distinct times).

[0255] While a constant set of output layers suits well use cases and bitstreams where the highest layer stays unchanged in each access unit, they may not support use cases where the highest layer changes from one access unit to another. It has therefore been proposed that encoders can specify the use of alternative output layers within the bitstream and in response to the specified use of alternative output layers decoders output a decoded picture from an alternative output layer in the absence of a picture in an output layer within the same access unit. Several possibilities exist how to indicate alternative output layers. For example, as specified in HEVC, the alternative output layer set mechanism may be constrained to be used only for output layer sets containing only one output layer, and an output-layer-set-wise flag

(alt_output_layer_flag[ olsldx ] in HEVC) may be used for specifying that any direct or indirect reference layer of the output layer may serve as an alternative output layer for the output layer of the output layer set. When more than one alternative output layer is enabled to be used, it may be specified that the first direct or indirect inter-layer reference picture present in the access unit in

descending layer identifier order down to the indicated minimum alternative output layer is output.

[0256] Figure 9 is a graphical representation of an example multimedia communication system within which various embodiments may be implemented. A data source 1510 provides a source signal in an analog, uncompressed digital, or compressed digital format, or any combination of these formats. An encoder 1520 may include or be connected with a pre-processing, such as data format conversion and/or filtering of the source signal. The encoder 1520 encodes the source signal into a coded media bitstream. It should be noted that a bitstream to be decoded may be received directly or indirectly from a remote device located within virtually any type of network. Additionally, the bitstream may be received from local hardware or software. The encoder 1520 may be capable of encoding more than one media type, such as audio and video, or more than one encoder 1520 may be required to code different media types of the source signal. The encoder 1520 may also get synthetically produced input, such as graphics and text, or it may be capable of producing coded bitstreams of synthetic media. In the following, only processing of one coded media bitstream of one media type is considered to simplify the description. It should be noted, however, that typically real-time broadcast services comprise several streams (typically at least one audio, video and text sub-titling stream). It should also be noted that the system may include many encoders, but in the figure only one encoder 1520 is represented to simplify the description without a lack of generality. It should be further understood that, although text and examples contained herein may specifically describe an encoding process, one skilled in the art would understand that the same concepts and principles also apply to the corresponding decoding process and vice versa.

[0257] The coded media bitstream may be transferred to a storage 1530. The storage 1530 may comprise any type of mass memory to store the coded media bitstream. The format of the coded media bitstream in the storage 1530 may be an elementary self-contained bitstream format, or one or more coded media bitstreams may be encapsulated into a container file, or the coded media bitstream may be encapsulated into a Segment format suitable for DASH (or a similar streaming system) and stored as a sequence of Segments. If one or more media bitstreams are encapsulated in a container file, a file generator (not shown in the figure) may be used to store the one more media bitstreams in the file and create file format metadata, which may also be stored in the file. The encoder 1520 or the storage 1530 may comprise the file generator, or the file generator is operationally attached to either the encoder 1520 or the storage 1530. Some systems operate "live", i.e. omit storage and transfer coded media bitstream from the encoder 1520 directly to the sender 1540. The coded media bitstream may then be transferred to the sender 1540, also referred to as the server, on a need basis. The format used in the transmission may be an elementary self-contained bitstream format, a packet stream format, a Segment format suitable for DASH (or a similar streaming system), or one or more coded media bitstreams may be encapsulated into a container file. The encoder 1520, the storage 1530, and the server 1540 may reside in the same physical device or they may be included in separate devices. The encoder 1520 and server 1540 may operate with live real-time content, in which case the coded media bitstream is typically not stored permanently, but rather buffered for small periods of time in the content encoder 1520 and/or in the server 1540 to smooth out variations in processing delay, transfer delay, and coded media bitrate.

[0258] The server 1540 sends the coded media bitstream using a communication protocol stack. The stack may include but is not limited to one or more of Real-Time Transport Protocol, User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and Internet Protocol (IP). When the communication protocol stack is packet-oriented, the server 1540 encapsulates the coded media bitstream into packets. For example, when RTP is used, the server 1540 encapsulates the coded media bitstream into RTP packets according to an RTP payload format. Typically, each media type has a dedicated RTP payload format. It should be again noted that a system may contain more than one server 1540, but for the sake of simplicity, the following description only considers one server 1540.

[0259] If the media content is encapsulated in a container file for the storage 1530 or for inputting the data to the sender 1540, the sender 1540 may comprise or be operationally attached to a "sending file parser" (not shown in the figure). In particular, if the container file is not transmitted as such but at least one of the contained coded media bitstream is encapsulated for transport over a communication protocol, a sending file parser locates appropriate parts of the coded media bitstream to be conveyed over the communication protocol. The sending file parser may also help in creating the correct format for the communication protocol, such as packet headers and payloads. The multimedia container file may contain encapsulation instructions, such as hint tracks in the ISOBMFF, for encapsulation of the at least one of the contained media bitstream on the communication protocol.

[0260] The server 1540 may or may not be connected to a gateway 1550 through a communication network, which may e.g. be a combination of a CDN, the Internet and/or one or more access networks. The gateway may also or alternatively be referred to as a middle-box. For DASH, the gateway may be an edge server (of a CDN) or a web proxy. It is noted that the system may generally comprise any number gateways or alike, but for the sake of simplicity, the following description only considers one gateway 1550. The gateway 1550 may perform different types of functions, such as translation of a packet stream according to one communication protocol stack to another communication protocol stack, merging and forking of data streams, and manipulation of data stream according to the downlink and/or receiver capabilities, such as controlling the bit rate of the forwarded stream according to prevailing downlink network conditions.

[0261] The system includes one or more receivers 1560, typically capable of receiving, demodulating, and de-capsulating the transmitted signal into a coded media bitstream. The coded media bitstream may be transferred to a recording storage 1570. The recording storage 1570 may comprise any type of mass memory to store the coded media bitstream. The recording storage 1570 may alternatively or additively comprise computation memory, such as random access memory. The format of the coded media bitstream in the recording storage 1570 may be an elementary self-contained bitstream format, or one or more coded media bitstreams may be encapsulated into a container file. If there are multiple coded media bitstreams, such as an audio stream and a video stream, associated with each other, a container file is typically used and the receiver 1560 comprises or is attached to a container file generator producing a container file from input streams. Some systems operate "live," i.e. omit the recording storage 1570 and transfer coded media bitstream from the receiver 1560 directly to the decoder 1580. In some systems, only the most recent part of the recorded stream, e.g., the most recent 10-minute excerption of the recorded stream, is maintained in the recording storage 1570, while any earlier recorded data is discarded from the recording storage 1570.

[0262] The coded media bitstream may be transferred from the recording storage 1570 to the decoder 1580. If there are many coded media bitstreams, such as an audio stream and a video stream, associated with each other and encapsulated into a container file or a single media bitstream is encapsulated in a container file e.g. for easier access, a file parser (not shown in the figure) is used to decapsulate each coded media bitstream from the container file. The recording storage 1570 or a decoder 1580 may comprise the file parser, or the file parser is attached to either recording storage 1570 or the decoder 1580. It should also be noted that the system may include many decoders, but here only one decoder 1570 is discussed to simplify the description without a lack of generality

[0263] The coded media bitstream may be processed further by a decoder 1570, whose output is one or more uncompressed media streams. Finally, a Tenderer 1590 may reproduce the uncompressed media streams with a loudspeaker or a display, for example. The receiver 1560, recording storage 1570, decoder 1570, and Tenderer 1590 may reside in the same physical device or they may be included in separate devices.

[0264] A sender 1540 and/or a gateway 1550 may be configured to perform switching between different representations e.g. for view switching, bitrate adaptation and/or fast start-up, and/or a sender 1540 and/or a gateway 1550 may be configured to select the transmitted representation(s). Switching between different representations may take place for multiple reasons, such as to respond to requests of the receiver 1560 or prevailing conditions, such as throughput, of the network over which the bitstream is conveyed. A request from the receiver can be, e.g., a request for a Segment or a Subsegment from a different representation than earlier, a request for a change of transmitted scalability layers and/or sub-layers, or a change of a rendering device having different capabilities compared to the previous one. A request for a Segment may be an HTTP GET request. A request for a Subsegment may be an HTTP GET request with a byte range. Additionally or alternatively, bitrate adjustment or bitrate adaptation may be used for example for providing so-called fast start-up in streaming services, where the bitrate of the transmitted stream is lower than the channel bitrate after starting or randomaccessing the streaming in order to start playback immediately and to achieve a buffer occupancy level that tolerates occasional packet delays and/or retransmissions. Bitrate adaptation may include multiple representation or layer up-switching and representation or layer down-switching operations taking place in various orders.

[0265] A decoder 1580 may be configured to perform switching between different representations e.g. for view switching, bitrate adaptation and/or fast start-up, and/or a decoder 1580 may be configured to select the transmitted representation(s). Switching between different representations may take place for multiple reasons, such as to achieve faster decoding operation or to adapt the transmitted bitstream, e.g. in terms of bitrate, to prevailing conditions, such as throughput, of the network over which the bitstream is conveyed. Faster decoding operation might be needed for example if the device including the decoder 580 is multi-tasking and uses computing resources for other purposes than decoding the scalable video bitstream. In another example, faster decoding operation might be needed when content is played back at a faster pace than the normal playback speed, e.g. twice or three times faster than conventional real-time playback rate. The speed of decoder operation may be changed during the decoding or playback for example as response to changing from a fast-forward play from normal playback rate or vice versa, and consequently multiple layer up-switching and layer down-switching operations may take place in various orders.

[0266] A spatially scalable image and/or video coding can be realized by resampling a reconstructed reference-layer picture to serve as a reference picture for encoding/decoding (later referred as (de)coding) an predicted-layer picture. Alternatively, spatially scalable video coding can be realized by resampling parts of a reference-layer picture, such as an intra-coded block, to serve as a prediction block for (de)coding a part of a predicted-layer picture. The resampling may include a filtering operation in which a number of reference-layer samples are filtered to obtain a sample used as a reference for inter-layer prediction (e.g., a sample of an inter-layer reference picture in SHVC). Hence, such resampling may access sample locations outside picture boundaries. Likewise, if the predicted-layer picture is frame-packed, i.e., encloses multiple constituent frames, such resampling may access sample locations outside boundaries of a constituent frame. Furthermore, reference layer location offsets or alike may be used to indicate the spatial correspondence of a predicted-layer picture relative to a reference-layer picture and may cause the inter-layer resampling process to refer to samples outside the picture boundaries of the reference-layer picture and/or outside the boundaries of a constituent frame in the reference-layer picture. It needs to be understood that embodiments described above also or alternatively apply to inter-layer prediction. For example, a boundary extension can be utilized for the filtering process used in inter-layer prediction. In another example, the sample locations used in the filtering process for inter-layer prediction are wrapped over (e.g., in the case of horizontal direction of a 360-degree constituent frame) or saturated (otherwise) to be within the boundaries of a constituent frame.

[0267] It needs to be understood that embodiments described above also or alternatively apply to inter-view prediction. In an example, a first picture of a reference layer or view encloses more than one constituent frame, e.g. representing two views of the content. A second picture of a predicted layer or view encloses at least one constituent frame, e.g. representing another view of the content (other than the views represented by the first picture). Inter-view prediction takes place from the one or more constituent frames of the first picture to the second picture. A disparity vector (similar or identical to a motion vector) used in inter-view prediction may refer to a prediction block that is partially outside a constituent frame or may refer to a fractional sample position that requires input samples from more than one constituent frame. Embodiments can be used to arrange a boundary extension, or saturation or wrap-over of sample locations within a constituent frame, such that an inter-view prediction block is constrained to originate from samples of one constituent frame only.

[0268] In the above, some embodiments have been described with reference to the term constituent frame in its singular form. It needs to be understood that embodiments can be applied to multiple constituent frames, and that the number of constituent frames is generally not constrained by the embodiments.

[0269] In the above, some embodiments have been described with reference to the term constituent frame. It needs to be understood that a constituent frame may represent an input frame or an input field, where a field is a set of alternate sample rows of a frame and may be used as encoder input, when the source signal is interlaced.

[0270] In the above, some embodiments have been described with reference to the term constituent frame. It needs to be understood that embodiments are generally applicable to any spatially contiguous portions of a picture being coded or decoded even if such a portion is not explicitly called a constituent frame. It needs to be understood that embodiments apply similarly to units that are smaller than a constituent frame as long as such a unit occupies a spatially contiguous area within a picture being coded or decoded. In an example embodiment, a constituent frame is partitioned into two or more spatially disjoint constituent frame partitions in a pre-processing step prior to encoding or as a part of encoding. One or more of the constituent frame partitions have a boundary extension as described in other embodiments. A same picture may include constituent frame boundaries from more than one constituent frame. Each constituent frame boundary, either including or excluding the boundary extension, if any, may be coded as a motion-constrained tile set. The boundary extension parts may be removed and constituent frame partitions may be arranged in a spatially continuous manner by the decoder, e.g. as part of the output cropping process, or by a post-processing step after decoding, so that constituent frames are entirely continuous. For example, a 360-degree panoramic constituent frame can be partitioned e.g. using a grid of 45, 90, and 45 degrees vertically and a grid of 90degree intervals horizontally, and processed as described in the example embodiment. In another example, each cube side of a cubemap-projected spherical picture can be regarded as a constituent frame partition and processed as described in the example embodiment.
[0271 ] In an embodiment, the input pictures for video encoding originate from a pyramidal mapping as illustrated in Figs. 10a to 10c. Each input picture of a spherical video sequence, a video sequence representing a spherical video projection, such as equirectangular panorama, a multiview video of an outward pointing camera setup, or alike is projected on a pyramid 1000 illustrated in Fig. 10a. The pyramidal projection may also be omitted and a direct mapping from the source content to a unfolded pyramidal projection 1002, e.g. such as that in Fig. 10b, or to a frame-packed pyramidal projection 1004, e.g. such as that in Fig. 10c, can be done. The rectangular face 1006 of the pyramid may be referred to as the front face, assuming the primary viewing direction would be exactly or approximately towards the front face. The horizontal axis for the front face is selected according to the primary viewing orientation (matching the assumed head orientation). The virtual viewing position within the pyramid can be selected in a manner that the front face has a desired field of view. For example, a 90-degree horizontal and vertical field of view may be chosen for the front face. The triangular pyramid faces may be named as the left 1008, top 1010, right 1012, and bottom faces 1014 according to their position relative to the assumed primary viewing direction and the primary viewing orientation. The triangular pyramid faces may be considered to be unfolded onto the plane of the front face 1006, as illustrated in Fig. 10b, although this intermediate step may be omitted and a direct mapping from the pyramid 1000 of Fig. 10a to a frame-packed pyramidal projection 1006, e.g. such as that in Fig. 10c, can be done. As a part of the unfolding, the triangular pyramid faces may be resampled in a manner that when they are arranged identically or similarly to what is illustrated in Fig. 10c, their total width and height matches those of the front face. The triangular faces may be arranged in bounding rectangle in various ways, one of which is illustrated in Fig. 10c, in which the unfolded right 1012 and left faces 1008 are kept unchanged, whereas the unfolded top 1010 and bottom faces 1014 are rotated by 180 degrees. In an embodiment, the front face 1006 is regarded as the first constituent frame and the bounding rectangle comprising the triangular faces may be regarded as the second constituent frame in other embodiments. In an embodiment, the front face 1006 has a boundary extension on the side adjacent to the bounding rectangle of the triangular faces. For example, the boundary extension may reside on the right of the front face 1006, when the bounding rectangle of the triangular faces also resides on the right of the front face 1006, as illustrated in Fig. 10c. The boundary extension is treated similarly to what is described in other embodiments. While Fig. 10c illustrates a boundary extension, it needs to be understood that other embodiments where a boundary extension is not present (and, for example, references outside a constituent frame are handled by saturating the sample locations to be within the constituent frame) are also applicable to an arrangement similar to that in Fig. 10c but without the boundary extension. In an embodiment, the front face 1006, including its boundary extension (if any), is enclosed in a first tile set in encoding and the first tile set is encoded as a motion-constrained tile set. In an embodiment, the bounding rectangle comprising the triangular faces 1008—1014 is enclosed in a second tile set in encoding and the second tile set is encoded as a motion-constrained tile set. The motion-constrained tile set(s) are treated similarly to what is described in other embodiments. While this paragraph described encoding embodiments, it needs to be understood that decoding embodiments can be realized similarly by treating the front face 1006 as a constituent frame in various other embodiments for decoding.

[0272] In the above, some embodiments have been described with reference to the term block. It needs to be understood that coding systems may have different terminology for the same or similar concept to which embodiments apply. For example, in HEVC the term block may be understood e.g. as a coding tree unit, a coding tree block, a coding unit, or a coding block in different embodiments.

[0273] In the above, some embodiments have been described in relation to HEVC and/or terms used in the HEVC specification. It needs to be understood that embodiments similarly apply to other codecs and coding formats and other terminology with equivalency or similarity to the terms used in the above-described embodiments.

[0274] In the above, where the example embodiments have been described with reference to an encoder, it needs to be understood that the resulting bitstream and the decoder may have corresponding elements in them. Likewise, where the example embodiments have been described with reference to a decoder, it needs to be understood that the encoder may have structure and/or computer program for generating the bitstream to be decoded by the decoder.

[0275] The embodiments of the invention described above describe the codec in terms of separate encoder and decoder apparatus in order to assist the understanding of the processes involved. However, it would be appreciated that the apparatus, structures and operations may be implemented as a single encoder-decoder apparatus/structure/operation. Furthermore, it is possible that the coder and decoder may share some or all common elements.

[0276] Although the above examples describe embodiments of the invention operating within a codec within an electronic device, it would be appreciated that the invention as defined in the claims may be implemented as part of any video codec. Thus, for example, embodiments of the invention may be implemented in a video codec which may implement video coding over fixed or wired communication paths.

[0277] Thus, user equipment may comprise a video codec such as those described in embodiments of the invention above. It shall be appreciated that the term user equipment is intended to cover any suitable type of wireless user equipment, such as mobile telephones, portable data processing devices or portable web browsers.

[0278] Furthermore elements of a public land mobile network (PLMN) may also comprise video codecs as described above.

[0279] In general, the various embodiments of the invention may be implemented in hardware or special purpose circuits, software, logic or any combination thereof. For example, some aspects may be implemented in hardware, while other aspects may be implemented in firmware or software which may be executed by a controller, microprocessor or other computing device, although the invention is not limited thereto. While various aspects of the invention may be illustrated and described as block diagrams, flow charts, or using some other pictorial representation, it is well understood that these blocks, apparatus, systems, techniques or methods described herein may be implemented in, as non-limiting examples, hardware, software, firmware, special purpose circuits or logic, general purpose hardware or controller or other computing devices, or some combination thereof.

[0280] The embodiments of this invention may be implemented by computer software executable by a data processor of the mobile device, such as in the processor entity, or by hardware, or by a combination of software and hardware. Further in this regard it should be noted that any blocks of the logic flow as in the Figures may represent program steps, or interconnected logic circuits, blocks and functions, or a combination of program steps and logic circuits, blocks and functions. The software may be stored on such physical media as memory chips, or memory blocks implemented within the processor, magnetic media such as hard disk or floppy disks, and optical media such as for example DVD and the data variants thereof, CD.

[0281] The memory may be of any type suitable to the local technical environment and may be implemented using any suitable data storage technology, such as semiconductor-based memory devices, magnetic memory devices and systems, optical memory devices and systems, fixed memory and removable memory. The data processors may be of any type suitable to the local technical environment, and may include one or more of general purpose computers, special purpose computers, microprocessors, digital signal processors (DSPs) and processors based on multi-core processor architecture, as non-limiting examples.

[0282] Embodiments of the inventions may be practiced in various components such as integrated circuit modules. The design of integrated circuits is by and large a highly automated process. Complex and powerful software tools are available for converting a logic level design into a semiconductor circuit design ready to be etched and formed on a semiconductor substrate.

[0283] Programs, such as those provided by Synopsys, Inc. of Mountain View, California and Cadence Design, of San Jose, California automatically route conductors and locate components on a semiconductor chip using well established rules of design as well as libraries of pre-stored design modules. Once the design for a semiconductor circuit has been completed, the resultant design, in a standardized electronic format (e.g., Opus, GDSU, or the like) may be transmitted to a semiconductor fabrication facility or "fab" for fabrication.

[0284] The foregoing description has provided by way of exemplary and non-limiting examples a full and informative description of the exemplary embodiment of this invention. However, various modifications and adaptations may become apparent to those skilled in the relevant arts in view of the foregoing description, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and the appended claims. However, all such and similar modifications of the teachings of this invention will still fall within the scope of the claims.

[0285] In the following some examples will be provided.

[0286] In accordance with a first example there is provided a method comprising: receiving an encoded picture;

decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0287] In accordance with an embodiment of the method said filling comprises at least one of the following for at least one sample outside the effective picture area: decoding the at least one sample value by horizontal intra prediction;

decoding the at least one sample value by vertical intra prediction;

decoding the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from a boundary area of the effective picture area opposite to the boundary extension;

decoding the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from another constituent frame in the picture;

decoding the at least one sample value by inter prediction from a previous picture in decoding order.

[0288] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises: decoding an indication whether sample locations outside constituent frame boundaries are saturated or wrapped over; and determining according to the decoded indication whether said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0289] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises:

decoding an indication of the effective picture area of the constituent frame.


[0290] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises: inserting the at least one sample value by copying from an opposite side of the effective picture area when the constituent frame is indicated to be a 360-degree panorama picture.

[0291 ] In accordance with an embodiment the method comprises:


decoding the encoded picture to form a second reconstructed constituent frame of the picture.

[0292] In accordance with an embodiment the method comprises: receiving a second encoded picture;

decoding a motion vector from the second encoded picture, the motion vector causing a reference to a sample location outside the effective picture area of the reconstructed constituent frame in decoding; and

saturating or wrapping over the sample location to be within the effective picture area.

[0293] In accordance with a second example there is provided an apparatus comprising at least one processor and at least one memory, said at least one memory stored with code thereon, which when executed by said at least one processor, causes the apparatus to perform at least: receiving an encoded picture;

decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within

the effective picture area.


In accordance with an embodiment of the apparatus said filling comprising code causing the apparatus to perform at least one of: decoding the at least one sample value by horizontal intra prediction;

decoding the at least one sample value by vertical intra prediction;

decoding the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from a boundary area of the effective picture area opposite to the boundary extension;

decoding the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from another constituent frame in the picture;

decoding the at least one sample value by inter prediction from a previous picture in decoding order.

[0294] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: decoding an indication whether sample locations outside constituent frame boundaries are saturated or wrapped over; and determining according to the decoded indication whether said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0295] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least:

decoding an indication of the effective picture area of the constituent frame.


[0296] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: inserting the at least one sample value by copying from an opposite side of the effective picture area when the constituent frame is indicated to be a 360-degree panorama picture. In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: decoding the area outside the effective picture area to obtain an intermediate reference frame; and further wherein the filling comprises modifying at least one sample value of the boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame. In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: decoding the encoded picture to form a second reconstructed constituent frame of the picture.

[0297] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: receiving a second encoded picture; decoding a motion vector from the second encoded picture, the motion vector causing a reference to a sample location outside the effective picture area of the reconstructed constituent frame in decoding; and

saturating or wrapping over the sample location to be within the effective picture area.

[0298] In accordance with a third example there is provided a computer readable storage medium stored with code thereon for use by an apparatus, which when executed by a processor, causes the apparatus to perform: receiving an encoded picture;

decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0299] In accordance with a fourth example there is provided an apparatus comprising: means for receiving an encoded picture;

means for decoding the encoded picture to form a reconstructed constituent frame of the picture having an effective picture area; and

means for performing either of the following:


filling an area outside the effective picture area to produce a padded reference

picture, wherein the filled area forms a boundary extension; or


determining that when referring to sample locations outside the effective picture area in decoding, said sample locations are saturated or wrapped over to be within the effective picture area.

[0300] In accordance with a fifth example there is provided a method comprising: encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a

boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or

saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.

[0301 ] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises:


obtaining the at least one sample value by horizontal intra prediction;

obtaining the at least one sample value by vertical intra prediction;

obtaining the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from a boundary of the effective picture area opposite to the boundary extension;

obtaining the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from another constituent frame in the reconstructed picture;

obtaining the at least one sample value by inter prediction from a previous picture in decoding order.

[0302] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises: encoding an indication whether sample locations outside constituent frame boundaries are saturated or wrapped over.

[0303] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises: encoding an indication of the effective picture area of the constituent frame.

[0304] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises: inserting the at least one sample value by copying from an opposite side of the effective picture area when the constituent frame is indicated to be a 360-degree panorama picture.

[0305] In accordance with an embodiment of the method said encoding comprises:: reconstructing the area outside the effective picture area to obtain an intermediate reference frame; and further wherein the filling comprises modifying at least one sample value of the boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame.

[0306] In accordance with an embodiment the method comprises: encoding a second uncompressed constituent frame into the first encoded picture.

[0307] In accordance with an embodiment the method further comprises: encoding a second encoded picture;

said encoding of the second encoded picture comprising encoding a motion vector causing a reference to a sample location outside the effective picture area of the reconstructed constituent frame in decoding; and

saturating or wrapping over the sample location to be within the effective picture area.

[0308] In accordance with a sixth example there is provided an apparatus comprising at least one processor and at least one memory, said at least one memory stored with code thereon, which when executed by said at least one processor, causes the apparatus to perform at least: encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or
saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.

[0309] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus comprises: obtaining the at least one sample value by horizontal intra prediction;

obtaining the at least one sample value by vertical intra prediction;

obtaining the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from a boundary of the effective picture area opposite to the boundary extension;

obtaining the at least one sample value by intra-block-copy prediction from another constituent frame in the reconstructed picture;

obtaining the at least one sample value by inter prediction from a previous picture in decoding order.

[0310] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least one of: encoding an indication whether sample locations outside constituent frame boundaries are saturated or wrapped over.

[0311 ] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least:

encoding an indication of the effective picture area of the constituent frame.


[0312] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: inserting the at least one sample value by copying from an opposite side of the effective picture area when the constituent frame is indicated to be a 360-degree panorama picture.

[0313] In accordance with an embodiment of the apparatus said encoding comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: reconstructing the area outside the effective picture area to obtain an intermediate reference frame; and further wherein the filling comprises modifying at least one sample value of the boundary extension of the intermediate reference frame.

[0314] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least: encoding a second uncompressed constituent frame into the first encoded picture.

[0315] In accordance with an embodiment the apparatus further comprises code causing the apparatus to perform at least one of: encoding a second encoded picture; said encoding of the second encoded picture comprising encoding a motion vector causing a reference to a sample location outside the effective picture area of the reconstructed constituent frame in decoding; and

saturating or wrapping over the sample location to be within the effective picture area.

[0316] In accordance with a seventh example there is provided a computer readable storage medium stored with code thereon for use by an apparatus, which when executed by a processor, causes the apparatus to perform: encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or

saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.

[0317] In accordance with an eighth example there is provided an apparatus comprising: means for encoding an uncompressed constituent frame into a first encoded picture, said encoding also resulting into a reconstructed first picture and said constituent frame having an effective picture area within the first reconstructed picture;

means for performing either of the following as a part of said encoding:


inserting at least one sample value outside the effective picture area to form a

boundary extension for the constituent frame in the reconstructed first picture; or

saturating or wrapping over sample locations outside the effective picture area to be within the effective picture area.