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This paper presents a scalable coding method for depth images by considering the quality of synthesized images in virtual views. First, we design a new edge detection algorithm that is based on calculating the depth difference between two neighboring pixels within the depth map. By choosing different thresholds, this algorithm generates a scalable bit stream that puts larger depth differences in front, followed by smaller depth differences. A scalable scheme is also designed for coding depth pixels through a layered sampling structure. At the receiver side, the full-resolution depth image is reconstructed from the received bits by solving a partial-differential-equation (PDE). Experimental results show that the proposed method improves the rate-distortion performance of synthesized images at virtual views and achieves better visual quality.