Learned Video Compression for YUV 4:2:0 Content Using Flow-based Conditional Inter-frame Coding

This paper proposes a learning-based video compression framework for variable-rate coding on YUV 4:2:0 content. Most existing learning-based video compression models adopt the traditional hybrid-based coding architecture, which involves temporal prediction followed by residual coding. However, recent studies have shown that residual coding is sub-optimal from the information-theoretic perspective. In addition, most existing models are optimized with respect to RGB content. Furthermore, they require separate models for variable-rate coding. To address these issues, this work presents an attempt to incorporate the conditional inter-frame coding for YUV 4:2:0 content. We introduce a conditional flow-based inter-frame coder to improve the inter-frame coding efficiency. To adapt our codec to YUV 4:2:0 content, we adopt a simple strategy of using space-to-depth and depth-to-space conversions. Lastly, we employ a rate-adaption net to achieve variable-rate coding without training multiple models. Experimental results show that our model performs better than x265 on UVG and MCL-JCV datasets in terms of PSNR-YUV. However, on the more challenging datasets from ISCAS'22 GC, there is still ample room for improvement. This insufficient performance is due to the lack of inter-frame coding capability at a large GOP size and can be mitigated by increasing the model capacity and applying an error propagation-aware training strategy.

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