Abstract — Recent video coders, such as H.264/SVC, can encode a video stream into multiple layers, each with a different rate. Moreover, each layer can either be coarse-grained scalable (CGS) or fine-grained scalable (FGS). FGS layers support wider ranges of client bandwidth than CGS layers, but suffer from higher coding inefficiency. Currently there are no systematic ways in the literature to determine the optimal stream structure that renders the best average quality for all clients. In this paper, we formulate an optimization problem to determine the optimal rate and encoding granularity (CGS or FGS) of each layer in a scalable video stream that maximizes a system-defined utility function for a given client distribution. We design an efficient, yet optimal, algorithm to solve this optimization problem. Our algorithm is general in the sense that it can employ arbitrary utility functions for clients. We implement our algorithm and verify its optimality. We show how various structuring of scalable video streams affect individual client utilities. We compare our algorithm against a heuristic algorithm that has been used before in the literature, and we show that our algorithm outperforms the other one in all cases. I
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