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HDTV Gaming Lag |

I’d never heard of gaming lag until a friend of mine with an LCD HDTV complained about it to me one day. Apparently, the image on his screen was being displayed just a bit after it really should. So my friend would react to something that he sees on screen, but his reactions were always too late. Therefore, gaming became a very frustrating experience for him, and he couldn’t use his nice LCD rear-projection HDTV to play video games.

I had no idea what he was talking about.

It never happened to me, and this article from IGN helps explain why. Some kinds of displays are less affected by gaming lag than others. IGN points out that CRT displays are among the least affected, and I have a CRT rear-projection HDTV. So that was explained. But I think that IGN also puts the finger on the real problem. It might be that CRT displays are less affected, but I think that it’s more to do with the video processing that is part of the HDTV. The HDTV has to take the incoming video signal and process it for display. It might have to do some deinterlacing. Some scaling. Sometimes a display will do colour correction, edge enhancement, and other fake effects to trick you into thinking you see a better image when in fact you’re just seeing a less accurate one. IGN points out that often these things can be disabled, and that some HDTV’s even have gaming modes that disable these things for you.

What does this mean for you? Ideally you could bring your console into a store and try it out on a display that you’re thinking of purchasing. Often that’s not possible. So you’ll having to do some research on the internet, and see if gaming lag is a problem for the set you’re thinking of buying. You can also see if the set has a gaming mode.

It’s not really a problem we need. We already have to think about DLP versus LCD versus whatever. HDMI and 1080p. PVR and cable versus satellite. Etc. But if you don’t make sure that your television doesn’t suffer from gaming lag, you could be in for a very frustrating experience. Take it from my friend – it’s not a pleasant experience.

IGN – HDTV-Gaming-Lag: An Epidemic Exposed

  • Tosh

    I hope they fix this problem with the new TV’s coming out around the PS3 launch.

  • Precisely why I purchased my Samsugn DLP TV. I knew I was more concerned with gaming and fast action video. So after doing research, I discovered that LCD is prone to screen lag or ghosting. I did go to the store and check LCD vs DLP (they had a sony right next to my samsung). I felt the LCD’s colors were over-saturated and the DLP was a bit more natural.

    Had my DLP for a month now and I love it.

    Has Sony mandated all PS3 games will be outputted at all HD resolutions (up to 1080p)? Or is that up to the developer to support what they want? I’d be concerned with that. Having a mixed bag isn’t that great.

  • I think it’s up to each developer to choose between 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. Hmmm…. actually, I don’t think that Sony is mandating HD at all. But I’m not sure.

  • As an additional comment/question…Has Sony mandated (or even suggested) that all games be outputted in HD at all?

    Obviously it’d be in a developer’s benefit to do their games in HD, but not having a HD guarantee wouldn’t sit well with me.

  • That’s what I was just saying: I don’t think it is mandated, though I’m not sure.

  • briankeith

    Not in public at least. Anyway I’m here to tell you that I have a rear-projection LCD tv. I get ZERO lag in games. Also, from Hennings excerts from IGN sounds like they don’t have all their info correct. Every TV has it’s downfalls. DLP, LCD and CRT. You just got to choose the one you can live with. For me, CRTs size limits and weight made it not a good first choice for me when building my ultimate home theather. I also couldn’t stand the black levels on DLPs that were affordable. The rainbow effect was a big problem for me too. Not that I saw it but, I inivte a lot of people over.. and I didnt want to show off my new home theater and someone goes.. “what’s that??”. And then there was new DLP tech coming out just around the corner. I felt kinda silly buying what would soon be old tech. So I got a lcd which I know has it’s own shortcomings. Like, dead pixels.. I took a leap of faith with this one. And I made it through just fine. No dead pixels. Viewing angle? Works pretty good but when you have a big set, you kinda by pass that a bit. LCDs are generally more expensive, I got mine at 65% off. As far as color levels, you were dead on.. LCDs have color level issues, but then again so does all the TVs at any store (that’s a long post within it’s self) what you may have picked was what looked best in the worse case scenerio (at the store). To fix the color level issue just get it professionally calibrated. Something you should do anyway unless you already have the tools.

    Anyway.. now im waiting on SED. ^_^

  • Guy

    I notice no lag when seeing the 360 being played on a 720p LCD HDTV(though I guess my eyes are not that sensitive). It won’t be a problem for me as I do not notice ghosting at all(unless the response time is very high). Use your eyes, not paper.

  • Matt

    My Samsung DLP has no lag at all.

    I still have not met a single person who can see the “rainbow effect” on my TV (a 2005 model). I think the rainbow deal is over, with the improved technology the past few years.

    Briankeith is very correct in saying that YOU need to go to the store and look at the different models that are in your price range. Go several times and spend some time with them. I was between the Sony 50″ A10 and the Samsung 50
    ” DLP. I had problems with the Sony that I didn’t have with the Sammy. After 3-4 months of obsesive viewing I chose the Samsung. Throw 100 guys into that situation and I bet that the results would be very close to 50-50.

    I am still sticking to my first comment and insist that people get over 37″ HDTVs. You are far less likely to suffer from buyers remorse.

  • joe

    McWilliams: I think what you’r etalking about is the refresh rate, not game lag.

  • Dan