The Effects of Jitter on the Perceptual Quality of Video

Mark Claypool and Jonathan Tanner

ACM Multimedia
Volume 2
Orlando, FL
November 1999

Today's powerful computers and networks present the opportunity for video across the Internet right to the desktop. However, Internet video often suffers from packet loss and jitter, degrading the user's perceived quality of the video. Understanding the effects of delay, loss and jitter on media quality is critical for choosing delay buffer sizes and packet repair techniques. While the effects of packet loss on perceptual quality are well-understood, to date there have not been careful user studies measuring the impact of jitter on perceptual quality. The major contributions of this work are carefully designed experiments that measure and compare the impact of both jitter and packet loss on perceptual quality of packet video. We find that jitter degrades perceptual quality nearly as much as does packet loss, and that perceptual quality degrades sharply even with low levels of jitter or packet loss as compared to perceptual quality for perfect video.