Global listeners have become more sophisticated with their audio preferences and have higher expectations regarding sound quality, however, just one in four believe that their current systems are delivering the premium sound they desire. According to research commissioned by CSR plc (LSE:CSR; NASDAQ: CSRE), 82 percent of those surveyed rate excellent sound quality as one of the most important features in home audio systems with 79 percent agreeing that the quality of sound is becoming more important than the appearance of devices.

Along with the desire for CD-quality sound everywhere, the research highlights a growing shift to streaming music from the internet, and a preference for easy to install systems that can be networked in the home and accessed through multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets.

The quest for quality

The State of Play global snapshot of listener habits, commissioned by CSR plc, surveyed 2,000 music lovers across China, Germany, USA, Japan and the UK, to find out what drives the audio equipment choices of today and what will drive them in the future. Over three quarters of respondents are prepared to research devices before making a purchase, with 70 percent willing to pay more to get excellent sound quality from their audio equipment, particularly in the home. Consumers also have less patience for issues like latency, with 81 percent saying they would be frustrated if the visuals and audio were not synchronized when watching a video.

"Music is hugely important to consumers and a way many of us make a personal statement, manage our emotions and deal with the daily grind. The desire for quality sound, particularly in the home is not surprising, but the fact that consumers are seeking more from their existing home audio equipment is," comments Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President, Business Group at CSR. "While people historically liked to show off the look of their speakers, today they value sound. The fast pace of technology innovation is a key driver for this, because as technology has matured, consumer tolerance for anything less than superior clarity has diminished."

Greater control, simplicity and interoperability

As well as a shift towards digital, more control over music is a priority with 69 percent of consumers stating that they would listen to more music if they could control music as they move into different rooms. When asked what they would expect from their audio equipment in 10 years' time, 72 percent of listeners want control over the music playing throughout their home using a mobile device, allowing them to effortlessly change the music they listen to as they move from room to room.

With great confidence in the future of audio, consumers still crave simplicity in setting up and using technology due to varying levels of technical confidence. While four in ten listeners think they are technically adept and up to date with the latest developments, 66 percent feel that technology changes so fast that it is often hard to find an audio product that is built to last. The top five things respondents look for when it comes to buying a home audio system are that it's easy to use, easy to set up, upgrade and built for the future as well as interoperable between brands and devices.

"Consumers have demonstrated that they view their sound systems and equipment as something worth investing in but they increasingly have less patience for poor sound quality, difficult set up procedures, multiple remotes and devices that aren't interoperable with the equipment they already have. When it comes to the home audio experience, music lovers have high expectations and the opportunity for manufacturers to deliver on this demand is evident," concludes Murray.

Notes to editors:

Key Stats

The quest for audio quality:
  • 77 percent state that they would like to get better audio sound quality at home, with over half (54 percent) of listeners saying it would improve their home audio experience
  • 65 percent think they could tell the difference between a £300 ($471) and a £30 ($47) set of headphones purely by the sound quality

Confidence in technology:
  • It is important for home audio technology to be easy to use (76 percent), set up (69 percent) and upgrade (57 percent), to be future-proof (69 percent) and device/brand agnostic (59 percent)
  • 81 percent say that they would be frustrated if the visuals and audio were not synchronized when watching a video
  • 76 percent think that controlling devices at home directly from their smartphone or tablet would make their life easier

Listening Preferences across the regions:
  • Three quarters (76 percent) of listeners have streamed music at home in past month
  • Similar to those who have played MP3s and music downloads (75 percent)
  • 62 percent think that in 5 years' time everyone will be streaming their music from the internet / CDs, vinyl and MP3 files will be obsolete
  • CDs still mostly popular in Germany (80 percent), UK (76 percent) USA/Japan (66 percent), China (49 percent)
  • Radio is most popular in Germany (84 percent), UK (80 percent) and USA (72 percent)
  • China streams the most music from the internet (88 percent)
  • Germany is the most likely to wait for others to try tech devices before buying (63 percent)


The State of Play report incorporates the views of 2,000 interviewees conducted among adults aged 18-65 who own a smartphone, have Wi-Fi® at home, and typically put on and listen to music at home once a week or more often. Fieldwork was conducted online in October and November 2014. The State of Play audio research was conducted and analyzed by Loudhouse Research.

Supporting content:

About CSR

At CSR we push every boundary™ to solve challenges and deliver innovations that help customers differentiate and win in the fast-evolving consumer electronics market. Our technologists are improving people's lifestyles and unlocking the true potential of seamless connectivity and the Internet of Things by developing and integrating silicon, software and services for customers in Voice & Music, Connectivity and Bluetooth® Smart, Automotive Infotainment, Document Imaging and Location. For more information, visit, our  blog, YouTubeFacebook or  Twitter. For more information on aptX®, the audio codec that has revolutionized the wireless listening experience, visit


This press release contains certain statements (including statements concerning plans and objectives of management for future operations or performance, or assumptions related thereto) that are not historical facts and constitute 'forward looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 in relation to CSR's products and technologies, and their performance characteristics in consumer electronic products and technologies designed for home audio devices, and other future events and their potential effects on CSR. These forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as 'will,' 'can deliver,' offers', 'allows', 'to enhance,' 'enables,' 'designed to' and other similar expressions regarding the performance characteristics of CSR's products and technologies, and their performance characteristics in consumer electronics products and technologies designed for home audio devices, and their potential effects on CSR. Any future release of CSR's products and technologies or consumer electronics products containing such technology, related products or modifications to such products' capability, functionality or features are subject to ongoing evaluation by CSR and its customers, and may or may not be implemented and should not be considered firm commitments by CSR or its customers and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. Such forward-looking statements represent the current expectations and beliefs of management of CSR, and are based upon numerous assumptions regarding CSR's business strategies and the environment in which CSR will operate and therefore involve a number of known and unknown risks, contingencies, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of CSR, including, but not limited to, those detailed from time to time in CSR's periodic reports (whether under the caption Risk Factors or Forward Looking Statements or elsewhere), which are available at the SEC's web site Each forward looking statement speaks only as of the date hereof. CSR does not undertake to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward looking statements contained herein, otherwise than required by law.

Bluetooth® and the Bluetooth logos are trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and licensed to CSR. Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access®, WPA®, WPA2®, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™ and Wi-Fi Multimedia™ are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Other products, services and names used in this document may have been trademarked by their respective owners.

Copyright Business Wire 2010