Fast Distortion-Based Heuristic and Hardware Design for the H.264/AVC Intra-Frame Decision

Daniel PalominoGuilherme CorrêaLuciano AgostiniAltamiro Susin

In the Rate-Distortion Optimization (RDO) technique for H.264/AVC, the process of choosing the bestintra-prediction mode is performed through exhaustive executions of the whole encoding process, which increases significantly the encoder complexity, sometimes even forbidding its use in real time video applications. In order to reduce the number of calculations necessary to determine the best intra-frame mode, this work proposes a fast distortion-based heuristic and its hardware design for the H.264/AVC intra-frame decision. The application of the proposed heuristic reduces in 13 times the number of encoding iterations for choosing the best intra-frame mode when compared with RDO-based decision, at cost of relatively small bitrate increase and image quality loss. The proposed heuristic was designed in hardware targeting two technologies: (1) FPGA and (2) Standard Cell. This architecture achieved an operation frequency of 129.1 MHz when synthesized to Standard Cell, being able to process until 465 HD1080p frames per second.

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