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As the most recent video coding standard, High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) adopts various novel techniques, including a quad-tree based coding unit (CU) structure and additional angular modes used for intra encoding. These new techniques achieve a notable improvement in coding efficiency at the penalty of significant computational complexity increase. Thus, a fast HEVC coding algorithm is highly desirable. In this paper, we propose a fast intra CU decision algorithm for HEVC to reduce the coding complexity, mainly based on a key-point detection. A CU block is considered to have multiple gradients and is early split if corner points are detected inside the block. On the other hand, a CU block without corner points is treated to be terminated when its RD cost is also small according to statistics of the previous frames. The proposed fast algorithm achieves over 62% encoding time reduction with 3.66%, 2.82%, and 2.53% BD-Rate loss for Y, U, and V components, averagely. The experimental results show that the proposed method is efficient to fast decide CU size in HEVC intra coding, even though only static parameters are applied to all test sequences.
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