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 Input Lag Discussion

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Alley_Cat_Jack

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PostSubject: Input Lag Discussion   Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:24 pm

While trying to do research on different types of methods of hooking up my consoles video to my TVs, I seem to have run into the problem of conflicting answers and miss information all over the internet. I figure maybe I would ask you guys, as you will likely have a better idea of how these things work.

Originally, I was going to use my NTSC Genesis with a SCART cable, to a SCART to component adapter for my video. But then I saw all this craze for the XRGB mini upscaler unit, and considered that. But then I thought, maybe that isnt the best idea, as upscaling might cause some input lag. After searching a bit, I found that some people say it does cause input lag. But then again, it wasn't determined if the lag was actually caused by the XRGB mini itself, or the TV it was used on. So then I thought, well the SCART to component shouldn't really ad much lag, or less than the upscaler from how I understand it works. But then again, does using a component input on an LCD cause lag, as the signal would be analog going into the TV, or does this just depend on what TV you use.

So I am no longer confident of what I was sure about before from all the contradictory claims I have been reading, and where the truth lies in all of this. My goal is to get the best image I can on an LCD, with minimal input lag.
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Grambo

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:41 pm

The Framemeister (XRGB Mini) causes about 1.59ms of lag, depending on your source. Every once in a while I find that number increases, most often with an S-Video input, but for the most part, it seems to stick to 1.59ms. One video frame takes 16.68 milliseconds (1/59.94 second), so the 1.59 is negligible. The Framemeister is fast.
That being said, the TV is the big issue. I can't tell you the exact delay in my system, it's good, but I can certainly notice it when I switch from using my CRT.
Alley_Cat_Jack wrote:
My goal is to get the best image I can on an LCD, with minimal input lag.
Fast HDMI Processor in your TV + Framemeister = Smile
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Alley_Cat_Jack

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:07 am

Thanks. From what I was seeing on the videos about the lag on the XRGB, I was pretty sure a lot was to do with the TV. Why would someone want to spend that much on an upscaler that is useless for gaming, but a lot of people get them.

I'll grab my TV model number in a bit and check out what I can find about the lag it might cause. I know I was very picky with the TV I got with full intent on using it for gaming, and I believe it claimed to have a 2ms response time, but then again, they like to trick you with numbers. That might be with only one of the inputs, or only in certain modes, and so on.
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Grambo

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:18 am

For sure, go ahead and do some research on your TV, but anything and everything the manufacturer tells you will be useless. The 2ms response time is a measurement of how quickly each individual pixel can change from black to white or grey to grey. This doesn't really concern us for gaming, whatsoever.

What concerns us is processing delay, or, what everyone seems to like calling "input lag". For the record, I don't care for the term "input lag". It's become the norm, so I don't mind using it or when others use it, but I like to think that "processing delay" describes it more accurately.

A flatscreen HDMI TV's delay can range anywhere from 15ms (good luck) to over 150ms Shocked Projectors are generally even worse than this.
Suddenly the Framemeister's 1.59ms doesn't seem worth mentioning.

One of the best ways to just do a simple, rough test on your TV is Rock Band 2 or 3. You can do the automatic calibration (the one that uses the sensor on the guitar) or the manual method. Tada, there's your delay, displayed in ms.

You're also absolutely right about the delay varying between inputs, modes, resolution, etc... these all play a role in determining the delay.
It's a shame more manufacturers don't release these numbers, but you can find lots of tests online and they're probably more honest than what a manufacturer would claim.

I'll dispel a couple of, what I believe to be, myths though...

1) It's not always that newer and more expensive that gets you less delay. Manufacturers have always focused on TV, not gaming; This is changing. TVs are coming out with more and more unnecessary bullshit processing everyday (motion interpolation is fucking ridiculous). As long as audio and video are synced, the average consumer doesn't care one bit; Just delay the audio, it'll be fine Rolling Eyes .

2) Some people say the best way to tell a good TV is to watch a bunch of TVs in a store that all have the same input and then you can see which is fastest. This is true, but it is usually that the TVs in an environment like that are all hooked up to cable. The quality and speed of digital demodulators (tuners) varies HUGELY and we don't care about this for gaming either, as we're not using the CATV input. It might be an indication that the TV has faster/better components, but it certainly isn't the deciding factor.

Hope this helps clear the waters a bit.


Last edited by Grambo on Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alley_Cat_Jack

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:27 am

Just finished up a SNES repair so I had time to check what my LCD model is. It is a LG 42LD520 with the IPS panel. I have been looking, but am having trouble finding any hard numbers to tell what the input lag is. But what most people are saying is that it is among the best for input lag, almost non existent.

Also, does anyone know what the input lag is like for the SCART to component method? Such as using a CSY2100.
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MaxWar

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:30 am

I only Retro game on CRT and original hardware as much as possible. Input lag is a silent killer. When It is very high you can tell immediately. But when it is moderate you may not notice it yet it will still have a big impact on the game experience without you immediately realize it.

An important point is that Input lag is only relevant when calculated in frame lag.  
1 frame input lag + 1.6 ms from framemeister might still be 1 frame lag in total so using the Scaler would not change anything for practical purpose.

But the lag adds up until you hit the next frame delay bar.
That means even a 1 ms delay can be relevant if its what you need to hit the next frame delay.
Anything can add delay. The TV, the console inputs scheme, emulation, signal transcoders, scalers, screen filters etc...  
When you realize this you understand why there is conflicting information.  

Flat TVs are often the main source. But I suspect newer consoles also have bigger input lag that your average retro setup.
I play Genesis on a CRT with all original hardware and I swear I can feel the immediateness in the controls.

By opposition I was playing emulators on a Original Xbox on a LCD TV at a friends place recently and honestly I could barely play games I was used to play.
Like I was dying in metalman stage in MM2.
Input lag was so severe I could almost count it.
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Grambo

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:34 am

Alley_Cat_Jack wrote:
Also, does anyone know what the input lag is like for the SCART to component method? Such as using a CSY2100.
Depends on the method. CSY2100 is an analog device, so no delay will occur.
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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:51 am

Yeah, I know it's better to play these on a CRT, but I just don't have the room for one right now. I had a very nice CRT, but didn't have room for it when I moved, so that isn't an option at the moment.

However, that being in mind. If I do eventually end up in a place with room for a CRT, having a XRGB mini wouldn't be all that helpful since it outputs HDMI. I would likely be better to go with using component as it would be useable on my LCD for now, and then CRT later.
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Grambo

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:25 am

A lot of flatscreens will not accept or display a 240p signal on the component inputs. Try hooking up composite 240p to the Y (Green) and see what happens. If it works, the picture will be black and white. It'll most likely display "Incorrect Format" or something of the like.
Additionally, 240p signals usually look pretty bad directly plugged into a flatscreen, as a lot of TVs will try and deinterlace the progressive signal.

Retro consoles on flatscreens is a tough battle.
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Drakon
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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:30 pm

Yeah I use crts. I would be more fine with flatscreens if there wasn't lag.
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Grambo

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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:30 pm

Just a thought I had...

I'm not very knowledgeable with NES development, but I wonder how feasible it would be to create an NES ROM that uses the Zapper to detect input lag... seems more than possible. This way you'd get your TRUE count of how many frames of lag you have in your system, taking in ALL accounts of processing time.
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Drakon
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PostSubject: Re: Input Lag Discussion   Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:40 pm

Grambo wrote:
Just a thought I had...

I'm not very knowledgeable with NES development, but I wonder how feasible it would be to create an NES ROM that uses the Zapper to detect input lag... seems more than possible. This way you'd get your TRUE count of how many frames of lag you have in your system, taking in ALL accounts of processing time.
Well, look into asm programming. It's doable but not like you could calibrate the console for lag.
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