Study says content, not picture quality, most important when watching video

There's some bad news--or perhaps just disheartening news--for vendors and service providers betting their hopes and futures on such advanced viewing options as 3DTV and 4K HDTV. A study co-authored by Rice Professor Philip Kortum and AT&T Labs' Mar Sullican revealed that people are more interested in the quality of the programming than the quality of the video.

"If you're at home watching and enjoying a movie, we found that you're probably not going to notice or even concern yourself with how many pixels the video is or if the data is being compressed," said Kortum, who conceded to being "really surprised by the data."

The report was based on four studies showing 100 participants 180 movie clips encoded at nine different levels. After a two-minute showing, participants were asked to react and, to the surprise of the test's conductors, "low-quality movies were being rated higher in quality than some of the high-quality videos," Kortum said.

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