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Scalable Dissemination and Navigation of Video 360 Content for Personalized Viewing





360 video is a form of virtual reality (VR) that allows the viewer to experience media content in an immersive fashion. In contrast to traditional video, 360 video is recorded with a special camera that captures the complete surroundings from almost all directions. Viewers consuming such a video can select the direction they are looking at by using a pointing device on a regular display or through head movement using a head-mounted device. This new format allows a viewer to change their viewing direction when watching the video, e.g., a viewer can watch a sporting event from multiple perspectives on the field. However, creating, storing, and disseminating 360 videos at a large scale over the Internet poses significant challenges. These challenges are the focus of this project, which will develop a new system and framework, called mi360World, to enable smooth delivery of and interaction with 360 video by any user on the Internet. This project, if successful, will significantly improve 360 video delivery, and will enable new and much richer educational, training and entertainment experiences. It will also help train a new class of multimedia systems researchers and practitioners.

The mechanisms for delivering a high-quality, personalized 360 video over the Internet to a globally distributed set of users is an unsolved scientific problem that entails the following challenges: 1) Ultra-high Bandwidth; 2) Ultra-low Delay; 3) View Adaptation (to user head movement); 4) Complex video metadata and delivery; 5) Video Quality of Experience (QoE). Traditional video QoE has seen extensive research over the years; however, what contributes to 360 video QoE is much less understood and will require conceiving of and measuring new metrics. The proposed mi360World system incorporates three major research thrusts to address the above challenges: A video creation thrust that enables personalized viewing by generating navigation graphs and cinematographic rules, while maintaining a high QoE and reducing cybersickness. The construction of navigation graphs and inclusion of cinematographic rules represent the main innovations of this project, and are encapsulated in a three-layered metadata representation of the 360 video: a transport layer, a semantic layer, and an interactive story-telling layer. The second thrust focuses on scalable distribution of 360 videos to a global set of diverse viewers, utilizing navigation graphs and cinematographic rules for highly efficient transition-predictive prefetching and caching. The third thrust focuses on QoE and has the goal of devising novel QoE metrics and evaluation methods to assess cybersickness. System architectures and algorithms will be extensively evaluated through simulation, emulation, and benchmarking using testbeds to assess the success of the proposed research.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. (CNS-1901137 & CNS-1900875). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.