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Saving bitrate vs. pleasing users : where is the break-even point in mobile video quality?

Publication Date
  • 089900 Other Information And Computing Sciences
  • Acceptability
  • Mobile Video
  • Quality
  • Bitrate
  • Encoding Parameters
  • User Profile
  • Content Type
  • Musicology


This paper presents a comprehensive study to find the most efficient bitrate requirement to deliver mobile video that optimizes bandwidth, while at the same time maintains good user viewing experience. In the study, forty participants were asked to choose the lowest quality video that would still provide for a comfortable and long-term viewing experience, knowing that higher video quality is more expensive and bandwidth intensive. This paper proposes the lowest pleasing bitrates and corresponding encoding parameters for five different content types: cartoon, movie, music, news and sports. It also explores how the lowest pleasing quality is influenced by content type, image resolution, bitrate, and user gender, prior viewing experience, and preference. In addition, it analyzes the trajectory of users’ progression while selecting the lowest pleasing quality. The findings reveal that the lowest bitrate requirement for a pleasing viewing experience is much higher than that of the lowest acceptable quality. Users’ criteria for the lowest pleasing video quality are related to the video’s content features, as well as its usage purpose and the user’s personal preferences. These findings can provide video providers guidance on what quality they should offer to please mobile users.

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