An overview of information hiding in H.264/AVC compressed video

Yiqi Tew, Koksheik Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Information hiding refers to the process of inserting information into a host to serve specific purpose(s). In this paper, information hiding methods in the H.264/AVC compressed video domain are surveyed. First, the general framework of information hiding is conceptualized by relating the state of an entity to a meaning (i.e., sequences of bits). This concept is illustrated by using various data representation schemes such as bit plane replacement, spread spectrum, histogram manipulation, divisibility, mapping rules, and matrix encoding. Venues at which information hiding takes place are then identified, including prediction process, transformation, quantization, and entropy coding. Related information hiding methods at each venue are briefly reviewed, along with the presentation of the targeted applications, appropriate diagrams, and references. A timeline diagram is constructed to chronologically summarize the invention of information hiding methods in the compressed still image and video domains since 1992. A comparison among the considered information hiding methods is also conducted in terms of venue, payload, bitstream size overhead, video quality, computational complexity, and video criteria. Further perspectives and recommendations are presented to provide a better understanding of the current trend of information hiding and to identify new opportunities for information hiding in compressed video.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-319
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Compressed video
  • compression
  • data embedding
  • H.264
  • information hiding

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