Study: Smartphone users prefer faster standard definition video over higher quality HD

A survey conducted in May and June by Harris Interactive and Skyfire reveal shocking results about smartphone users’ preferences for the videos they watch on their devices. Over 900 U.S. and 1,000 British smartphone owners participated. Almost seven out of every eight respondents — 86 percent — say they prefer standard definition video over high definition video if it means the SD video is faster and smoother with less buffering.

This is a very important find because as more services continue to push HD video heavily for mobile devices, consumers clearly don’t want it if they have to sacrifice the speed and stability of SD video. Fast downloads and little to no buffering are being prioritized over the quality of the video itself for most smartphone users.

“We’re seeing a sea change in the way consumers are using and thinking about their mobile devices, with higher quality content becoming the norm,” commented Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck. “This survey shows clearly that when connections are poor, users define a quality experience much more by fast video starts and smooth play, rather than HD fidelity in their video. Moreover, other than price, better data speeds now beat voice coverage and device selection as the most important factor when switching carriers.”

Mobile video altogether is going strong though, especially here in the states. 57 percent of American smartphone owners said they watched a video on their handset in the last month compared to 29 percent of smartphone owners in Great Britain. Age and sex are big factors in whether someone watches video as well. The most popular demographic is males between 18-34 years of age: 84 percent watched a mobile video in the last month. Men are ten percent more likely to watch videos on their smartphones than women are (62 percent vs. 52 percent) and the older the demographic, the less likely they’re streaming video.

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