Journal article

Anchor View Allocation for Collaborative Free Viewpoint Video Streaming

In free viewpoint video, a viewer can choose at will any camera angle or the so-called "virtual view" to observe a dynamic 3-D scene, enhancing his/her depth perception. The virtual view is synthesized using texture and depth videos of two anchor camera views via depth-image-based rendering (DIBR). We consider, for the first time, collaborative live streaming of a free viewpoint video, where a group of users may interactively pull and cooperatively share streams of different anchor views. There is a cost to access the anchor views from the live source, a cost to "reconfigure" the peer network due to a change in selected anchors during view switching, and a distortion cost due to the distance of the virtual views to the received anchor views at users. We optimize the anchor views allocated to users so as to minimize the overall streaming cost given by the access cost, reconfiguration cost, and view distortion cost. We first show that, if the reconfiguration cost due to view switching is negligible, the view allocation problem can be optimally and efficiently solved in polynomial time using dynamic programming. For the case of non-negligible reconfiguration cost, the problem becomes NP-hard. We thus present a locally optimal and centralized algorithm inspired by Lloyd's algorithm used in non-uniform scalar quantization. We further propose a distributed algorithm with convergence guarantee, where each peer group independently makes merge-and-split decisions with a well-defined fairness criteria. Simulation results show that our algorithms achieve low streaming cost due to its excellent anchor view allocation.

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