Improving the User Experience Through
Sophisticated Testing Environments
Time Warner’s 9,600-square-foot MediaLab includes the most complex and powerful AV systems to support its eight testing labs and two observation rooms. There’s an eye-tracking lab, designed to reveal how individuals view a website, movie, TV commercial or app and how they interact with the device carrying it. There’s a mock living room, a 47-seat movie theater and a traditional focus group room. The usability lab is used for small groups to interact with video games, video media and electronic devices. And, the mock retail area allows researchers to see how shoppers view and buy printed media, snacks and other merchandise as well as observe the effects of commercials seen earlier in another part of the facility.
Time Warner’s goal was to be able to interface with any device that might be brought into the MediaLab, either today or in the foreseeable future. “The MediaLab is an ‘imaginarium’ for audience research” says Martin O’Neill, Executive Director of Business and Research Operations. Thus, at the heart of this lab are some of the most innovative research tools devised, supported by Diversified AV systems.
Media sources can include virtually any smartphone, tablet, video game console, DVR or computer, and sources change constantly, depending on the research project. To be able to switch any source Time Warner could anticipate to any destination they may use, Diversified installed a switching system based on Crestron matrix switchers that provides a combined 184-input by 184-output matrix. Diversified also used two Crestron control processors to operate the systems, with a Crestron touch panel in each of the labs and observation rooms.
Diversified also provided a multi-window, HD digital recording system with a total of 16 H.264 recorders, connected to the DigitalMedia network. Together, they can record the media played on any device, the test subject’s interactions with the device, what the test subject says and their facial expressions so researchers can analyze them later.