Topic: Use the gamepad to test your HDTV lag

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If you've ever wondered how laggy your HDTV set is, or whether its game mode setting actually does anything, the Wii U internet browser gives you an easy chance to find out. You just need a digital camera and about 30 seconds of spare time.

Use the Wii U browser to navigate to and scroll down to "input lag test." Set up your gamepad near the TV so that you can photograph both in one shot, click "start test," and then take at least 3 photos. You want a shutter speed of 1/320 or faster to capture the numbers clearly. It'll look like this:

If your tv is slower (displays a lower time) in all your photos, the difference in time is the amount of lag your set has in comparison to the gamepad. If your set is faster (displays a higher time), that means the set is actually less laggy than the gamepad (only a CRT set should be able to do that).

According to nintendo, the gamepad's response should be within 1/60th of a second, which is a single frame (about 16ms). The fact that my set matched the gamepad in every shot means that its display time could be similar, but because the timer is only updated every 16ms (60 times a second), there could be anywhere between 16-31ms (1-2 frames) of lag on my set before a difference would appear between it and the gamepad. If my set had 32ms of lag or more, then the TV and gamepad would have displayed different times.

If anyone else wants to try this, I'd be interested in seeing their results. This is the method computer gamers have used for years to find how much lag a TV has for gaming, but it's usually done with a PC outputting to two monitors at once- one HDTV and a lag-free CRT to compare against. I assume the Wii U allows you to get the same results, since it pretty much does the same thing. Try it!

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For the sake of being complete I measured the gamepad's own lag time, and I was a little surprised by the results. More often than not, it has a display lag of 2 frames when compared to a 480i CRT:

Here's the thing, though. Because the CRT I used displays in 480i, it's hard to get a clear shot of what frame it's really on. Photos tend to capture every other frame rather than every single one, which means that the pad's lag isn't necessarily 2 whole frames. Some photos actually did show the same time, although the CRT was always switching to the next frame at that point:

Someone would really have to test with a CRT computer monitor that can display in progressive mode to be sure.

goldeneye- 5447 4748 5174


i dont have a wiiU or a proper TV but damn this is interesting !

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Very good idea. My test (plasma) came out with the TV and gamepad nearly identical, but it looked like the numbers were starting to transition on the gamepad first, so my TV might be just slightly behind.

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This is very interesting, when I get a Wii U I'll definitely try this on my big home TV and the tiny TV in my uni room to see what the difference is

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In case anyone didn't see the story on the news page, eurogamer did some tests that showed the same results I got for the gamepad- about 2 frames. They used a much different method though, dare I say it- less scientific. Still, makes me feel more confident in the values I got to have some corroboration:

goldeneye- 5447 4748 5174


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