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Continuous improvement of sound and image: Conference on the quality of multimedia experience

Around 100 international researchers will convene at the Seepark Hotel Klagenfurt from July 3rd to 5th 2013, to attend the fifth international workshop on Quality of Multimedia Experience (QoMEX).

Amongst other things, they will explore how the quality experienced during the consumption of media can be made measurable. New technologies and products will be presented at the “QUALINET Industry Forum Expo”.

For some, the quality provided by a 20-year-old TV set is still perfectly adequate, while others express dissatisfaction with the grainy resolution of videos viewed on tablet PCs. “The range of perceptions of quality associated with the consumption of multimedia content are as varied as the people themselves”, workshop organiser Christian Timmerer reports. “In order to ensure that product innovations are tailored to consumer demands, we need methods of measurement”, he adds. Researchers across the globe are working on the calculation of quality metrics, which are based on subjective tests, but simultaneously permit objective assessments.

“Most differences only become apparent, when two levels of quality are placed side by side”, Timmerer explains. Conducting research in this field brings technicians very close to the realm of perceptual psychology and collaborations with experts from this field are frequent. In answer to the question whether film and TV, for example, might still offer room for quality improvement, even beyond HD and Ultra-HD, Timmerer shares his thoughts: “Many things are only visible to the trained eye. However, mankind is evolving alongside the media it produces, and people soon become accustomed to new standards.” He sees potential for improvement in relation to the achievable resolution, as well as in relation to the frame rate (image refresh rate). While, so far, 24 images are usually shown per second, some films featuring a high frame rate (HFR), show 48 images per second. Similarly, broader colour spaces can offer a more vivid experience of colour.
Timmerer and his colleagues at the Institute of Information Technology at the Alpen-Adria-Universität are also working on video effects involving additional light, air movement and vibration. “In this area, we are working to determine — as objectively as possible — how these effects are perceived and experienced by the viewers”, Timmerer reports.

QoMEX is the flagship scientific event co-sponsored by the European Network “COST Action IC1003 Qualinet” and the IEEE Signal Processing Society. After taking place in San Diego, CA, US (2009), Trondheim, NO (2010), Mechelen, BE (2011) and Yarra Valley, AU (2012), it will be hosted in Austria for the first time in 2013.

As part of the event, the “QUALINET Industry Forum” will take place on the 4th of July, providing representatives from the fields of science and industry with an opportunity to discuss innovations. Displayed in an exhibition setting, product innovations will be presented on site: These will include technologies, products and research results relating to the topics of High Dynamic Range (HDR), 3D Audio/Video (3DA/3DV) and Ultra High Definition (UHD).

Dr. Romy Müller | idw
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