Video services are becoming an integral part of future communication systems. Especially for the upcoming third-generation (3G) wireless networks such as Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), video may very well turn out to be the key that achieves the required return of investment. Whereas previous generations of wireless communication systems were primarily designed and used for voice services, next-generation systems have to support a broad range of applications in a wide variety of settings. Novel wireless applications, such as telematics and fleet management, have introduced wireless networking to the enterprise domain. At the same time, the private-market sector is booming with the availability of low-priced wireless equipment. The early market stages were characterized by the needs of early adopters, mostly for professional use. As the market matures from the early adopters to normal users, new services will be demanded. These demands will likely converge toward the demands that exist for wired telecommunications services. These demands, also referred to as “the usual suspects,” consist of a variety of different services, including Internet access for browsing, chatting, and gaming. In addition,
entertainment services, such as television, cable television, and pay-per-view movies, are also in demand. With the availability of wireless services, the location is no longer of importance to private users. Thus, the demands of mobile users, connected over wireless networks, will approach this mixture of services. With the omnipresence of wireless services, the usage schemes will become independent from location and connection type. One example for such a wireless service is mobile gaming. Private users who are waiting at an airport, for instance, are able to join Internet-based multiplayer games to bridge time gaps. Among the various entertainment services, mobile video will likely account for a large portion of the entertainment services, as are cinemas, video rentals, and television now. This application scenario covers wireless entertainment broadcasting and video on demand. A second, professional application of video in the wireless domain is telemedicine, where remote specialists are enabled to respond to emergencies. The wide area of video services in wireless environments and the expectations for wireless communication systems call for an understanding of the basic principles of wireless video streaming.