DTS Study Finds AM/FM Access ‘Most Important’ For Car Buyers


The “vast majority” of respondents participating in a DTS study fielded by its parent, Xperi Inc., listen to some type of audio in the car with AM/FM radio. While audio’s dominance is being challenged by video and gaming in the “connected car,” AM/FM radio was rated “overwhelmingly” as the most important entertainment option for consumers when considering their car purchase.

According to the newly released “Connected Car Entertainment Trends” report, some 70% of respondents tune into AM/FM to listen to music. This compares to 53% who select  music streaming services and 30% who choose SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

While that’s encouraging, DTS and Xperi note that video watching in vehicles grew to nearly 40%, versus 31% just a year ago. Streaming movies and TV shows are the top entertainment options among those interested in the vehicle as a “third space.”

While consumers are mostly listening to audio while running errands or commuting, video consumption increases if those drives include kids, DTS and Xperi find.

The big takeaway is how Gaming is rapidly emerging in-vehicle, according to the report — particularly the playing of casual games such as “Candy Crush,” compared to more involved games like those on PlayStation or Xbox consoles. This is especially true of millennials (46%) and Gen Z (38%) respondents.

Furthermore, some 50% of respondents say they are willing to pay more for better in-car entertainment. “They dislike having to hop from source to source and want a wider variety of options and a built-in entertainment system that is easier to use,” DTS and Xperi share. “Over 50% are interested in having screens in the front and rear cabins of their next car.”

Xperi’s connected car online study was conducted in August 2023 among 3,000 respondents ages 18+ across the U.S.

Xperi’s consumer survey on gaming in the car was conducted in December 2023, among over 500 respondents ages 18+ in the U.S.

Jeff Jury, Xperi’s SVP/GM of Connected Car, commented, “Audio continues to dominate, confirming radio’s importance as vehicle entertainment’s anchor. But, the growing impact of video is clear, not only in its dramatically increased usage but also in consumers’ increased interest in front and rear cabin screens. And the emergence of in-vehicle gaming with younger generations, particularly casual games, is indicative of its growing importance to in-cabin entertainment platforms.”

Additional Key Report Findings:


  • 42% would like a wider variety of entertainment in-vehicle, 41% dislike having to hop from source to source just to find something good to listen to in the car and 33% wish their car’s built-in entertainment system was easier to use
  • Audio remains the most consumed form of entertainment in-vehicle with nearly 90% listening to some type of audio in the car, most commonly music
  • AM/FM radio is the most popular form of audio entertainment for music listening (69%), compared to music streaming (53%) and satellite radio (30%)
  • Consumers mainly spend time in a car to run errands around town (46%). When they do this, they are in the car for under 30 minutes and use audio entertainment (87%)
  • Streaming movies and TV shows is the #1 entertainment option of those interested in the car as a third space (35%)
  • 28% of those driving kids to school/activities use video in the vehicle
  • 58% want rear cabin screens vs 54% who want front cabin screens
  • Gen Z (60%) and millennials (49%) suggest that games will be played more by rear-seat passengers if their car offers gaming features on built-in screens in the vehicle
  • 32% think touch screens would be the best way to control the car’s entertainment system, 40% would prefer voice commands
  • 52% of respondents are willing to pay more for a better in-car entertainment system
  • AM/FM radio is the most important (59%) entertainment option for consumers when considering their car purchase

Download the DTS In-Cabin Entertainment Trends report here.


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