Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
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Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / Resources / Video Quality Research / Standards / National and International Standards

National and International Standards

National Standards:
From 1994 to 1997, Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) personnel played a key role in the development of four American National Standards that can be used for gauging the quality of digital video systems. In 2003, ANSI T1.801.03-1996 was revised and reissued as ANSI T1.801.03-2003. These standards are:

  1. ANSI T1.801.01-1995, "American National Standard for Telecommunications - Digital Transport of Video Teleconferencing/Video Telephony Signals - Video Test Scenes for Subjective and Objective Performance Assessment."
  2. ANSI T1.801.02-1996, "American National Standard for Telecommunications - Digital Transport of Video Teleconferencing/Video Telephony Signals - Performance Terms, Definitions, and Examples."
  3. ANSI T1.801.03-1996, 2003, "American National Standard for Telecommunications - Digital Transport of One-Way Video Signals - Parameters for Objective Performance Assessment." This 1996 standard was revised as ANSI T1.801.03-2003 (see description given below).
  4. ANSI T1.801.04-1997, "American National Standard for Telecommunications - Multimedia Communications Delay, Synchronization, and Frame Rate Measurement."

ANSI T1.801.01 provides a set of video test scenes in digital format that can be used for subjective and objective testing of digital video systems. Standardized test scenes are important because video images with little detail or motion may retain their quality during digital compression and transmission, while images with extensive detail or rapid motion may become significantly impaired. Having standardized test scenes gives users the ability to directly compare the performance of two or more systems.

ANSI T1.801.02 provides a dictionary of digital video performance terms and impairments. This standard includes a video tape that illustrates common digital video impairments such as tiling, smearing, edge busyness, error blocks, and jerkiness. Thus, this standard gives end-users and service providers a common language for discussing digital video quality.

ANSI T1.801.03 defines a whole new framework of objective parameters that can be used to measure the quality of digital video systems. For a tutorial of the original ANSI T1.801.03-1996 video quality metrics and their application for measuring compressed digital video impairments, see our ANSI Video Quality Tutorial. In 2002, a "General" ITS-developed video quality metric (VQM) was prepared and submitted to the ITU Video Quality Experts Group (VQEG) for independent testing and verification. Of all the international VQM proponent submissions, the ITS VQM submission was the only VQM that was in the top performing group for both the 525-line and 625-line video tests. For the U.S. standard 525-line video test, the ITS VQM achieved a correlation coefficient to the subjective data of almost 95%, near the theoretical limit. These test results are even more remarkable because the ITS VQM submission was a "reduced-reference" measurement system whereas the other proponents submitted "full-reference" measurement systems. The ITS VQM submission only requires approximately 1/20 of the reference data to make a measurement. As a result of these international achievements in 2003, the ITS VQM was standardized by ANSI in July 2003 (ANSI T1.801.03-2003), which replaced the original ANSI T1.801.03-1996. ITU-T Study Group 9 and ITU-R Working Party 6Q have also included the ITS VQM in their Recommendations (see the International Standards section given below). To assist companies and potential licensees in the deployment and use of the patented ITS VQM technology, evaluation software that implements the above national and international standards has been posted on the ITS web site.

The fourth standard, ANSI T1.801.04, defines measurement methods for audio delay, video delay, and audio-visual synchronization. These performance parameters are important for interactive (i.e., two-way) telecommunication services.

For copies of these standards, contact the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

National Technical Reports:
From 2000 to 2003, ITS personnel also helped develop a series of five technical reports (TRs) that have been published by Committee T1 - Telecommunications, Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). These technical reports can be downloaded directly from ATIS:

  1. T1.TR.72-2001, 2003, "Methodological Framework for Specifying Accuracy and Cross-Calibration of Video Quality Metrics."
  2. T1.TR.73-2001, "Video Normalization Methods Applicable to Objective Video Quality Metrics Utilizing a Full Reference Technique."
  3. T1.TR.74-2001, "Objective Video Quality Measurement Using a Peak-Signal-to-Noise-Ratio (PSNR) Full Reference Technique."
  4. T1.TR.75-2001, "Objective Perceptual Video Quality Measurement Using a JND-Based Full Reference Technique."
  5. T1.TR.77-2002, "Data and Sample Program Code to be used with the Method Specified in Technical Report T1.TR.PP.72-2001 for the Calculation of Resolving Power of the Video Quality Metrics in Technical Reports T1.TR.PP.74-2001 and T1.TR.PP.75-2001."

International Standards:
ITS personnel are active participants in the video quality standards development process of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Currently, the most active area of participation is in the joint ITU-R / ITU-T Video Quality Experts Group (VQEG) which is evaluating video quality measurement methods for MPEG-2 and other video services. ITS maintains the VQEG Web Page, the the VQEG reflector (ituvidq@its.bldrdoc.gov), and the VQEG document archive (ftp://vqeg.its.bldrdoc.gov/). Companies and organizations that would like to participate in VQEG activities should send a subscribe message to the above reflector.

The "General" ITS VQM, standardized by ANSI T1.801.03-2003 (see above) has also been included in the following two ITU Recommendations:

  1. ITU-T Recommendation J.144, "Objective perceptual video quality measurement techniques for digital cable television in the presence of a full reference."

  2. ITU-R Recommendation BT.1683, "Objective perceptual video quality measurement techniques for standard definition digital broadcast television in the presence of a full reference."

The ITS Reduced Reference (RR) calibration algorithms, documented in Technical Report TR-08-433b, "Reduced reference video calibration algorithms," has been included in the following ITU-T Recommendation:

  • ITU-T Recommendation J.244, "Full reference and reduced reference calibration methods for video transmission systems with constant misalignment of spatial and temporal domains with constant gain and offset."

The "Fast Low Bandwidth" ITS VQM, documented in ITUT_COM9_C5.pdf, has been included in the following Draft New ITU-T Recommendation:

  • ITU-T Draft New Recommendation J.redref, "Perceptual video quality measurement techniques for digital cable television in the presence of a reduced reference."

The Peak-Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR) ITS VQM, documented in ITUT_COM9_C6.pdf, has been included in the following Draft New ITU-T Recommendation:

  • ITU-T Draft New Recommendation J.rs-psnr, "Reference Algorithm for Computing Peak Signal to Noise Ration (PSNR) of a Processed Video Sequence with Constant Spatial Shifts and a Constant Delay."