AMD Patent | Real-Time And Low Latency Packetization Protocol For Live Compressed Video Data

Patent: Real-Time And Low Latency Packetization Protocol For Live Compressed Video Data

Publication Number: 20190182308

Publication Date: 20190613

Applicants: AMD

Abstract

Systems, apparatuses, and methods for implementing real-time, low-latency packetization protocols for live compressed video data are disclosed. A wireless transmitter includes at least a codec and a media access control (MAC) layer unit. In order for the codec to communicate with the MAC layer unit, the codec encodes the compression ratio in a header embedded inside the encoded video stream. The MAC layer unit extracts the compression ratio from the header and determines a modulation coding scheme (MCS) for transferring the video stream based on the compression ratio. The MAC layer unit and the codec also implement a feedback loop such that the MAC layer unit can command the codec to adjust the compression ratio. Since the changes to the video might not be implemented immediately, the MAC layer unit relies on the header to determine when the video data is coming in with the requested compression ratio.

BACKGROUND

Description of the Related Art

[0001] A wireless communication link can be used to send a video stream from a computer (or other device) to a virtual reality (VR) headset (or head mounted display (HMD). Transmitting the VR video stream wirelessly eliminates the need for a cable connection between the computer and the user wearing the HMD, thus allowing for unrestricted movement by the user. A traditional cable connection between a computer and HMD typically includes one or more data cables and one or more power cables. Allowing the user to move around without a cable tether and without having to be cognizant of avoiding the cable creates a more immersive VR system. Sending the VR video stream wirelessly also allows the VR system to be utilized in a wider range of applications than previously possible.

[0002] However, a VR application is a low latency application which does not typically buffer video data. For example, when the user moves their head, this is detected by the HMD or console, and then the subsequently rendered video frames are updated to reflect the new viewing position of the user. Additionally, changing conditions of the link can affect video quality. When the link deteriorates and video data is lost or corrupted, this can result in a poor user experience. Accordingly, improved techniques for wireless streaming of data are desired.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003] The advantages of the methods and mechanisms described herein may be better understood by referring to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0004] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of one embodiment of a system.

[0005] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of one embodiment of a wireless virtual reality (VR) system.

[0006] FIG. 3 is a block diagram of one embodiment of a transmitter.

[0007] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of one embodiment of a MAC layer unit.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a generalized flow diagram illustrating one embodiment of a method for selecting a MCS level.

[0009] FIG. 6 is a generalized flow diagram illustrating one embodiment of a method for implementing a codec.

[0010] FIG. 7 is a generalized flow diagram illustrating one embodiment of a method for selecting a MCS level based on a compression ratio.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0011] In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the methods and mechanisms presented herein. However, one having ordinary skill in the art should recognize that the various embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. In some instances, well-known structures, components, signals, computer program instructions, and techniques have not been shown in detail to avoid obscuring the approaches described herein. It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the figures have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements.

[0012] Various systems, apparatuses, methods, and computer-readable mediums for implementing real-time and low latency packetization protocols for live compressed video data are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, a wireless communication system includes a transmitter and a receiver communicating over a wireless link. In one embodiment, the transmitter is configured to encode a video stream and wirelessly transmit the encoded video stream to the receiver. In one embodiment, the video stream is part of a virtual reality (VR) rendered environment.

[0013] In order for the codec to communicate with the media access control (MAC) layer unit, the codec encodes information in headers embedded inside the encoded video stream. For example, to allow the media access control (MAC) layer unit to know the compression ratio of the video, the codec stores an indication of the compression ratio in the header of a chunk of compressed video data. The MAC layer unit extracts the compression ratio and other information (e.g., QoS, wireless frame packaging) from the header. If the compression ratio is greater than a programmable threshold, then the MAC uses a relatively low modulation coding scheme (MCS) level to transfer the video stream on the wireless link. The MAC layer unit and the codec also implement a feedback loop such that the MAC layer unit can tell the codec to adjust the compression settings used to compress the video to match the available bandwidth on the wireless link.

[0014] For example, the MAC layer unit can request that the codec increase the compression ratio in order to decrease the bandwidth utilization on the wireless link. When the MAC layer unit requests for the codec to perform a specific action, there is typically some latency before the action is taken. Accordingly, the changes to the compressed video data might not be implemented right away, and the MAC layer unit relies on the information in the header to determine when the video data is coming in with the requested bandwidth. In one embodiment, in a chunk of compressed video data, if the chunk is 1000 bytes, the first 64 bytes of the 1000 bytes stores the header. In other embodiments, the size of the header can vary. In one embodiment, a delimiter is used to indicate the boundary of the header. Other information in the header includes the ID of the current compressed video block, the fovation map (i.e., where the eye is focused), color coding, subsampling, etc. At the receiver, if the receiver does not receive a block of data with a particular block ID, then the receiver can utilize various recovery techniques to recover the missing block of data.

[0015] Referring now to FIG. 1, a block diagram of one embodiment of a system 100 is shown. System 100 includes at least a first communications device (e.g., transmitter 105) and a second communications device (e.g., receiver 110) operable to communicate with each other wirelessly. It is noted that receiver 110 can also transmit data and/or acknowledgments to transmitter 105. Accordingly, transmitter 105 and receiver 110 can also be referred to as transceivers. In one embodiment, transmitter 105 and receiver 110 communicate wirelessly over the unlicensed 60 Gigahertz (GHz) frequency band. For example, transmitter 105 and receiver 110 can communicate in accordance with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ad standard (i.e., WiGig). In other embodiments, transmitter 105 and receiver 110 can communicate wirelessly over other frequency bands and/or by complying with other wireless communication standards.

[0016] Wireless communication devices that operate within extremely high frequency (EHF) bands, such as the 60 GHz frequency band, are able to transmit and receive signals using relatively small antennas. However, such signals are subject to high atmospheric attenuation when compared to transmissions over lower frequency bands. In order to reduce the impact of such attenuation and boost communication range, EHF devices typically incorporate beamforming technology. For example, the IEEE 802.11ad specification details a beamforming training procedure, also referred to as sector-level sweep (SLS), during which a wireless station tests and negotiates the best transmit and/or receive antenna combinations with a remote station. In various embodiments, transmitter 105 and receiver 110 are configured to perform periodic beamforming training procedures to determine the optimal transmit and/or receive antenna combinations for wireless data transmission.

[0017] Transmitter 105 and receiver 110 are representative of any type of communication devices and/or computing devices. For example, in various embodiments, transmitter 105 and/or receiver 110 can be a mobile phone, tablet, computer, server, television, game console, head-mounted display (HMD), another type of display, router, or other types of computing or communication devices. In various embodiments, system 100 is configured to execute latency sensitive applications. For example, in one embodiment, system 100 executes a virtual reality (VR) application for wirelessly transmitting frames of a rendered virtual environment from transmitter 105 to receiver 110. In other embodiments, other types of latency sensitive applications can be implemented by system 100 that take advantage of the methods and mechanisms described herein.

[0018] In one embodiment, transmitter 105 includes at least radio frequency (RF) transceiver module 125, processor 130, memory 135, and antenna 140. RF transceiver module 125 is configured to transmit and receive RF signals. In one embodiment, RF transceiver module 125 is a mm-wave transceiver module operable to wirelessly transmit and receive signals over one or more channels in the 60 GHz band. RF transceiver module 125 converts baseband signals into RF signals for wireless transmission, and RF transceiver module 125 converts RF signals into baseband signals for the extraction of data by transmitter 105. It is noted that RF transceiver module 125 is shown as a single unit for illustrative purposes. It should be understood that RF transceiver module 125 can be implemented with any number of different units (e.g., chips) depending on the embodiment. Similarly, processor 130 and memory 135 are representative of any number and type of processors and memory devices, respectively, that can be implemented as part of transmitter 105.

[0019] Transmitter 105 also includes antenna 140 for transmitting and receiving RF signals. Antenna 140 represents one or more antennas, such as a phased array, a single element antenna, a set of switched beam antennas, etc., that can be configured to change the directionality of the transmission and reception of radio signals. As an example, antenna 140 includes one or more antenna arrays, where the amplitude or phase for each antenna within an antenna array can be configured independently of other antennas within the array. Although antenna 140 is shown as being external to transmitter 105, it should be understood that antenna 140 can be included internally within transmitter 105 in various embodiments. Additionally, it should be understood that transmitter 105 can also include any number of other components which are not shown to avoid obscuring the figure. Similar to transmitter 105, the components implemented within receiver 110 include at least RF transceiver module 145, processor 150, memory 155, and antenna 160, which are similar to the components described above for transmitter 105. It should be understood that receiver 110 can also include or be coupled to other components (e.g., a display).

[0020] The link between transmitter 105 and receiver 110 has capacity characteristics that fluctuate with variations in the environment. In various embodiments, transmitter 105 is configured to reduce the amount of data that is sent over the link by compressing the video data prior to transmission. In one embodiment, transmitter 105 adjusts the compression settings that are utilized for compressing the video data based on the fluctuating capacity characteristics of the wireless link. In one embodiment, transmitter 105 includes at least a codec for compressing the video data and a media access control (MAC) layer unit for modulating the compressed video data in preparation for transmitting the compressed video data wirelessly. It is noted that a “codec” can also be referred to as an “encoder” herein.

[0021] The codec is configured to compress video data and then send compressed video data to the MAC layer unit. The codec is configured to receive frames of a video stream and compress the frames. The codec can send a chunk of the compressed frame at a time to the MAC layer unit. In one embodiment, after compressing a frame of the video stream or a portion of the frame, the codec is configured to calculate a compression ratio of the size of the uncompressed video data compared to the compressed video data. Alternatively, the codec can calculate the compression rate, which can be expressed as a percentage, with the percentage indicating the size of the compressed video data compared to the original, uncompressed video data.

[0022] Next, after calculating the amount of compression that was achieved (e.g., compression ratio, compression rate), the codec embeds an indication of the amount of compression in a header that is included with each chunk of compressed video data. The codec can also store additional information (e.g., fovation map, color coding information, subsampling information) in the header. Then, the codec sends each chunk of compressed video data to the MAC layer unit. When the MAC layer unit receives a chunk of compressed video data from the codec, the MAC layer unit extracts the header from chunk of compressed video data. The MAC layer unit retrieves the indication of the compression ratio, and then the MAC layer unit utilizes the compression ratio when determining which modulation coding scheme (MCS) level to utilize for modulating the compressed video data for transmission over the wireless link.

[0023] In one embodiment, the MAC layer unit provides feedback to the codec to instruct the codec to change how the video data is compressed. When the codec performs an action in response to feedback from the MAC layer, the codec embeds information in the header in the coded video stream to inform the MAC layer unit of the actions that the codec has taken (e.g., a change in the compression ratio). When the MAC layer unit sends a request to the codec, there is typically some latency before the codec performs an action in response to the request. For example, based on a change in the link condition, the MAC layer unit can command the codec to decrease the compression ratio, but the codec may wait a few frames before decreasing the compression ratio. Therefore, when the MAC layer unit receives a block of compressed data and the MAC layer unit expects a first compression ratio but instead receives video compressed at a second compression ratio, the MAC layer unit needs to be aware of this situation for the few frames before the compression ratio is changed as requested, and the codec uses the header to notify the MAC layer unit of the compression ratio (as well as other information).

[0024] Turning now to FIG. 2, a block diagram of one embodiment of a wireless virtual reality (VR) system 200 is shown. System 200 includes at least computer 210 and head-mounted display (HMD) 220. Computer 210 is representative of any type of computing device which includes one or more processors, memory devices, input/output (I/O) devices, RF components, antennas, and other components indicative of a personal computer or other computing device. In other embodiments, other computing devices, besides a personal computer, can be utilized to send video data wirelessly to head-mounted display (HMD) 220. For example, computer 210 may be a gaming console, smart phone, set top box, television set, video streaming device, wearable device, a component of a theme park amusement ride, or otherwise.

[0025] Computer 210 and HMD 220 each include circuitry and/or components to communicate wirelessly. It should be understood that while computer 210 is shown as having an external antenna, this is shown merely to illustrate that the video data is being sent wirelessly. It should be understood that computer 210 can have an antenna which is internal to the external case of computer 210. Additionally, while computer 210 can be powered using a wired power connection, HMD 220 is typically battery powered. Alternatively, computer 210 can be a laptop computer powered by a battery.

[0026] In one embodiment, computer 210 includes circuitry configured to dynamically render a representation of a VR environment to be presented to a user wearing HMD 220. For example, in one embodiment, computer 210 includes one or more graphics processing units (GPUs) to render a VR environment. In other embodiments, computer 210 can include other types of processors, including a central processing unit (CPU), application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), field programmable gate array (FPGA), digital signal processor (DSP), or other processor types. HMD 220 includes circuitry to receive and decode a compressed bit stream sent by computer 210 to generate frames of the rendered VR environment. HMD 220 then drives the generated frames to the display integrated within HMD 220.

[0027] After rendering a frame of a virtual environment video stream, computer 210 encodes (i.e., compresses) the rendered frame and then sends the encoded frame wirelessly to HMD 220. In one embodiment, a MAC layer unit of computer 210 determines how much each rendered frame should be compressed based on the available bandwidth on the wireless link. Then, the MAC layer unit sends a request to the codec to compress each rendered frame to match the available bandwidth on the wireless link.

[0028] The codec compresses each rendered frame and then sends an indication of the compression ratio in a header with each chunk of compressed data. The MAC layer unit selects a MCS level for modulating and sending the compressed data over the wireless link to HMD 220. It is noted that a “MCS level” can also be referred to as a “MCS index”.

[0029] For example, a low MCS level such as MCS level 0 using binary phase shift keying (BPSK) encodes a single bit per symbol and is a robust modulation since it takes a higher amount of noise or distortion to make the demodulator reach an incorrect decision as compared to a less reliable MCS. MCS level 0 offers protection against channel errors at the expense of a lower transmission rate. Other MCS levels utilize other types of modulation. For example, MCS level 2 uses quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) modulation, MCS level 4 uses 16 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), and MCS level 7 uses 64-QAM. Generally speaking, as the MCS level increases, the bit rate increases while the resiliency of the signal decreases. In other words, higher resilience and lower data rates are achieved with relatively low MCS levels while lower resilience and higher data rates are achieved with relatively high MCS levels.

[0030] Referring now to FIG. 3, a block diagram of one embodiment of logic of a transmitter 300 is shown. In one embodiment, the logic of transmitter 300 is included within transmitter 105 (of FIG. 1). In another embodiment, the logic of transmitter 300 is included within computer 210 (of FIG. 2). In one embodiment, transmitter 300 include video compression engine 310, media access control (MAC) layer unit 330, RF transceiver module 340, and antenna array 345. Video compression engine 310 can also be referred to as a codec or encoder. Video compression engine 310 and MAC layer unit 330 can be implemented with any suitable combination of hardware and/or software. Transmitter 300 can also include other logic that is not shown in FIG. 3 to avoid obscuring the figure.

[0031] Video compression engine 310 is configured to receive input video data and to generate a chunk of compressed video data 315 for each given portion of the input video data. In one embodiment, each chunk of compressed video data 315 corresponds to a single frame of the input video data. In another embodiment, each chunk of compressed video data 315 corresponds to a portion of a single frame of the input video data. Each chunk of compressed video data 315 includes a header 315A, delimiter 315B, and compressed video data 315C. Header 315A is expanded to show the components that are located in chunk 315 prior to delimiter 315B. Header 315A includes chunk (or block) identifier (ID) 318, compression ratio 320, fovation map 322, color coding settings 324, subsampling settings 326, and other parameters 328. In other embodiments, header 315A can include other parameters and/or header 315A can be formatted differently. In one embodiment, the compression ratio is defined as the ratio between the uncompressed size of a video frame and the compressed size of the video frame. For example, if video compression engine 310 compresses a video frame from a size of 10 megabytes (MB) to 2 MB, the compression ratio for this given video frame is 5. A compression ratio of 5 can also be expressed as 5:1 or 5/1.

[0032] MAC layer unit 330 is configured to extract the header 315A from each received chunk of compressed video data 315. MAC layer unit 330 is configured to utilize the compression ratio 320 when determining how to modulate the chunk of compressed video data 315. Then, MAC layer unit 330 provides the modulated data to RF transceiver module 340 and antenna array 345 to be sent wirelessly to the receiver (e.g., HMD 220 of FIG. 2).

[0033] For example, if the compression ratio is below a given threshold, then MAC layer unit 330 can select a first MCS level for modulating the compressed video data. Otherwise, if the compression ratio is above the given threshold, then MAC layer unit 330 can utilize a second MCS level for modulating the chunk of compressed video data 315, wherein the second MCS level less than the first MCS level. MAC layer unit 330 can compare the compression ratio to any number of thresholds and choose a MCS level for modulating the compressed video data 315C based on which two thresholds the compression ratio falls between.

[0034] In various embodiments, MAC layer unit 330 is configured to provide feedback 335 to video compression engine 310. For example, in one embodiment, MAC layer unit 330 sends a request to video compression engine 310 to change the compression ratio of the compressed video data 315B. In one embodiment, MAC layer unit 330 requests for video compression engine 310 to adjust the compression ratio based on detecting a change in the link condition. For example, if the link condition deteriorates, MAC layer unit 330 can request that video compression engine 310 increase the compression ratio so that there is less data to send on the link. When MAC layer unit 330 requests an adjustment in the compression ratio, video compression engine 310 can continue to compress several chunks of data before the change is actually implemented. Accordingly, MAC layer unit 330 extracts the header 315A and retrieves compression ratio 320 to determine the actual compression ratio 320 that was achieved for the compressed video data 315C. MAC layer unit 330 can then determine how to modulate the compressed video data 315B based on the actual compression ratio 320.

[0035] Turning now to FIG. 4, a block diagram of one embodiment of a MAC layer unit 400 is shown. In one embodiment, the logic of MAC layer unit 400 is included within MAC layer unit 330 (of FIG. 3). In one embodiment, MAC layer unit 400 includes control unit 410, MCS selection unit 440, and modulation unit 450. MAC layer unit 400 is configured to extract compression ratio 405 from a header (e.g., header 315A of FIG. 3) which is included within a given chunk of compressed video data. MCS level selection unit 440 is configured to utilize the compression ratio 405 to determine which MCS level to utilize when modulating the compressed video data 420 which is sent over a wireless link to the receiver (not shown). An indication of the selected MCS level is provided to modulation unit 450 for modulating the compressed video data 420 which will be sent over the wireless link.

[0036] For example, in one embodiment, MCS level selection unit 440 includes or is coupled to table 445. Table 445 includes entries that map a given compression ratio to a corresponding MCS level. For example, if the compression ratio is low (i.e., less than a first threshold), then a MCS level of 7 is utilized when modulating the compressed video data 420. Alternatively, if the compression ratio is medium (i.e., greater than the first threshold but less than a second threshold), then a MCS level of 4 is utilized. Still further, if the compression ratio is high (i.e., greater than the second threshold), then a MCS level of 1 is utilized. It should be understood that the mappings of compression ratio to MCS level shown in table 445 are merely indicative of one particular embodiment. In other embodiments, other mappings can be utilized. Also, in further embodiments, table 445 can have other numbers of entries to map compression ratios to different MCS levels. Additionally, in still further embodiments, MCS level selection unit 440 can utilize other techniques for mapping compression ratios to MCS levels.

[0037] In one embodiment, control unit 410 is configured to receive link quality parameters 415 which are generated by beamforming training module 430. In one embodiment, beamforming training module 430 is configured to monitor the quality of the wireless link during beamforming training and generate link quality parameters 415 based on the quality of the link. The link quality parameters 415 give control unit 410 a measure of the current link quality of the link. Based on the current link quality, control unit 410 is configured to provide feedback to the codec (e.g., video compression engine 310) to request that the codec adjust the compression ratio of the compressed video data. For example, if the current link quality is poor (i.e., less than a threshold), then control unit 410 can request that the codec increase the compression ratio.

[0038] Referring now to FIG. 5, one embodiment of a method 500 for selecting a MCS level for modulating video data is shown. For purposes of discussion, the steps in this embodiment and those of FIG. 6-7 are shown in sequential order. However, it is noted that in various embodiments of the described methods, one or more of the elements described are performed concurrently, in a different order than shown, or are omitted entirely. Other additional elements are also performed as desired. Any of the various systems or apparatuses described herein are configured to implement method 500.

[0039] A MAC layer receives a chunk of compressed video data from a codec (block 505). Next, the MAC layer retrieves the compression ratio from a header of the chunk of compressed video data (block 510). Then, the MAC layer selects a MCS level for modulating the compressed video data based on the compression ratio (block 515). If another chunk of compressed video data has been received (conditional block 520, “yes” leg), then method 500 returns to block 510. If the MAC layer has not received another chunk of compressed video data (conditional block 520, “no” leg), then the MAC layer monitors the condition of the wireless link (block 525).

[0040] If the wireless link condition has changed (conditional block 530, “yes” leg), then the MAC layer sends feedback to the codec to change the compression settings used for compressing the raw video frame data (block 535). After block 535, method 500 returns to conditional block 520. If the wireless link condition has not changed (conditional block 530, “no” leg), then method 500 returns to conditional block 520.

[0041] Turning now to FIG. 6, one embodiment of a method 600 for implementing a codec is shown. A codec receives a given video frame to be compressed (block 605). The codec compresses the given video frame using a given set of video compression settings (block 610). Next, the codec calculates the compression ratio that was achieved for the given video frame (block 615). Next, the codec stores an indication of the compression ratio in a header of a chunk of compressed video data (block 620). Then, the codec sends the chunk of compressed video data with the header to the MAC layer unit (block 625). If the codec receives a request from the MAC layer unit to change the video compression settings (conditional block 630, “yes” leg), then the codec adjusts the compression settings based on the request from the MAC layer unit (block 635). Otherwise, if the codec does not receive a request from the MAC layer unit to change the video compression settings (conditional block 630, “no” leg), then the codec maintains the existing compression settings (block 640). After blocks 635 and 640, method 600 returns to block 605.

[0042] Referring now to FIG. 7, one embodiment of a method 700 for selecting a MCS level based on a compression ratio is shown. A MAC layer unit (e.g., MAC layer unit 330 of FIG. 3) receives a chunk of compressed video data from a codec (e.g., video compression engine 310 of FIG. 3) (block 705). The MAC layer unit retrieves an indication of the compression ratio from a header of the chunk of compressed video data (block 710). If the compression ratio is greater than a threshold (conditional block 715, “yes” leg), then the MAC layer unit utilizes a first MCS level for modulating the compressed video data (block 720). Otherwise, if the compression ratio is less than or equal to the threshold (conditional block 715, “no” leg), then the MAC layer unit utilizes a second MCS level for modulating the compressed video data, wherein the second MCS level is higher than the first MCS level (block 725). After blocks 720 and 725, method 700 ends. It is noted that in other embodiments, method 700 can be modified so that the MAC layer unit compares the compression ratio to any number of other thresholds and selects from more than two different MCS levels based on the comparisons.

[0043] In various embodiments, program instructions of a software application are used to implement the methods and/or mechanisms described herein. For example, program instructions executable by a general or special purpose processor are contemplated. In various embodiments, such program instructions can be represented by, a high level programming language. In other embodiments, the program instructions can be compiled from a high level programming language to a binary, intermediate, or other form. Alternatively, program instructions can be written that describe the behavior or design of hardware. Such program instructions can be represented by a high-level programming language, such as C. Alternatively, a hardware design language (HDL) such as Verilog can be used. In various embodiments, the program instructions are stored on any of a variety of non-transitory computer readable storage mediums. The storage medium is accessible by a computing system during use to provide the program instructions to the computing system for program execution. Generally speaking, such a computing system includes at least one or more memories and one or more processors configured to execute program instructions.

[0044] It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments are only non-limiting examples of implementations. Numerous variations and modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art once the above disclosure is fully appreciated. It is intended that the following claims be interpreted to embrace all such variations and modifications.

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