Rice Study's Startling(?) Conclusion: Video Quality Doesn't Matter If The Subject's Interesting

Philip Kortum, a professor in Rice's Department of Psychology, has finished a study and found...that if you're enjoying what you're watching on TV, then you don't care as much about video quality.

Ummm, surprising? Not if you've seen people watching The Office in airports on crappy laptops or phones.

But surprising to Kortum:

"At first we were really surprised by the data," Kortum said. "We were seeing that low- quality movies were being rated higher in quality than some of the high-quality videos. But after we started analyzing the data, we determined what was driving this was the actual desirability of the content."

So if a movie or show is compelling, you'll watch it? Hasn't this been proven back in the days of VHS tapes, when the 58th time you put in The Godfather it looked like a hostage tape?

In the study, 100 participants watched 180 two-minute movie clips. The clips were encoded at nine different levels. ranging from (nerd alert) 550 liobots per second up to "DVD quality."

Participants then were asked to rate the viewing experience.

"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," Kortum said. "This strong relationship holds across a wide range of encoding levels and movie content when that content is viewed under longer and more naturalistic viewing conditions."

This finding allegedly contradicts the theory that "Americans are striving for and must have the best video quality at their fingertips all the time," the Rice press release says.

Let's see: Seinfeld on an iPhone or Two and a Half Men on Blu-Ray....thinking....thinking...

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >