The New Definitive HDTV Lag FAQ


#1

RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.
RESPONSE TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LAG.

It’s 2009, and HDTVs are still as laggy as ever. Let’s take a look at what went wrong, and how a savvy consumer can now eliminate the issue altogether. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the terms in this FAQ, read a general HDTV guide first. This guide will not benefit you if you don’t understand the very basics of HDTVs.

For our intents and purposes, the old HDTV FAQ is a now outdated, so please refer to this one for the most current and relevant information.

Why do games lag on HDTVs?

There are two different reasons for this, and either one or both can contribute to the overall delay on an HDTV.

A] Scaling/Deinterlacing: The HDTV is fed a signal different from its native resolution. The HDTV experiences a processing delay while scaling the signal (example: 480i signal from PS2 to 1080p HDTV).
B] Postprocessing: Postprocessing consists of additional features on HDTVs to clean up or “improve” the visual picture quality of images (example: 1080p signal from PS3 to 1080p Samsung HDTV still has lag).

What is wrong with Postprocessing?

The key issue with Postprocessing in consumer-grade displays is that it isn’t optional. Many HDTVs have a “Game Mode” in which the main purpose is to disable both Scaling/Deinterlacing delay and Postprocessing delay. However, even with “Game Mode” enabled, most HDTVs still suffer from lag due to postprocessing that simply can’t be disabled.

How much does my set suffer from HDTV Game Lag?

There are two different ways to test this. One is with a copy of Guitar Hero II or higher. These titles includes a calibration test, which gives you the delay in milliseconds after testing a “note” going down the screen. You can strum with the D-Pad of your controller (no guitar controller necessary).

The other way is with a copy of Rock Band 2. Rock Band 2 includes a calibration test with no input required from the user. The lag is measured automatically using the Rock Band 2 Guitar and Microphone. This is the most accurate method at the time of this writing for the average consumer to measure HDTV Game Lag.

You’ll want to conduct two different tests, one for HD resolution (720p, 1080i/p) and one for non-HD resolution (480i/p). You can accomplish this by changing the resolution in your X-Box 360 or PS3 settings.

!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!

Why is this important? There are THOUSANDS of HDTVs. Nobody knows how much X or Y HDTV lags off the top of their head–even if they own the HDTV, most people are royal newbs so they’re not going to actually do a real test (like Rock Band 2), they’re just going to pull some shit out of their ass and tell you it’s fine when they play Halo 3 and live in permanent denial.

The only way to see if an HDTV you want to buy lags is to go to the store and test it yourself with Guitar Hero 2+ or preferably Rock Band 2. If you bought your HDTV from a retail store, there is a 99.9% chance it lags, and probably still lags even with Game Mode enabled. If you are buying your HDTV online because of a “good deal” or whatever, good for you, but you ARE taking a risk and nobody can help you. Anyway, relax–that’s what this guide is for, to help you get around the lag anyway.

Frame Conversion:

1 frame is approximately 17 milliseconds.
Ideal (unnoticeable) delay for fighting or rhythm games is 8 milliseconds or less, or 1/2 of a frame.

Acceptable (playable) delay is 9 to 34 milliseconds, or 1/2 of a frame to 2 frames. Note that while gameplay will still be affected by a delay of 2 frames, most people will still have a difficult time noticing the difference immediately.

Unacceptable (unplayable) delay is over 34 milliseconds, or anything higher than 2 frames. Typically, this is a point when timing-sensitive gamers will even feel a delay at the menu screen or with the cursor when selecting a character.

The Best Solution: Commercial-grade HDTV Displays

What if there were an HDTV that had both lightning-fast scaling as well as no unnecessary and bloated postprocessing?

Guess what: they’re here. They’re just not marketed towards you and me. They are marketed towards Emergency Centers, Network Operations Centers, hospitals, airports, and other businesses requiring accurate, up-to-the-millisecond digital signage under a 24x7 environment. To see more, Google “digital signage” or similar. The same type of monitors are used in HD arcade cabinets, which is why they don’t lag.

While these sets do not typically include HDTV tuners (and thus, are not officially sold as televisions), 95% of you HDTV watchers probably have a box from your cable company that does this already. Just hook it up through Component/DVI/HDMI and you’re ready to roll.

Better yet, Commercial-grade HDTVs do not have ridiculous branding all over the monitor bezel like your typical Sharp, Samsung, or Sony. They are simplistic and classy, like something you’d see in a movie. This is just my opinion, but I think that the 2008 HDTV models from these companies have looked hideous; definitely not something I’d want to mount on my wall.

Without further adieu, my newest HD display, the Viewsonic CD4620:
http://www.viewsonic.com/products/digital-signage/cd4620.htm

Purchased from Newegg at the link below:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824116111

This set has a definite 4ms or lower delay on every signal I’ve thrown at it so far, both SD and HD with no extra gadgets required. The price is definitely high for a 46" display, but was still about $500 cheaper than a 46" 2008 Sony Bravia XBR6 and thousands cheaper than the XBR8. Furthermore, unlike the Sony Bravia sets, this one doesn’t lag!

The next-best solution: HD Fury or Console VGA cable
This is the best solution if you have already made your HDTV purchase and do not plan on upgrading!

http://www.hdfury.com/

The HD Fury is a device that allows you to connect any HDMI device (with HDCP) to a regular analog RGB input port. The original intention of this device is to hook up HDMI devices to analog-only monitors or projectors, and strip the HDCP protection for standard viewing. In our situation, we might be able to eliminate lag with it.

How? Turns out, many (but not all) HDTVs don’t have postprocessing enabled on the VGA port only. That means if you simply plug your PS3/X360 into the VGA port, you should be able to both get high-definition output (with Blu-Ray support, etc) but avoid the 40+ms lag induced by most consumer HDTV postprocessing. The HD Fury doesn’t actually do any upscaling or downscaling; it simply converts the signal from digital to analog.

**If it’s an X-Box 360 you need to hook up, there is an official Microsoft VGA Cable which will accomplish the same thing with much less work.

If it’s a PS3 or Wii you need to hook up, there is a 3rd party cable that ought to do the trick.**

These cables should take care of what the HD Fury does much more cheaply, but of course only work with the specific consoles!

What about my Playstation 2 or older console?

If you’re still worried about gaming on your PS2, you can still use the HD PRO BOX (Cheap!) or the XRGB-2+ to get a “straight-to-VGA” connection for HDTVs and also rid yourself of those pesky 480i signals that would’ve caused even more lag.

Remember that Dreamcast doesn’t need an upscaling box, you can simply purchase a Dreamcast VGA box and hook it up straight to your HDTV’s VGA port for theoretical lag-free gaming.

There’s also the excellent DVDO Edge, which completely eliminates upscaling lag but won’t do much for postprocessing lag issues. If you were to pair this up with an HD Fury, you’d have the ultimate combination since you could hook up all of your consoles to the DVDO Edge and then output everything at once to your HDTV’s lag-free VGA port!

~~

Let’s get cracking on a lag-free future!


Assistance with my tv for ssf4
BEST gaming TV I can get today?
Help with TV lag issue
Do the newer games like kof and vf lag on hdtvs?
How do stream/tournament setups record while using VGA?
Monitor Decision: VH236H vs VS239H
Sub 1 frame HDTV/Monitor Input Lag Database
Info Thread: Rules, FAQs and Tutorials Inside. (READ THIS BEFORE HITTING THAT NEW THREAD BUTTON!)
120hz and input lag
What kind of TV should I buy to get no-lag when I play?
2ms Monitor Question
WTS: Viewsonic CD4220 42" Commercial Display $500 OBO
ASUS VH236H and the Wii
Asus vh236h(evo monitor) cable connections? and ms comparison
Absolute Question and Answer Thread (ASK YOUR QUESTIONS HERE!)
Looking to buy a lag free HD Monitor or TV (Help me lol)
Looking for a 46"+ LED-LCD TV without "input delay"
Lagless TV?
Sub 1 frame HDTV/Monitor Input Lag Database
Sony XBR 65" Class HX929 smart TV
Best LCD / TV for you?
VGA vs. HDMI cable?
Question about lag in Dual Screen PC
General 3S/3S OE Thread. NO DISCUSSING REBALANCE, unless you like INFRACTIONS!
[Sep 18, 2011] Best Of 3 Gaming Presents: First Blood (Norwalk, CT)
[Sep 24, 2011] EAST COAST AS|SALT - 9 . 24 . 2011 - Norfolk VA (Norfolk, VA)
[Sep 24, 2011] EAST COAST AS|SALT - 9 . 24 . 2011 - Norfolk VA (Norfolk, VA)
"Put down the Flowchart, Scrub!" Ken Video Thread
Best lagless Monitor in Size
Replacement TE joystick? Asus VH236H?
Best 2011 32inch lcd - no to low input lag
#2

Placeholder.


'Sup. About HDMI to VGA conversion and lag input
Best Ultimate Tech Talk Hang Out Loud Edition Season V
Best Ultimate Tech Talk Hang Out Loud Edition Season V
TV no good for gaming?
"anything goin' down tonight?" - The Fresno Thread
Lag input on tv
#3

Q: Is HDTV lag an actual legitimate excuse?

A: No

:smiley:


#4

Another method to test, which is actually much more accurate, but requires more work:

Grab a CRT monitor and a computer that can do dual display. Hookup the computer to both the TV and the monitor, and “clone” (ie both screens show the same thing, make sure you’re sending the HDTV its native resolution). Start a stopwatch application and take several pictures of the HDTV and CRT monitor side by side. The difference in the times show on the CRT stopwatch and the HDTV stopwatch tell you how much lag you have. Taking several pictures helps capture any variation and give you a min/max number.


#5

Are there any Dell 23/24 inch monitors with 1080P that have low lag and hdmi connections? I’d rather avoid spending 2200 dollars… my budget is closer to 400 or less.


#6

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236052


#7

man stfu wit this LAG shit i have 3 HDTV’s in my house NONE of them Lag… one is a 32 one is 47 one is a 57…one is LCD one is DLP one is PLASMA. SHUT THE FUCK UP THREADSTARTER…that will be all


#8

!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!
!!!DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE HOW MUCH AN HDTV LAGS! TEST IT YOURSELF AND POST RESULTS!!!

Why is this important? There are THOUSANDS of HDTVs. Nobody knows how much X or Y HDTV lags off the top of their head–even if they own the HDTV, most people are royal newbs so they’re not going to actually do a real test (like Rock Band 2), they’re just going to pull some shit out of their ass and tell you it’s fine when they play Halo 3 and live in permanent denial.

There may be BANS in the future for thread repliers who do not read the first post! You have been warned!


#9

For all things PC Monitor related, check this thread:
http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=31&threadid=2049206&enterthread=y

It has everything you need to know about different kinds of PC LCD monitors, and lists several recommendations for Hardcore Gaming and how they compare in terms of total input lag.


#10

Also, as a side note, people need to not post things like “I was able to do X combo reliably in Y game, so the lag is unnoticeable”.

Combos are in your fingers. The lag of your TV does NOT affect your ability to do a combo you already have memorized. What it WILL screw over is your ability to do things like hit confirms or react to certain in-game stimuli like “oh snaps, that’s an overhead!”, because the display is running behind the actual game.

It’s very hard to “feel” the lag in a TV without being attuned to it if the lag isn’t horrible, but it will affect your play.


#11

are there any options for playing dreamcast on an HDTV without VGA ports…or in my case, with a VGA port that doesn’t support the resolution from a dreamcast VGA box?


#12

This is my favorite part, considering there are several threads on avsforum talking about this exact same issue with nearly the exact same information (although poonage has put it together in a better format).


#13

I’d say look for a VGA-to-component converter like the Audio Authority 9A60. I got it since my HDTV doesn’t have a VGA port, and it works pretty well. As far as I and others who have used it can tell, it doesn’t seem to add lag to DC games, but don’t hold me to that.


#14

That’s really too bad if your HDTV doesn’t accept the 640x480 resolution via VGA!

You COULD try pairing the VGA box up with an Audio Authority 9A60 which would give you Component output. This would at least get rid of your upscaling lag.


#15

Is there not some $5 HK product that does the same thing as the HDFury? $150 is a big upgrade for a $800 TV.


#16

Good job poonage. The old FAQ was way outdated and it’s not like you would’ve been able to update it now.

One thought, though - the HD Fury isn’t really necessary if you own a 360, as the 360 already has an official VGA cable to output through. I imagine it’ll be a good idea for PS3 owners, though.


#17

Ninja Edit: Here’s your $5 HK product :wink:

Wii and PS3 VGA Cable: http://www.mayflash.com/vgabox/vga004/vga004.htm

Note that this cable does not strip HDCP protection like the HD Fury so you would lose the ability to watch Blu-Ray movies on a PS3 with this cable.

Excellent point, overlooked and will be added.


#18

Nice Viewsonic! Ill track down a copy of Rock Band 2 and test out my 40" Sony Bravia LCD and post results.


#19

Funny, a few days ago I was just wondering “I wonder if there are big 1920x1080 LCDs that don’t have TV tuners and the bells and whistles HDTVs have, just HDMI, VGA and DVI”. I know computer monitors fit this description, but they aren’t big enough to work as a TV you would watch while sitting on a couch, more of a watch while sitting on an office chair.


#20

Yeah I doubt SF4 is gonna lag considering, you know the game is pretty much made in HD with being played on HDTVs in mind. Not to mention Capcom heavily caters to the HDTV audience (Dead Rising for example had problems on SDTVs).