Input Lag of 2014 TVs
The input lag of a television is the time that elapses between a picture being generated by the source to the picture appearing on the screen. An input lag of more than 50ms starts to be noticeable by competitive gamers, > 75ms by good gamers playing fast games and > 100ms by the majority of people. Anything more than 125ms renders fast games unplayable.
Input lag of 2014 TVs
The following table lists all input lag times that we measured for 2014 TVs.
Input lag of 2013 TVs
How do I fix the input lag problem of my television?
Don't worry, most televisions can be adjusted so that they do not have high input lag. Try the following (which is how we set up the TVs in our tests):
- Set the TV to Game or PC Mode
- Disable all the television's settings
Additionally, you can try a lot of combinations of settings/modes/inputs.
To get the lowest input lag on Samsung TVs, you need to turn on Game mode. You can find it under System -> General. This usually drops the input lag by half.
Why is input lag important?
Input lag is only important if you are playing video games. Movies or TV shows are not affected, because you cannot interact with the signal. If your television has high input lag, you will see all your movements and interactions delayed on the screen. This is even more important in timing-critical games, like FPS games, or rhythm-based games like Guitar Hero. When watching a movie, though, even if the video is delayed by one minute, you will not see a difference unless the sound is not also delayed.
Why does the television take time to display a picture?
There are three main functions that delay the television: acquiring the source image, processing the image, and displaying it.
Acquisition of the image
The source signal does not always come in a native format for the television. A digital television will have to convert the analog RGB component signal to digital. This conversion takes time. If you are seeing a lot of lag from an analog signal, try using a digital signal instead, because the television will need to do fewer operations to transform it. The closer you are to the television's native format, the less input lag you will have.
Once the image is in a format understandable by the video processor, it can change it. This includes:
- Adding overlays (like menus)
- Adjusting the colors and brightness
- Interpolating the picture to match the television's refresh rate
- Scaling it (720p -> 1080p)
The time this step takes is affected by the speed of the video processor and the amount of processing needed. Even if you cannot control the speed of the processor, you can control which operations it needs to do with the settings of the television. The more settings you enable, the more work the processor needs to achieve.
Some televisions have a dual core processor in them. This can help reducing the input lag if a lot of processing options are turned on.
Displaying the image
Once the television has processed the image, it is ready to be displayed on the screen. This is the step where the video processor sends the image to the screen. However, the screen cannot change its state instantly - the time will depend on the technology and components of the television. A plasma screen can change its picture faster than an LCD screen. You cannot control the time of that phase; it is fixed per television.
How is it measured?
Input lag is not an official television specification because it depends on two varying factors: the type of source and the settings of the television. The easiest way you can measure it is by connecting a computer to the TV and displaying the same timer on both screens. You can find such a timer here. Then, if you take a picture of both screens, the time difference will be your input lag. This is, however, an approximation, because your computer does not necessarily output both signals at the same time. For example, the setup to the right indicates an input lag of 40ms (1:06:260 – 1:06:220).
In our tests, we measure it using a dedicated device made just for this: the Leo Bodnar tool. This is a lot more accurate than the two screens method (except for with plasma TVs).
Television maker knows that adding a lot of video processing increases input lag, which is why they usually have a gaming mode setting. Gaming mode will disable some of the television's most time-consuming processing. However, the gaming mode is not necessarily the setting that guarantees the lowest input lag of the television; you will sometimes need to play with the other settings to get the optimal input lag time.
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