Mobile Users Prefer to ‘Watch’ Video with Their Ears, New Study Says

‘Sound Matters’ study shows audio has biggest influence on video enjoyment on tablets: neuro-research shows consumers enjoy Headphone:X™ audio more

Mobile World Congress 2014

BARCELONA, Spain--()--MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2014 – A neurological research study released today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has scientifically proven 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 neuro-marketing firm Neuro-Insight were able to show that audio delivered in Headphone:X™ generated a much bigger pleasure reaction than video.

“Headphone:X 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 content a lot more with Headphone:X audio even when the video quality was not as high, as compared to seeing the same visual stimulus with higher quality video but ordinary audio.”

Geir Skaaden, senior vice president for audio technology company DTS, Inc., which commissioned the research, said that the “Sound Matters” study contains a major lesson for the mobile operator and online video communities that could impact the way they manage and maximize precious bandwidth.

“Audio enhanced by Headphone:X really takes up very little bandwidth and can be delivered at a much lower cost than higher quality video,” Skaaden said. “Operators who re-balance their use of bandwidth to offer enhanced audio will not only save money, but they will also deliver an immediate improvement in the customer experience.”

“The study shows conclusively that streaming an audio track enhanced with Headphone:X alongside a standard definition video delivers increased enjoyment over even the highest quality—and bandwidth hungry—video,” he added.

“The lesson is simple,” said Skaaden. “In streaming video, the audio track is the key component for user enjoyment and engagement.”

Note to Editors:

DTS will present the results of the study at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2014 at 2 p.m. in the Conference Village, Hall 4, Auditorium 1.

The company will also conduct a world-first mass demonstration of the DTS Headphone:X technology, which delivers a high-quality surround sound experience through any standard set of headphones. Delegates in the session will receive a small MP3 player with earbud headphones featuring audio tracks of differing quality levels, including one that applies the DTS Headphone: X technology.

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 tablet and the audio was delivered through standard earbuds. The sequence of video clips was varied across the group.

The viewers’ neuro-reactions were measured using Neuro-Insight’s proprietary SST technology, and were analyzed using five different metrics:

  • Long-term memory encoding: A measure of how much the brain is remembering
  • Engagement: A measure of content’s personal 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 visual attention is being paid to the content

The Results:

Overall, switching to Headphone:X from standard-quality audio generated an average increase of 42 percent in the Hedonic Index across all video qualities, demonstrating greater enjoyment of the content by the test subject.

Interestingly, the biggest increase in enjoyment came when Headphone:X audio was added to medium quality video—a 66 percent spike. Adding Headphone:X audio to low-quality video generated a 29 percent increase, while adding it to high-quality video added a 35 percent increase in enjoyment on 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. The impact of changes in video quality on tablets was statistically insignificant.

Neuro-Insight concluded that only enhanced audio made a significant statistical difference across any of the measures. The 42 percent increase in the Hedonic Index while experiencing content with Headphone:X audio is a result that’s significant at the 95 percent level.

For more information about the study, and to hear the difference that enhanced audio makes when enjoying mobile content, visit DTS at Mobile World Congress, stand 5i30 in hall 5.

About Neuro-Insight

Neuro-Insight is a leading global neuromarketing firm that uses a unique brain-imaging technology to measure the consumer’s response to communications. Neuro-Insight measures implicit and unsolicited responses to any kind of stimulus on any platform which allow Neuro-Insight to deliver unique insights into the consumer’s real response to how a creative, content or piece of design is affecting them at both a rational and an emotional level. Neuro-Insight’s technology is both diagnostic and predictive in nature making it one of the most powerful evaluation tools available today. Neuro-Insight boasts an enviable portfolio of clients that range from the biggest TV networks to top brands within the CPG, insurance, fashion, and auto sectors.

Neuro-Insight owes its success largely to the unprecedented strength of Steady-State Topography (SST)—a technology invented by Neuro-Insight’s founder and licensed only to Neuro-Insight. SST has had the rare honor of being both scientifically and commercially validated.

All of Neuro-Insight’s activities are carried out in strict accordance with an ethical policy.

About DTS, Inc.

DTS, Inc. (Nasdaq: DTSI) is a premier audio solutions provider for high-definition entertainment experiences—anytime, anywhere, on any device. DTS’ audio solutions enable delivery and playback of clear, compelling high-definition audio, which is incorporated by hundreds of licensee customers around the world, into an array of consumer electronic devices. From a renowned legacy as a pioneer in high definition multi-channel audio, DTS became a mandatory audio format in the Blu-ray Disc™ standard and is now increasingly deployed in enabling digital delivery of compelling movies, music, games and other forms of digital entertainment to a growing array of network-connected consumer devices. DTS technology is in car audio systems, digital media players, DVD players, game consoles, home theaters, PCs, set-top boxes, smart phones, surround music content and every device capable of playing Blu-ray™ discs. Founded in 1993, DTS' corporate headquarters are located in Calabasas, California. DTS also has offices in Los Gatos and Santa Ana, California, Washington, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Copyright 2014, DTS, Inc. DTS, the Symbol, and DTS and the Symbol together are registered trademarks of DTS, Inc. All other trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.


Michael Farino
Manager, Public Relations
p. 949-442-5404


Michael Farino
Manager, Public Relations
p. 949-442-5404