Evaluation of data-parallel H.264 decoding approaches for strongly resource-restricted architectures

Florian Seitner, M. Bleyer, M. Gelautz, R. Beuschel:
"Evaluation of data-parallel H.264 decoding approaches for strongly resource-restricted architectures";
Multimedia Tools and Applications,53(2011), 2; S. 431 - 457.

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Decoding of an H.264 video stream is a computationally demanding multimedia application which poses serious challenges on current processor architectures. For processors with strongly limited computational resources, a natural way to tackle this problem is the use of multi-core systems. The contribution of this paper lies in a systematic overview and performance evaluation of parallel video decoding approaches. We focus on decoder splittings for strongly resource-restricted environments inherent to mobile devices. For the evaluation, we introduce a high-level methodology which can estimate the runtime behaviour of multi-core decoding architectures. We use this methodology to investigate six methods for accomplishing data-parallel splitting of an H.264 decoder. These methods are compared against each other in terms of runtime complexity, core usage, inter-communication and bus transfers. We present benchmark results using different numbers of processor cores. Our results shall aid in finding the splitting strategy that is best-suited for the targeted hardware-architecture.