Optical Engineering • Open AccessFast coding unit decision method based on coding tree pruning for high efficiency video coding
A fast coding unit (CU) decision method is proposed for high efficiency video coding (HEVC) by determining early the CU sizes based on coding tree pruning. One of the most effective, a newly introduced concept in HEVC, is variable CU size. In determining the best CU size, the reference encoder of the HEVC tests every possible CU size in order to estimate the coding performance of each CU defined by the CU size. This causes major computational complexity within the encoding process, which should be overcome for the implementation of a fast encoder. A simple tree-pruning algorithm is proposed that exploits the observation where the subtree computations can be skipped if the coding mode of the current node is sufficient (e.g., SKIP mode). The experimental results show that the proposed method was able to achieve a 40% reduction in encoding time compared to the HEVC test model 3.0 encoder with only a negligible loss in coding performance. The proposed method was adopted in HEVC test model 4.0 encoder at JCT-VC 6th meeting.