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Mobile users prefer to watch video with their ears according to new study

Thanks to DTS, a mobile phone can be incredibly impressive with Headphone:X
Thanks to DTS, a mobile phone can be incredibly impressive with Headphone:XDTS, Headphone:X

DTS makes everything on mobile devices sound spectacular! Thanks to DTS, a mobile phone can be incredibly impressive with Headphone:X, as the technology can deliver surround sound to devices - such as tablets and smartphones that stream movies, music and games. Audio is coming in the spotlight at Mobile World Congress, as a new Sound Matters’ study shows audio has the biggest influence on video enjoyment, with proof from neuro-research that sound stimulates the brain in the same way as eating chocolate.

This neurological research study, Sound Matters, was released today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which clinically proves that mobile users prefer to “watch” video with their ears! By measuring the brain activity and impulses of viewers watching mobile video, researchers at New York-based laboratory Neuro-Insight were able to show that enhanced audio generated a much bigger pleasure reaction than video.

“Enhanced audio was the clear winner in this study,” said Pranav Yadav, CEO of Neuro-Insight. “When we switched to enhanced audio, the patterns of brain activity seen were similar to those seen when we eat something we find enjoyable, hear a funny joke or for that matter anticipating the ‘high’ associated with an addictive drug. Increasing the video quality did not achieve the same results or reactions.”

“The results we saw were groundbreaking,” continued Yadav. “Audio is a key component of an audio-visual experience - mobile users simply liked the entertainment experience a lot more when higher audio quality was provided. Even when the video quality was better or worse than the content’s audio, it had no meaningful effect on user’s enjoyment.”

Geir Skaaden, senior vice president for audio technology company DTS which commissioned the research, said that the “Sound Matters” study contained a major lesson for the mobile operator and online video communities that could impact the way they manage and maximize precious bandwidth. “Enhanced audio really takes up very little bandwidth and can be delivered at a much lower cost than video,” Skaaden said. “Operators who re-balanced their use of bandwidth to offer enhanced audio would not only save money, they would deliver an immediate improvement in the customer experience.”

He added: “Indeed, the study shows conclusively that streaming an enhanced audio track alongside a standard definition video delivers increased enjoyment over even the highest quality, and bandwidth hungry, video.” “The lesson is simple,” said Skaaden. ”In streaming video, the audio track is the key component for user enjoyment and engagement.”

About the Study: The “Sound Matters” study was carried out by Neuro-Insight in New York. It involved more than 100 men and women age 18-35. All of the testers were regular users of mobile phones and tablet PCs for mobile entertainment. The group was shown four pieces of video content with quality adjustments made to audio and video components. Content was viewed on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and the audio was delivered through standard Apple EarPods. The sequence of video clips was varied across the group.

The viewers were wired and their reactions were measured across five areas of neuroactivity:

Long-term memory encoding: A measure of how much the brain is remembering
Engagement: A measure of content relevance
The Hedonic Index: A measure that equates broadly to how likeable an experience is
Emotional Intensity: The strength of any emotional response
Attention: Measures how much attention is being paid to the content

The Results: Overall, switching to enhanced audio generated a 42 percent spike in the Hedonic Index, demonstrating greater enjoyment of the content by the test subject. Interestingly, the biggest increase in enjoyment came when enhanced audio was added to medium quality video - a 66 percent spike. Adding enhanced audio to low-quality video generated a 29 percent rise, while adding it to high-quality video added a 35 percent increase in enjoyment on the Hedonic Index. Other areas measured also reacted well to increasing audio quality, but the most dramatic surges came in the Hedonic Index. In contrast, maintaining the audio quality and varying the video quality had very little impact - movements of less than one percent across the board.

Neuro-Insight concluded that only enhanced audio made a significant statistical difference across any of the measures.