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Thursday June 15, 2006 10:30 pm

Resolving HDTV Lag In Games

HDTVThe Xbox 360 has sought to usher in the era of high definition gaming, and many gamers have purchased HDTV sets to go along with their new Xbox 360s. However, while HDTV offers spectacular pictures at stunning resolutions, there are some issues, the most vexxing of which is HDTV lag. IGN.com tries to dissect the problem, and offer up some solutions to the issue. There are basically two areas where HDTV lag can occur: first, when resolutions other than the native resolution of the television are used, the TV will have to alter the signal to display correctly on the set. This will sometimes require scaling the image up or down in resolution, and may also require converting the signal from an interlaced signal to progressive, or vice-versa, depending on the television type. This conversion takes a finite amount of time, and depending on the television, will either be so quick as to be unnoticeable in gaming, or can be long enough to affect the ability to play games at all.

The second issue occurs when there are additional filtering options offered by the TV. One of the more common is Samsung’s DNIe, but most of the high end HDTV manufacturers will have their own proprietary signal filter that will attempt to improve the picture seen by the user. This process again takes time. Usually it doesn’t take that long for signal processing to occur, but combined with the time taken to scale the image in the previous examples, this can again cripple gaming.

IGN proposes a few solutions to this problem. First, if the gamer hasn’t bought an HDTV set, try to test the set first with some timing intensive games in the store first. Obviously, it will be difficult to bring your dance pad in to work through some 10 foot Dance Dance Revolution tracks, but fighting games are notoriously twitch sensitive.

If you already have a set, try and set your HDTV to as close to native resolution as possible. With some consoles, this will be next to impossible. The Gamecube supports 480P resolution on some games, but most will be 480i. The Playstation 2 will have even fewer 480p games.  Most original Xbox games are also 480p, but some will support 720p and higher resolutions. The Xbox 360 should offer native support for most resolutions, including 480p, 720p, and 1080i. Relying on the Xbox 360’s internal scaler should help resolve the issue in most circumstances.

They also recommend turning off any image enhancement filters on the TV. Some sets offer a “game” mode that passes the signal through without any additional filtering, and this may help as well. Finally, if none of these help, it may be necessary to purchase hardware that has a faster scaling engine than the one in the television set. IGN has a couple of recommendations, including the Micomsoft XRGB boxes that are usually available from import stores like Lik-Sang or NCSX.

Read More | IGN Gear

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