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Closing the gap: human factors in cross-device media synchronization

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)180-195
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date12/12/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The continuing growth in the mobile phone arena, particularly in terms of device capabilities and ownership is having a transformational impact on media consumption. It is now possible to consider orchestrated multi-stream experiences delivered across many devices, rather than the playback of content from a single device. However, there are significant challenges in realising such a vision, particularly around the management of synchronicity between associated media streams. This is compounded by the heterogeneous nature of user devices, the networks upon which they operate, and the perceptions of users. This paper introduces IMSync, an open inter-stream synchronization framework that incorporates human factors to capture the quality of experience (QoE). IMSync adopts efficient monitoring and control mechanisms, alongside a QoE perception model that has been derived from a series of subjective user experiments. Based on an observation of lag, IMSync is able to use this model of impact to determine an appropriate strategy to catch-up with playback whilst minimising the potential detrimental impacts on a users QoE. The impact model adopts a balanced approach: trading off the potential impact on QoE of initiating a re-synchronization process compared with retaining the current levels of non-synchronicity, in order to maintain high levels of QoE. A series of experiments demonstrate the potential of the framework as a basis for enabling new, immersive media experiences.