Digital representation of video data is an inherently resource demanding problem that continues to necessitate the development and refinement of coding methods. The H.264/AVC standard, along with its recent Fidelity Range Extensions amendment (FRExt), is quickly being adopted as the standard codec for broadcast and distribution of high definition video. The FRExt amendment, while not necessarily affecting the overall decoder architecture, presents an added complexity of providing efficient memory management for buffering intermediate frames of various pixel color samplings and depths. This thesis evaluated the role of designing the frame buffer of a hardware video decoder, with integrated support for the H.264/AVC codec plus FRExt. With focus on organizing external memory data access, the frame buffer was designed to provide intermediate data storage for the decoder, while using an efficient store and load scheme that takes into consideration each frame pixel format of the video data. VHDL was used to model the frame buffer. Exploitation of reconfigurability and post-synthesis FPGA simulations were used to evaluate behavior, scalability and power consumption, while providing an analysis of approaches to adding FRExt to the memory management. Real-time buffer performance was achieved for two common frame formats at 1080 HD resolution; and an innovative pipeline design provides dynamic switching of formats between video sequences. As an additional consequence of verifying the model, a preexisting Baseline H.264/AVC decoder testbench was augmented to support testing of multiple frame formats.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Decoders (Electronics)--Design and construction; Signal processing--Digital techniques; Image processing--Digital techniques; Digital video--Standards; VHDL (Computer hardware description language)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Computer Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Computer Engineering (KGCOE)


Marcin Lukowiak

Advisor/Committee Member

Ken W. Hsu

Advisor/Committee Member

Mark Grabosky


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TK7872.D37 S86 2007


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