Foveated video compression for lossy packet networks
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Unreliable networks can severely hamper transmission of video data. In applications requiring minimal latency, video frames must be compressed using intraframe techniques. We develop a video codec suitable for robot teleoperation over unreliable networks with high packet loss rates. The codec combines a foveated image compression algorithm, Embedded Foveation Image enCoding (EFIC), with a Forward Error Correction (FEC) code tuned to network performance. Foveation, or spatially variant image resolution, allows very high compression levels while preserving the most important image characteristics. By tightly integrating an FEC within the codec we are able to virtually eliminate dropped frames independent of the network protocol. We find that the new codec supports much higher video quality than another intraframe compression technique, Motion JPEG (M-JPEG).