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Multimedia Systems Journal

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Database design, Multimedia systems -- Software, Computer networks -- Quality control, Resource allocation


The bandwidth limitations of multimedia systems force tradeoffs between presentation data fidelity and real-time performance. For example, digital video is commonly encoded with lossy compression to reduce bandwidth and frames may be skipped during playback to maintain synchronization. These tradeoffs depend on device performance and physical data representations that are hidden by a database system. If a multimedia database is to support digital video and other continuous media data types, we argue that the database should provide a Quality of Service (QOS) interface to allow application control of presentation timing and information loss tradeoffs.

This paper proposes a data model for continuous media that preserves device and physical data independence. We show how to define formal QOS constraints from a specification of ideal presentation outputs., Our definition enables meaningful requests for end-to-end service guarantees while leaving the database system free to optimize resource management. We propose one set of QOS parameters that constitute a complete model for presentation error and show how this error model extends the opportunities for resource optimization.


This is the author's version of an article that appeared in Multimedia Systems, Volume 3, Issue 5-6, pp. 251-263. DOI: 10.1007/BF01832141. The final publication is available at

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