Presence and Image Quality: The Case of High-Definition Television

Cheryl C. Bracken, Cleveland State University


Previous research has demonstrated that form variables can increase television viewers' sense of presence. The current broadcasting of high-definition television (HDTV) programming makes testing this relation between form and presence possible in a new context, image quality. In this experiment, television viewers watched either HDTV or standard-definition television images and then rated their viewing experience on a pencil-and-paper questionnaire. The results demonstrate that HDTV provided viewers with a greater sense of presence than the current standard, thus providing empirical evidence for the claim that improved image quality will lead to television viewers' experiencing presence. Additionally, the results suggest that with the coming of HDTV, sensations of presence will be both stronger and more common.