Advanced Television

Report: Warning signs for in-car audio streaming

July 11, 2019

By Chris Forrester

A study from Strategy Analytics and its in-vehicle UX (User Experience) division says that “yesterday’s” in-car CD players, and then high-quality radio, which were “must haves” for drivers are now being replaced by streamed radio.

“Although AM/FM radio remains a “must-have,” digital media has caught up with or surpassed it among certain key car-buying segments.  In the US, satellite radio and streaming music services have made remarkable in-roads among specific age brackets.  These shifts in usage and interest will have immediate and long-term impacts for in-car user interface design,” says the report.

“After several years of explosive interest, consumer appetite for smartphone mirroring systems has finally levelled off. As more mirroring systems come to market in high-volume cars, and more non-early-adopting segments are exposed to them, their limitations are becoming apparent. But despite this, most embedded systems still do not provide better UX than smartphone mirroring systems,” says Strategy Analytics.

Key report findings include:

– Radio usage is in fast decline across the US, Europe, and China, even though in the West it still remains important for some key consumer segments.

– Car owners are sending mixed signals on the next-best “must have” after radio. Flat user interfaces which allow easy access to all audio/media sources will be more important than ever for the next model turn.

– But in the lengthy search for a next successor to the CD player, streaming media has shown a remarkable surge in usage and interest, relative to owned media on portable devices.

Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author commented, “The UX of embedded systems still does not exceed smartphone mirroring systems, essentially driving car owners to CarPlay and Android Auto leaving infotainment devoid of any brand differentiation. Given these shifting infotainment usage habits and consumers’ shifting interest in what is a ‘must-have’ for the next car purchase, designers and product planners must tread carefully in future product lines.”

Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “Flat touchscreen UI provides easy access to multiple sources, but while a key requirement in markets such as China where radio is fast fading, this is less important for markets with heavy radio usage such as in the West. However, preference for radio still provides an opening for design teams interested in testing novel physical HMI.”

Categories: Articles, Digital Radio, Markets, Research