Reference index-based H.264 video watermarking scheme

Jian Li, Hongmei Liu, Jiwu Huang, Yun Q. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Video watermarking has received much attention over the past years as a promising solution to copy protection. Watermark robustness is still a key issue of research, especially when a watermark is embedded in the compressed video domain. In this article, a robust watermarking scheme for H.264 video is proposed. During video encoding, the watermark is embedded in the index of the reference frame, referred to as reference index, a bitstream syntax element newly proposed in the H.264 standard. Furthermore, the video content (current coded blocks) is modified based on an optimization model, aiming at improving watermark robustness without unacceptably degrading the video's visual quality or increasing the video's bit rate. Compared with the existing schemes, our method has the following three advantages: (1) The bit rate of the watermarked video is adjustable; (2) the robustness against common video operations can be achieved; (3) the watermark embedding and extraction are simple. Extensive experiments have verified the good performance of the proposed watermarking scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications
Volume8 S
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • H.264
  • Reference index
  • Video
  • Watermarking


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