Definition of Levels for MPEG-4 Video Profiles (Stanley posted on November 20th, 2007 )

Table A.1 describes the MPEG-4 Visual levels for the Version 1 and Version 2 profiles only including natural visual (or video) data, this means the so-called MPEG-4 video profiles. Note that Level 0 for the Simple profile has been defined in the 2nd Extension to the 2nd Edition of the MPEG-4 Visual standard.

Table A.1 Levels for the MPEG-4 video profiles

Visual profile

Level

Typical visual session size

Max. number of objects 1

Maximum number objects per type

Max. unique quant. tables

Max. VMV buffer size (MB units)2

Max. VCV buffer size (MB)8

VCV decoder rate (MB/s) 4

VCV boundary MB decoder rate (MB/s)9

Max. total VBV buffer size (units of 16384 bits)5

Max. VOL VBV buffer size (units of 16384 bits)

Max. video packet length (bits)6

Max. sprite size (MB units)

Wavelet restric­tions

Max. bitrate (kbit/s)

Max. enhancement layers per object

Simple10

L0

QCIF

1

1 x Simple

1

198

99

1485

N.A.

10

10

2048

N. A.

N. A.

64

N. A.

Simple

L1

QCIF

4

4 x Simple

1

198

99

1485

N.A.

10

10

2048

N. A.

N. A.

64

N. A.

Simple

L2

CIF

4

4 x Simple

1

792

396

5940

N. A.

40

40

4096

N. A.

N. A.

128

N. A.

Simple

L3

CIF

4

4 x Simple

1

792

396

11880

N. A.

40

40

8192

N. A.

N. A.

384

N. A.

Advanced Real Time Simple

L1

QCIF

4

4 x Simple or Adv. Real Time Simple

1

198

99

1485

N.A.

10

10

8192

N. A.

N. A.

64

N. A.

Advanced Real Time Simple

L2

CIF

4

4 x Simple or Adv. Real Time Simple

1

792

396

5940

N. A.

40

40

16384

N. A.

N. A.

128

N. A.

Advanced Real Time Simple

L3

CIF

4

4 x Simple or Adv. Real Time Simple

1

792

396

11880

N. A.

40

40

16384

N. A.

N. A.

384

N. A.

Advanced Real Time Simple

L4

CIF

16

16 x Simple or Adv. Real Time Simple

1

792

396

11880

N. A.

80

80

16384

N. A.

N. A.

2000

N. A.

Simple Scalable

L1

CIF

4

4 x Simple or Simple Scalable

1

1782

495

7425

N. A.

40

40

2048

N. A.

N. A.

128

1 spatial or temporal enhancement layer

Simple Scalable3

L2

CIF

4

4 x Simple or Simple Scalable

1

3168

792

23760

N.A.

40

40

4096

N. A.

N. A.

256

1 spatial or temporal enhancement layer

Core

L1

QCIF

4

4 x Core or Simple

4

594

198

5940

2970

16

16

4096

N. A.

N. A.

384

1

Core

L2

CIF

16

16 x Core or Simple

4

2376

792

23760

11880

80

80

8192

N. A.

N. A.

2000

1

Advanced Core

L1

QCIF

4

4 x Core or Simple or Adv. Scalable Texture

4

594

198

5940

2970

16

8

4096

N. A.

see Table A.5

384

1

Advanced Core

L2

CIF

16

16 x Core or Simple or Adv. scalable Texture

4

2376

792

23760

11880

80

40

8192

N. A.

See Table A.5

2000

1

Core Scalable

L1

CIF

4

4 x Core or Simple or Core scalable or Simple Scalable

4

2376

792

14850

7425

64

64

4096

N.A.

N.A.

768

1

Core Scalable

L2

CIF

8

8 x Core or Simple or Core scalable or Simple

4

2970

990

29700

14850

80

80

4096

N.A.

N.A.

1500

1

Core Scalable

L3

CCIR601

16

16 x Core or Simple or Core scalable or Simple Scalable

4

12906

4032

120960

60480

80

80

16384

N. A.

N. A.

4000

2

Main

L2

CIF

16

16 x Main or Core or Simple

4

3960

1188

23760

11880

80

80

8192

1584

Scalable Texture Profile@L1

2000

1

Main

L3

CCIR 601

32

32 x Main or Core or Simple

4

11304

3240

97200

48600

320

320

16384

6480

Scalable Texture Profile@L1

15000

1

Main

L4

1920 x 1088

32

32 x Main or Core or Simple

4

65344

16320

489600

244800

760

760

16384

65280

Scalable Texture Profile@L2

38400

1

Advanced Coding Efficiency

L1

CIF

4

4 x Adv. Coding Efficiency or Core or Simple

4

1188

792

11880

5940

40

40

8192

N. A.

N. A.

384

1

Advanced Coding Efficiency

L2

CIF

16

16 x Adv. Coding Efficiency or Core or Simple

4

2376

1188

23760

11880

80

80

8192

N. A.

N. A.

2000

1

Advanced Coding Efficiency

L3

CCIR 601

32

32 x Adv. Coding Efficiency or Core or Simple

4

9720

3240

97200

48600

320

320

16384

N. A.

N. A.

15000

1

Advanced Coding Efficiency

L4

1920 x 1088

32

32 x Adv. Coding Efficiency or Core or Simple

4

48960

16320

489600

244800

760

760

16384

N. A.

N. A.

38400

1

N-Bit

L2

CIF

16

16 x Core or Simple or N-Bit

4

2376

792

23760

11880

80

80

8192

N. A.7

N. A.

2000

1

Notes:
  1. Enhancement layers are not counted as separate objects.
  2. The maximum VMV (Video Memory Verifier) buffer size is the bound on the memory (in macroblock units) which can be used by the VMV algorithm. This algorithm (see [MPEG4-2; subclause D.5]) models the pixel memory needed by the entire visual decoding process. This includes the memory needed for reference VOPs in the prediction of P, B, and S(GMC)-VOPs and the storage of the reconstructed VOPs until the time they are released by the decoder, plus the memory required to queue B-VOPs until composition occurs. For the profiles that contain more than one layer, the memory requirements include all base and enhancement layers. When belonging to different, overlapping objects, some of these macroblocks may overlay on the display; however separate memory is required (prior to composition) in the VMV.
  3. The conformance point for the base layer of the Simple Scalable Visual profile is the Simple Profile@L1 when Simple Scalable Profile@L1 is used and the Simple Profile@L2 when Simple Scalable Profile@L2 is used.
  4. The VCV (Video Complexity Verifier) decoder rate is the vcv_decoder_rate (H) referred in [MPEG4-2; subclause D.4]; this parameter is the number of macroblocks/second based on the typical spatial and temporal resolutions, as follows:
    • 1485 MBs/s corresponds to QCIF at 15Hz
    • 5940 MBs/s corresponds to CIF at 15 Hz and also twice QCIF at 30 Hz
    • 11880 MB/s corresponds to CIF at 30 Hz
    • 7425 MB/s corresponds to 1.25 times CIF at 15 Hz
    • 23760 MB/s corresponds to twice CIF at 30 Hz
    • 97200 MB/s corresponds to twice ITU-R 601 at 30 Hz
    • 489600 MB/s corresponds to twice 1920x1088 at 30 Hz
  5. The total (aggregated) vbv_buffer_size is the sum of the individual VBV buffer occupancies at any given time (in units of 16384 bits) for all VOLs of all VOs. This total VBV size is limited according to the profile and level.
  6. The maximum video packet length is defined as the maximum number of bits of data_partitioned_motion_shape_texture() in one video packet. The constraint applies only when the data-partitioning tool is enabled in the bitstream. When data partitioning is disabled, there is no limit on the size of video packet length.
  7. N. A. means Not Applicable.
  8. The maximum VCV buffer size (cumulative over all layers of all VOs) is twice the maximum number of macroblocks per VOP in the profile and level combination except for the Simple Visual Profile, Simple Scalable profile (Level 1) and Advanced Real Time Simple Profile. For the Simple Visual Profile and the Advanced Real Time Simple Profile, this value is the maximum number of macroblocks per VOP. For the Simple Scalable profile (Level 1), it is 1.25 times the maximum number of macroblocks per VOP. The limit applies to both the VCV buffer and the boundary MB VCV buffer.
  9. The VCV boundary MB decoder rate column bounds the number of macroblocks containing non trivial shape information (boundary, not transparent nor opaque). The VCV boundary MB decoder rate constrains the total number of boundary MBs in all VOLs, concurrently. Note that the boundary macroblocks are added to both the VCV and boundary MB VCV buffers.
  10. For the Simple Profile@Level 0, the following restrictions apply:
    • The maximum frame rate shall be 15 frames per second;
    • The maximum f_code shall be 1;
    • The intra_dc_vlc_threshold shall be 0;
    • The maximum horizontal luminance pixel resolution shall be 176 pels/line;
    • The maximum vertical luminance pixel resolution shall be 144 pels/VOP;
    • If AC prediction is used, the following restriction applies : QP value shall not be changed within a VOP (or within a video packet if video packets are used in a VOP). If AC prediction is not used, there are no restrictions to changing QP value.

Table A.2 describes the MPEG-4 Visual levels for the Studio profiles defined in the 1st Extension to the 2nd Edition of the MPEG-4 Visual standard [MPEG01a].

Table A.2 Levels for the Studio profiles

Visual profile

Level

Typical visual session formats1

Max. pixel depth

Max. number of objects

Max. number per type

Max. VMV buffer size (sample)2

Max. VCV buffer size (sample)3

VCV decoder rate (sample /s)

VCV boundary MB decoder rate (sample /s)

Max total VBV buffer size

Max VOL VBV buffer size

Max. video packet length (bits)

Max sprite size (sample)4

Wavelet restric­tions

Max bitrate (Mbit/s)

Max. enhancement layers per object

Simple Studio

L1

ITU-R601:4224

ITU-R601:444

10

1

1 x Simple Studio

1313280

1313280

33177600

33177600

576

576

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

180

N.A.

Simple Studio

L2

ITU-R709.60I:422

ITU-R601:444444

10

1

1 x Simple Studio

4194304

4194304

125,829120

125,829120

1920

1920

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

600

N.A.

Simple Studio

L3

ITU-R709. 60I:444

ITU-R709. 60I:4224

12

1

1 x Simple Studio

6291456

6291456

188,743680

188,743680

2880

2880

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

900

N.A.

Simple Studio

L4

ITU-R709. 60P:444

ITU-R709. 60I:444444

2Kx2Kx30P:444

12

1

1 x Simple Studio

12582912

12582912

377487360

377487360

4320

4320

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

1800

N.A.

Core Studio

L1

ITU-R601:4224

ITU-R601:444

10

4

4 x Core Studio or Simple Studio

5253120

2626560

66355200

66355200

576

576

N.A.

8294400

N.A.

90

N.A.

Core Studio

L2

ITU-R709.60I:422

ITU-R601:444444

10

4

4 x Core Studio or Simple Studio

16777216

8388608

251658240

251658240

1920

1920

N.A.

50135040

N.A.

300

N.A.

Core Studio

L3

ITU-R709. 60I:444

ITU-R709. 60I:4224

10

8

8 x Core Studio or Simple Studio

25165824

12582912

377487360

377487360

2880

2880

N.A.

75202560

N.A.

450

N.A.

Core Studio

L4

ITU-R709. 60P:444

ITU-R709. 60I:444444

2Kx2Kx30P:444

10

16

16 x Core Studio or Simple Studio

50331648

25165824

754974720

754974720

4320

4320

N.A.

150994944

N.A.

900

N.A.

Notes:

  1. ITU-R 709 is ITU-R BT. 709 and ITU-R 601 is ITU-R BT. 601; 444444 means 444(RGB) + 3 auxiliary channels; 4224 means 422(YUV)+ 1 auxiliary channel
  2. VMV is defined by the number of samples which belong to the bounding box of texture regardless shape information. VMV also includes auxiliary channel samples.
  3. VCV is defined by the number of samples which belong to the bounding box of texture regardless shape information. VCV also includes auxiliary channel samples.
  4. Maximum sprite size is defined by the number of samples for sprite memory.

Table A.3 describes the MPEG-4 Visual levels for the Advanced Simple and Fine Granularity Scalable profiles defined in the 2nd Extension to the 2nd Edition of the MPEG-4 Visual standard [MPEG01b].

Table A.3 Levels for the Advanced Simple and Fine Granularity Scalable (FGS) profiles

Visual profile

Level

Typical visual session size

Max. number of objects

Max. number per type

Max. unique quant. tables

Max. VMV buffer size (MB units)

Max. VCV buffer size (MB)

VCV decoder rate (MB/s)

Max. percentage of intra MBs with AC prediction in VCV buffer

Max total VBV buffer size (units of 16384 bits)

Max. VOL VBV buffer size (units of 16384 bits)

Max. video packet length (bits)

Maximum bitrate (kbit/s) 2

Maximum number of coded VOP-bps 3

Adv. Sim.

L0

176x144

1

1x AS or Simple

1

297

99

2970

100

10

10

2048

128

N.A.

Adv.Sim.

L1

176x144

4

4x AS or Simple

1

297

99

2970

100

10

10

2048

128

N.A.

Adv.Sim.

L2

352x288

4

4x AS or Simple

1

1188

396

5940

100

40

40

4096

384

N.A.

Adv.Sim.

L3

352x288

4

4x AS or Simple

1

1188

396

11880

100

40

40

4096

768

N.A.

Adv.Sim.

L4

352x576

4

4x AS or Simple

1

2376

792

23760

50

80

80

8192

3000

N.A.

Adv.Sim.

L5

720x576

4

4x AS or Simple

1

4860

1620

48600

25

112

112

16384

8000

N.A.

FGS

L0

176x144

1

1x AS or FGS or Simple

1

297

99

2970

100

10

10

2048

128

4

FGS

L1

176x144

4

4x AS or FGS or Simple

1

297

99

2970

100

10

10

2048

128

4

FGS

L2

352x288

4

4x AS or Simple

1

1188

396

5940

100

40

40

4096

384

4

FGS

L3

352x288

4

4x AS or FGS or Simple

1

1188

396

11880

100

40

40

4096

768

4

FGS

L4

352x576

4

4x AS or FGS or Simple

1

2376

792

23760

50

80

80

8192

3000

4

FGS

L5

720x576

4

4x AS or FGS or Simple

1

4860

1620

48600

25

112

112

16384

8000

4

Notes:

  1. The following restriction applies to Level 0 of Advanced Simple profile and FGS profile: if AC prediction is used, the QP value shall not be changed within a VOP (or within a video packet if video packets are used in a VOP). If AC prediction is not used, there are no restrictions to changing the QP value.
  2. For the FGS profile, this column is the maximum base-layer bitrate.
  3. The maximum number of coded VOP-bps takes into consideration the shifted bits after applying frequency weighting and/or selective enhancement.
  4. The number of FGS, FGST, or FGS-FGST layers is always one. If the FGS layer and the FGST layer are separated, the number of total enhancement layers is two.
  5. The interlace tools are not used for levels L0, L1, L2, and L3 of the Advanced Simple and FGS profiles.
  6. It is inherent in the FGS profile that the base and enhancement layers are tightly coupled to each other. To avoid unnecessary memory storage, the following constraints apply to the decoding time relationship of the enhancement layer and the base layer:
    • Decoding and composition (or presentation in a no-compositor decoder) of each FGS or FGST VOP shall be performed in the same time unit.
    • Decoding of each FGS and FGST VOP shall be performed immediately after the reference base layer VOP(s) are decoded without violating the above constraint.
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