The SSIMplus Index for Video Quality-of-Experience Assessment



The SSIMplus Index

SSIMplus is an objective full-reference perceptual video quality-of-experience (QoE) index ranges between 0 and 100. SSIMplus in many ways goes far beyond what SSIM can do. Its distinctive features include:

-        High accuracy

-        High speed

-        Straightforward and easy-to-use

-        Device-adaptive QoE assessment

-        Cross-resolution QoE assessment

-        Cross-content QoE measurement

-        Detailed quality map

SSIMplus was developed by the team of Prof. Zhou Wang in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Details can be found in the following papers:

1.     A. Rehman, K. Zeng and Z. Wang, "Display device-adapted video quality-of-experience assessment," IS&T-SPIE Electronic Imaging, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XX, Feb. 2015.

More details and results will also be presented in future publications/talks. Please be advised from the publication page of Prof. Wang.

Applications of SSIMplus

SSIMplus may be employed in many application scenarios. In the field of video delivery over multimedia communication networks, SSIMplus may be applied in the following ways:

-        Live and file-based video QoE monitoring

-        Benchmarking video encoders and transcoders

-        Guiding adaptive bit-rate video coding

-        Enabling smart quality-driven adaptive bit-rate video streaming


SSIMplus Features

SSIMplus not only employs advanced computational models derived from vision science and state-of-the-art visual quality assessment research, but is also optimized for speed and designed for providing meaningful quality scores comparable across device, resolution and content. The SSIMplus features are briefly explained as follows.


High Accuracy

SSIMplus has been tested using many video quality databases and exhibits high prediction accuracy of perceived video quality by humans. Results of a recent test performed at University of Waterloo are given here:


A set of raw videos sequences, consisting of 1080p and 640p resolutions, was compressed at various distortion levels to produce H.264-compliant bitstreams. The decompressed test videos were rated by subjects under the following viewing conditions:


-        Display Device: iPhone 5S, viewing distance: 10 inches

-        Display Device: iPad Air, viewing distance: 16 inches

-        Display Device: Lenovo W530 laptop, viewing distance: 20 inches

-        Display Device: Sony 55" TV, viewing distance: 90 inches

-        Display Device: Sony 55" TV, viewing distance: 20 inches (referred to as TV-Expert)


This database is one of the first of its kind for cross-device video quality assessment. The mean opinion score (MOS) of human subjects for each video viewed at each condition is computed and used as the ground-truth to test the performance of SSIMplus and other objective video quality models. The scatter plots of MOS versus popular models (PSNR, SSIM, MS-SSIM, MOVIE and VQM) are given in Figure 1.





Figure 1. Scatter plots of MOS versus various video quality models, including PSNR, SSIM, MS-SSIM, VQM, MOVIE and SSIMplus.


The superior performance of SSIMplus is evident from Figure 1, and is also confirmed by numerical evaluations using Pearson linear correlation coefficient (PLCC), mean absolute prediction error (MAE), root mean squared prediction error (RMS), Spearman rank-order correlation coefficient (SRCC) and Kendall rank-order correlation coefficient (KRCC). A better model should have higher PLCC, SRCC and KRCC, and lower MAE and RMS values. The results are summarized in Table 1.


Table 1. Performance comparison of state-of-the-art video quality models







Computation Time

(normalized based on PSNR)












































High Speed

Video QoE measurement is often a computationally demanding task but real-world applications such as live QoE monitoring often desire videos being evaluated in real-time. The SSIMplus method has been optimized for speed. The last column of Table 1 compares SSIMplus with state-of-the-art video quality assessment models, where it can be observed that the computational cost of SSIMplus, the most accurate model in predicting visual QoE, is only 7.83 times of PSNR, far less than the other popular models. The low computational cost allows SSIMplus to be computed faster than real-time, even when comparing ultra-HD 4K video.


Straightforward and Easy-To-Use

SSIMplus provides straightforward predictions on what an average human viewer would say about the quality of the video being viewed on a scale of 0-100, which is evenly divided to five quality ranges of bad (0-19), poor (20-39), fair (40-59), good (60-79), and excellent (80-100), respectively. An example is shown in Figure 2. SSIMplus can be easily embedded into real-world systems for various applications such as live or file-based QoE monitoring, benchmarking of video encoders/transcoders, guiding adaptive bit-rate video encoding, and smart adaptive bitrate streaming.


Figure 2. SSIMplus assessment of video QoE. Top-left: test video; Top-right: reference video; Bottom-left: QoE curves over time; Bottom-right: running bars of device-adaptive QoE assessment.


Device-Adaptive QoE Assessment

The same video stream delivered to different display devices (cellphones, tablets, laptops, desktop monitors, TVs, etc) at different viewing conditions could result in drastically different visual QoE. Traditional video quality assessment approaches such as PSNR, SSIM, VQM and MOVIE, are unable to adapt to devices. The advanced modeling underlying SSIMplus allows it to be easily adapted to different viewing devices and conditions, and provides meaningful quality scores comparable across devices. An example is given in Figure 2, where the same video viewed on different devices are predicted to have very different QoE scores. The superior cross-device performance is evidenced by Figure 1 and Table 1, where videos viewed on different devices are mixed together. This is a critical feature for video content providers and distribution service providers to predict what each user in the network is experiencing, and also allows for smart adaptive bit-rate video streaming.


Cross-Resolution QoE Assessment

The spatial resolution of a video signal is often altered before, during and after delivery to fit bandwidth, power, buffering and display constraints. In the case of adaptive bit-rate streaming, video is typically transcoded into many versions with different spatial resolutions. SSIMplus allows for assessing the quality of a test video when the reference video has a different spatial resolution, and provides meaningful quality scores comparable across resolutions. This is another distinctive feature missing from existing video quality assessment approaches. The feature is partially demonstrated through the cross-resolution results shown in Figure 1.


Cross-Content QoE Assessment

One of the most challenging task in the development of video quality models is to supply meaningful quality scores comparable across content. Traditional video quality models such as PSNR often exhibits satisfying monotonicity when tested on the same video content compressed by the same codec, but fail miserably when videos of different content and with distortion types are mixed together. SSIMplus demonstrates the strongest robustness to variations of video content and compression techniques, so that the same score has the same meaning, regardless of the type of video content (news, natural scenes, sports, and animations, etc), codecs (MPEG2, H.264, HEVC, VPx) and other distortion types (noise, blur, and unknown types).


Detailed Quality Map

For users who are interested in deep analysis of video quality and diagnosis of video defects, SSIMplus delivers localized quality predictions deep to per-pixel granularity by producing a quality map that predicts the quality at every pixel in every frame in the test video. Using the quality maps, users can inspect quality defects of a video at each spatial location of each video frame, allowing for precise and in-depth evaluation, comparison, design, and optimization of their video compression, processing, storage, reproduction, delivery, and display systems.


Requests for SSIMplus

Interested users can request the SSIMplus video quality-of-experience monitoring software from the link below:


SSIMplus Quality-of-Experience Monitor (SQM)


Created November 9, 2014

Last updated November 9, 2014