Scalable High Efficiency Video Coding (SHVC), a new ISO/ITU video compression Standard is an ideal candidate for delivering Ultra High Definition (UHD) or 4k resolution content to the rapidly growing high resolution clients, especially when there is a mix of clients of SD, HD and UHD resolutions. This is especially true for video streaming in overlay or over-the-top (OTT) networks using HTTP or adaptive bitrate streaming technologies. SHVC adds scalability layers on top of the ultra-efficient HEVC widely considered to be twice as good as the currently widely deployed Advanced Video Coding (AVC or H.264) Standard.
In addition, SHVC promises scalability through lightweight (mostly syntactical) additions to HEVC. This paper investigates both the savings and the overhead of encoding UHD content as an SHVC enhancement layer with AVC or HEVC HD base layer, primarily focusing on the spatial scalability aspect of SHVC. Also, we briefly investigate adopting existing rate allocation technique for picking optimal bitrates for base and enhancement layers for a given distribution of HD and UHD clients.