PhD defence by Sarvesh Agrawal

Title: “Influence of Audio Spatialization on Immersion in Audiovisual Experiences

Principal supervisor: Professor Søren Otto Forchhammer, Department of Electrical and Photonics Engineering, DTU, Denmark
Co-supervisor: Søren Bech, Bang & Olufsen, Denmark

Evaluation Board
Senior Researcher Claire Mantel, Department of Electrical and Photonics Engineering, DTU, Denmark
Professor Kalle Tapio Lokki, Aalto University, Finland
Professor Alexander Raake, Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany

Master of the Ceremony
Associate Professor Lars Staalhagen, Department of Electrical and Photonics Engineering, DTU, Denmark

Audiovisual reproduction systems such as those found in domestic living rooms are an important medium for entertainment. The growth in content streaming (e.g., Netflix), technological advancements in audio (e.g., spatial audio reproduction, miniaturization of transducers) and video (e.g., high-dynamic range, ultra-high definition, higher refresh rates), and the coronavirus pandemic have contributed to a phenomenon dubbed as “Hollywood comes home.” As the paradigm shifts further towards home entertainment, it is important to evaluate the experience enabled by domestic audiovisual technology for the end users. Although a lot of work has been conducted on the overall impression of audiovisual experiences from the perspective of quality, liking, etc., the focus in this work is on immersion (i.e., mental absorption/engagement) since it is an encompassing concept and a key factor for content creators, media companies, and the users.
The present work brings much needed structure to the idea of immersion that has been riddled with ambiguity, descriptions fragmented across domains, and confusion. A definition of immersion is proposed to establish a baseline that can be applied to a variety of disciplines. A new subjective assessment method that leverages a rating experiment paradigm is developed and tested to gauge immersion in the experiences enabled by state-of-the-art domestic audiovisual system. Building on the testing method, the popular assumption that an increase in audio spatialization enhances immersion is put to test. The quantitative results show that an increase in audio spatialization does not necessarily lead to more immersive experiences.
This study is intended to start a conversation with the audiovisual community regarding immersion, its conceptual understanding, and the practical implications for conducting experiments. The comprehensive review of immersion and the clarifications provided to distinguish immersion from similar concepts will be of interest to researchers and practitioners alike. The assessment methods developed and used in this study can be applied for the evaluation of perceptual attributes and hedonic concepts. This research builds the foundation for establishing relationships between the physical parameters and immersion, which is instrumental for determining the factors that influence engagement. The results suggest that the contribution of spatial audio for achieving immersion in audiovisual experiences must be scrutinized further for creating and enhancing engagement.


Wed 29 Jun 22
13:30 - 16:30


The defence will take place in Building 341, auditorium 22 at DTU Lyngby Campus and via Zoom