Intelligent Audio Rendering with Ad-Hoc Loudspeakers
UK Household Survey
Multi-channel audio systems continue to see substantial development, and this often leads to an increase in the number of channels and loudspeakers (e.g. see the development of surround sound through 5.1, 9.1, 11.1, 13.1, 22.2, etc).
New approaches to immersive audio, such as Media Device Orchestration (MDO) [1-3], utilise interconnected and smart devices, controlled by an intelligent renderer, to deliver customisable immersive listening experiences. Rather than requiring consumers to purchase a new system, this approach incorporates devices that they may already own, which could be further augmented over time.
There was a lack of information about the availability of audio-capable devices in people's homes, including conventional loudspeaker systems and interconnected and smart devices. There was also a lack of information about what audio/media content services consumers use, and whether consumers listen alone or with co-habitees or visitors.
- To learn what audio-capable devices are present in UK households.
- To learn what methods or services are used to receive audio and audio-visual media.
- To learn about individual versus group audio and audio-visual media consumption in UK homes and the make-up of these groups.
The survey was completed by 1,102 participants. The gender split was: 614 male; 488 female. The age group distribution was: 16 to 24 - 65; 25 to 34 - 116; 35 to 44 - 170; 45 to 54 - 218; 55 to 64 - 232; 65 or over - 301.
The results of the survey were published in an Audio Engineering Society engineering brief. The poster presented at the AES Convention in New York can be seen below (click for a larger version). This website provides additional information using interactive plots to display results separated by age group and relationships between device ownership.
Which of the following devices are usually present in your home?
Whilst TV ownership is high, ownership of traditional devices which can take over reproduction from built-in TV loudspeakers is relatively low. The results suggest that there is already widespread availability of interconnected and networked devices that are capable of audio output and could be used for MDO, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wireless and smart loudspeakers.
Media delivery methods
Which of the following methods do you use to receive audio (e.g. music, radio) / video (e.g. film, TV)?
Usage of different methods and services varied greatly with age group. For CDs: the means of the 35 to 65 or over age groups was 57.5% compared to 33.7% for the 16 to 34 age groups. For free online audio: the means of the 16 to 44 age groups was 42.5% compared to 25.6% for the 45 to 65 and over age groups. The 16 to 24 age group was the highest user of paid online audio, followed by the 35 to 44 age group.
- Audio delivery method usage by age
- Audio delivery method relationships
- Video delivery method usage by age
Smart devices and voice assistants
Do you use any smart devices (e.g. Nest, Smart lightbulbs) / voice assistants in your home (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google Home)?
MDO utilises interconnected, audio-capable devices, of which many can be considered to be 'smart' devices. These are combined with installed loudspeakers and an intelligent renderer to reproduce audio using any available audio-capable devices in the reproduction environment.
Voice assistants are able to receive sound, using microphones, which could be used for calibration or user customisation of an MDO system via voice control.
Smart devices and voice assistants, despite being on the market for a relatively short time, are owned by a similar proportion of survey respondents as surround systems and soundbars.
Group versus individual media consumption
Approximately how many hours in an average week do you spend watching video or listening to audio-media alone / with others in the household / with visitors?
Audiences in the UK spend more time weekly consuming audio / audio-visual media with members of their household than alone, or with visitors. Median duration categories based on a cumulative percentage were: alone - 2-4 hours; with visitors - <1 hour; with co-habitees - 4-8 hours.
-  Francombe et al. 2018. Qualitative evaluation of media device orchestration for immersive spatial audio reproduction. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, vol. 66 (6), pp. 414-429.
-  Woodcock et al. 2018. A quantitative evaluation of media device orchestration for immersive spatial audio reproduction. Audio Engineering Society International Conference on Spatial Reproduction - Aesthetics and Science, conference paper P3-3.
-  Coleman et al. 2018. An audio-visual system for object-based audio: from recording to listening. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, vol. 20 (8). pp.1919-1931.
The data from this survey can be used elsewhere if a citation to the Audio Engineering Society engineering brief is included (reference below). The plots themselves may not be directly replicated without express permission. Contact c.cieciura for details.
- Cieciura, C., Mason, R., Coleman, P. and Paradis, M. 2018. Survey of media device ownership, media service usage, and group media consumption in UK households, Audio Engineering Society Preprint, 145th Convention, Engineering Brief 456.
- Data archive doi:10.5281/zenodo.1404799.