OBM Guarantees: Understanding how to deliver a high-quality Object-Based Media experience

   School of Computing & Communications

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  Prof Nicolas Race  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A fully funded PhD iCASE studentship for UK applicants, including fees and enhanced stipend is available in the School of Computing & Communications at Lancaster University. The studentship is supported by British Telecom (BT) and will be jointly supervised by Lancaster University and BT.

Object-Based Media (OBM) allows the content of TV programmes and other media experiences to be customisable for each individual viewer. By decomposing and delivering the media content as multiple and individually separate objects, the viewer can effectively act as their own broadcast director and determine their own viewing experience.

OBM has been the subject of research by BT, the BBC and others for several years and, with personalisation being seen as the primary driver of growth in the $2.3Tn global media industry (PWC, 2020), broadcasters and content service providers are beginning to adopt object-based approaches as a means of differentiating mainstream TV production. However, the OBM community also recognises that significant challenges exist in establishing end-to-end workflows for object-based experiences, from capture to production to delivery at scale.

While there are well-established standards and techniques for measuring the perceptual quality of individual audio-visual components, there is limited work studying methods for measuring the perceived quality of object-based experiences across different user contexts (including devices, user preferences/interactions, connectivity and user environment). Hence, there is a need to combine established techniques with new studies on the perceptual impact of new types of rendering artefact which arise from the personalised assembly of different objects (e.g. combining different display resolutions and sound sources).

What will the PhD involve?

  • Background research into the state of the art in the perceptual quality measurement of audio-visual media
  • Background research into delivery platforms for OBM and the challenges of combining platforms for cost-effective delivery
  • Experimental identification of the parameters of an OBM presentation which affect perceptual quality
  • Development and evaluation of new perceptual quality measures for OBM
  • Development and evaluation of tools which can automatically measure the quality of an OBM presentation and identify/predict poor customer experience. These could potentially be extended to provide a feedback loop to the OBM delivery system to better balance cost and quality

About You

You will have a 1st or 2:1 (Hons) degree in Computer Science (or related field), or a Masters (or equivalent) in a relevant engineering or scientific discipline or equivalent specialist experience. You need to have a genuine interest, and ideally experience, in computer networking or distributed systems and should be able to demonstrate strong computer programming skills. Evidence of research skills, for example, through a significant Bachelors/Masters project involving experimental research, appropriate use of the literature and a formal dissertation-style report will be considered a plus.

General enquiries are welcomed by Professor Nicholas Race by email at [Email Address Removed]

You may apply directly: Applying for postgraduate study mentioning the “BT OBM iCASE PhD studentship”.

Computer Science (8)

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is open to UK students and covers university tuition fees for 4 years and a tax-free maintenance grant (stipend) of over £20k per annum. The studentship also includes funding to support travel costs to present your research at national and international conferences.