Fast reference frame selection based on content similarity for low complexity HEVC encoder

Zhaoqing PAN, Peng JIN, Jianjun LEI, Yun ZHANG, Xingming SUN, Sam KWONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


The high efficiency video coding (HEVC) is the state-of-the-art video coding standard, which achieves about 50% bit rate saving while maintaining the same visual quality as compared to the H.264/AVC. This achieved coding efficiency benefits from a set of advanced coding tools, such as the multiple reference frames (MRF) based interframe prediction, which efficiently improves the coding efficiency of the HEVC encoder, while it also increases heavy computation into the HEVC encoder. The high encoding complexity becomes a bottleneck for the high definition videos and HEVC encoder to be widely used in real-time and low power multimedia applications. In this paper, we propose a content similarity based fast reference frame selection algorithm for reducing the computational complexity of the multiple reference frames based interframe prediction. Based the large content similarity between the parent prediction unit (Inter_2N × 2N) and the children prediction units (Inter_2N × N, Inter_N × 2N, Inter_N × N, Inter_2N × nU, Inter_2N × nD, Inter_nL × 2N, and Inter_nR × 2N), the reference frame selection information of the children prediction units are obtained by learning the results of their parent prediction unit. Experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can reduce about 54.29% and 43.46% MRF encoding time saving for the low-delay-main and random-access-main coding structures, respectively, while the rate distortion performance degradation is negligible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-524
JournalJournal of Visual Communication and Image Representation
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61501246, Grant 61271324, Grant 61471348, Grant 61232016, in part by the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China under Grant BK20150930, in part by the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China under Grant 15KJB510019, in part by the Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province of China under Grant F2015202311, in part by the Project through the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, in part by the Startup Foundation for Introducing Talent of Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology under Grant 2015r012, in part by the Guangdong Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholar under Grant 2016A030306022 .


  • Early termination
  • HEVC
  • Prediction unit
  • Reference frame
  • Video coding


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