Web-based delivery of medical multimedia contents using an MPEG-4 system

Tomoko Yamakawa, Shin-Ichi Toyabe, Pengyu Cao, Kouhei Akazawa
Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 2004, 75 (3): 259-64
Moving picture expert group compression standard version 4 (MPEG-4) is a standard for video coding aimed at multimedia applications. MPEG-4 was developed to enable high compression rate in a low bitrate transmission via the Internet or mobile telecommunications. Although these characteristics of MPEG-4 are suitable for telemedicine, little is known about the possibility of using this technology in the field of telemedicine. We evaluated the quality of MPEG-4-encoded medical video streams and compared them with original analogue videos and audio-video-interleave (AVI) files. Although MPEG-4 video streams have the advantage of small file size, they were found to be inferior to original videos and AVI files in terms of smoothness of motion pictures, sharpness of images and clearness of sound. Illegibility of characters was a major problem in MPEG-4 files. The score for total impression of MPEG-4 files was significantly lower than those for AVI files. The results of this study suggest that the quality of MPEG-4-encoded video streams is not adequate for telemedicine.

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