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Proceedings Paper

Evaluation of compressed digital high-definition video transmitted through the NASA communications system
Author(s): Guy W. Beakley; Elliott S. Kohn
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Paper Abstract

A series of experiments was conducted over the past three years to prepare NASA for the use of high-definition television. In 1989 and in 1990, HDTV technology was evaluated for potential use in launch operations, real-time image analysis, and media dissemination at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Evaluation of camera and lens performance is reported here. In November 1991, an experiment was done at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) to evaluate the quality of HDTV that was digitized, compressed to a 45 Mbps data stream, and transmitted through the NASA communications network. The JSC experiment consisted of back-to-back bench tests of the Alcatel/Telettra high-definition coder/decoder (codec), followed by data transmission through the NASA Shuttle communications simulator, and most importantly, actual transmission through the NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), with a second satellite hop through a domestic satellite and a fiber-optic link at JSC. Static and dynamic test signals were used to test codec performance as were various types of subjective- test scenes with detail and motion. Included in the subjective material was IMAX film shot in space and transferred directly to high-definition video at 30 frames/second. Static tests highlighted the effects of the 54 MHz sampling rate in the codec. Color reproduction tests showed very little color error, even when transcoding externally from GBR signals. Dynamic test signals characterized the DCT and motion-compensation algorithm. Frame-by-frame analysis showed a small reduction in horizontal resolution, small color errors in fine detail, and reduced horizontal and vertical resolution immediately following transitions, where the effect was almost entirely masked by the transitions. Subjective codec performance on moving images at nominal TDRSS bit-error-rates (BER) was extremely good. The codec designers have done a very good job of leaving out information that is not perceived while including almost all information that is needed. Expert viewers, trained in image analysis, gave excellent ratings to the system at typical TDRSS signal levels.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 January 1993
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1757, Ultrahigh- and High-Speed Photography, Videography, and Photonics, (19 January 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.139134
Show Author Affiliations
Guy W. Beakley, StellaCom, Inc. (United States)
Elliott S. Kohn, StellaCom Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1757:
Ultrahigh- and High-Speed Photography, Videography, and Photonics
Donald R. Snyder, Editor(s)

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