Scalable Video Coding (SVC) has been raised as a promising technique to enable flexible videotransmission for mobile users with heterogeneous terminals and varying channel capacities. In this paper, we design an adaptive layer switching algorithm for on-demand scalable video service based on receiver’s buffer underflow probability (BUP). Since the low quality of channel may lead to a low buffer fullness, the buffer fullness is an indicator for reflecting the channel condition, and we define BUP for characterizing the mismatch between the video bitrate and the channel throughput. Accordingly, the adaptive SVC transmission problem is formulated as the adaptive adjustment of video layers based on BUP. This allows us to optimize the attainable video quality, while keeping BUP below a desired level.
In order to estimate BUP, we derive an analytical model based on the large deviation principles. Then, an online layer switching algorithm is proposed using this estimation model, which is capable of accommodating different channel qualities without any prior knowledge of the channel variations and of the video characteristics. We further introduce a perturbation-based layer switching approach for reducing the quality fluctuating issue caused by frequent layer switches, thus improving the viewer’s QoE. A system prototype is implemented to evaluate the success of the proposed method.We also conduct simulations in multiuser scenarios with real video traces and the results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm is capable of improving the playback experience, while keeping a low playback interruption rate and quality variation.