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Attn Wii Gamers: Best HDTV for the Wii

  1. May 17, 2010 #1


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    OK, I have finally concluded an exhaustive search for a new television. Over this search, I would look at dozens of TVs at a handful of stores, and I would even buy three. So what’s the problem? Aren’t most TVs these days affordable and have great pictures? Well yes. The problem wasn’t can a TV display a great picture, it was how fast can it do it.

    You see, HDTVs these days have native resolutions of 1080 x 768 (pixels that is). Now, if a signal is coming from your Blu-Ray player, PS3, HD cable service, or any other high definition source, then it’s easy to take the 1080i/p signal and display each piece of information in its proper pixel. However, what if the incoming signal is a *gasp* standard-definition signal? Now a standard-definition signal is only 480 x 320. That means that the signal only has enough information to fill less than 20% of the screen. Now I won’t ***** about interlaced vs progressive or anything, but the irrefutable fact is that the TV needs to “make up” for this lack of information. It needs to use algorithms and such to fill in the spaces.

    Now, what does this have to do with the Wii? The problem with the Wii is that is only outputs in standard-definition. You get 480i with composite video and 480p with component. So, it takes a finite amount of time to “fill the gaps”. Now manufacturers list response times on their specifications, but this is high-def to high-def response, not low-def to high-def. The first TV that I purchased, before realizing all of this was a Hitachi 46″ LCD.

    The input lag from the Wii was immediately noticeable. I took it back and got a 46″ Vizio. Again, it was horrible. It’s like you’re pointing your remote at the left side of the screen, and the cursor would make it’s way over when it felt like it. After this, I started taking a quantitative procedure.

    I seen on a website how one guy made a video basically of just a timer. That could then be output to a television. A picture is then taken and the two images are compared against each other. The setup for my final TV is shown below.
    So what we did is hook a portable DVD player via composite video (since composite is 480i, the same as the Wii) to the TV. Since my timer only goes to the nearest hundredth of a second my results should only be valid plus minus 5 milliseconds or so. I did test each TV several times and average the results. Anywho, notice on this picture that the two images are identical. There is no upconvert lag on this television. On the Vizio I had, there was 40ms lag, and the Hitachi I started with had an impressive 60ms of lag! So, the final TV I got, which was the ONLY HDTV I found to have no lag was the Panasonic TC-P50G25, 50″ plasma. A friend of mine has a three-ish year old Panasonic plasma which has no lag either. So, here are some results:
    Code (Text):

    Brand   Model   Size    Type    Price Tested At     480i Upconvert Lag (ms)
    LG       n/a        50″   Plasma  $950    15
    Panasonic   TC-P50S14   50″   Plasma  $898    10
    Hitachi     L46S603     46″   LCD     $898    60
    Samsung     LN4B550     46″   LCD     $899    17
    Samsung     UN4666300   46″   LED-LCD     $1529   20
    LG      46LD550     46″   LCD     $1099   40
    Insignia    NS-L46X-10A     46″   LCD     $798    20
    Samsung     PN50B53052F     50″   Plasma  $1099   12
    Samsung     PN50C550G1PXZA  50″   Plasma  $1169   ~10
    Panasonic   TC-P50S2    50″   Plasma  $1099   20
    LG      50PJ350     50″   Plasma (720p)   $797    20
    Samsung     UN4666500   46″   LED-LCD (3D-ready)  $2099   40
    Toshiba     42ZV650U    42″   Plasma  $947    20
    Samsung     PN50C590    50″   Plasma  $1299   <10
    Panasonic   TC-P50G-T25     50″   Plasma  $1349   0
    Ok, so hopefully I have no typos there. There were a few things to notice and learn. While this certainly wasn’t an extensive study, some conclusions can be drawn, though not conclusively proven. They are:
    • Plasma TVs perform significantly better than LCD at the 480 upconvert lag.
    • The LED backlighting makes no difference in the upconvert lag.
    • Higher-end LED do not perform better than baseline models.
    • Panasonic and Samsung are BY FAR the best plasma sets for upconvert lag.
    • Last year (2009) Samsung performed much worse that this model year. Look at the PN50 series (C is 2010 year, and B is 2009)
    • Plasma higher end TV perform better than baseline. Look at the Panasonic TC-P50S series vs TC-P50G series.
    All in all, if you want to play your Wii on a big-*** screen, get a high-end Panasonic plasma, you can’t go wrong.

    edit: To put the lag in a more qualitative view, it’s kind of like this.
    • 10ms is hardly noticeable. Lag only affects precision games, racing, fighting, shooting, etc. However, when playing those games, you do get pissed off.
    • 20ms is noticeable on all games. All games piss you off.
    • 30ms makes most games very difficult to play.
    • 40ms makes games nearly impossible to play.
    • 60ms – Hitachi seriously? How the **** do you expect anyone to play a game with 60ms of input lag.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2010 #2


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    Absolutely wrong. All "full HD" (a.k.a. 1080p) HDTV's have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. Some lower-end models may advertivse themselves as being "HD" (in that they are higher resolution than TV from 15 years ago) and may be 720p which is 1280 x 720, or possibly 1024x768 or 1024x720.

    I have never seen a TV that has a native resolution of 1080x768; in fact, that isn't even a standard aspect ratio (45:32, 1.406:1). Standard HDTV's these days are usually 16:9, 1.777:1.
  4. May 19, 2010 #3


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    Whoops, completely wrong there. Got to typing faster than I was thinking. Thanks for the correction.
  5. May 26, 2010 #4
    Hi, I registered here to say that I applaud your post very much.

    Input lag has been an issue with all digital displays since not too long after they were first put to use in mass.

    The biggest reason they remain a problem is that people do not draw enough attention to the issue as you have.

    Part of the reason for that is the fact that most simply do not notice the lag, rather, when they start playing, they do not know to notice it, and just accept it in stride as part of the game. In reality, most people would notice it if you gave them a side by side comparison opportunity.

    There are a number of sources a input lag. However, LCD's are more commonly a culprit because they have specific processing which is benefitted by intentionally buffering a series of images before display. This processing is to reduce the "blur" or "pixel response" LCDs are plauged with.

    However, all digital displays can be prone to it. The biggest thing to note here is that, in all cases, the opportunity exists to essentially eliminate input lag by improving the design. We just need to draw more attention to the issue.

    One last thing... I noticed your input lag test used another LCD to test for the lag. This is a no-no!!! that's because the digital display you used has input lag in itself! You need to use a CRT with the appropriate input "Y"'d off to a CRT and the display to test.

    Personally, I game with my Wii on a Samsung LNT5271f with the Wii's component output connected directly to the TV. My Samsung's input lag is "not bad" for a big LCD and it looks great. I definitely recommend component over composite (ugh, why are you using composite?) hooked directly to the TV. I used to connect the Wii's component to my A/V receiver which would upconvert to 1080i over HDMI for the TV, this was far inferior to hooking it directly to the TV for several reasons...
  6. Jun 1, 2010 #5


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    Well, taking a CRT to various stores was really just a logistical issue. The idea was not necessarily to measure the absolute lag (what does 7 ms mean to me?), rather to simply get a comparison between them. So, while the absolute number may be incorrect, one should be able to safely assume that my LCD tester lag was approximately the same in each test. [wow giant run-on sentence]

    I appreciate your applause though; this really was a pain in the ***. I was shocked at some of the incredible lags by some of the manufacturers. As far as noticing, I think that the Wii really amplifies the effect by giving the user a "cursor". I mean, if I simply have a controller, then I hit left, and the cursor snaps left. It may not be noticeable. However, when I'm pointing my Wii-mote at the left of the screen, and the on-screen cursor is still finding it's lazy-*** over, then I see it immediately.

    p.s. There is a reason for the composite (and I realize that component looks much better). The reason is so I can have the Wii hooked up to multiple displays. The new TV is the only HD one I have, so the PS3 is always hooked up to it. When not playing the PS3, I want the Wii hooked up the HDTV, but if it is, I hate switching wires. So, I simply have the composite video output split, which I can route to the really-old CRT (which I call auxiliary TV 1 :hehe:). Ideally, I'd like component to the HDTV, and then converted to composite for the second input, but I'm not sure how to do it.

    Thanks again for input/facts/etc!
  7. Jun 1, 2010 #6
    That's no excuse for using composite. Get yourself an A/V receiver and / or some kind of display switcher/multiplexer. If $$$ is the issue, then definitely understood!

    Glad you understand that your against an LCD lag tests are not absolute. But, I still have a qualm with your assertions table on what levels of lag are good, acceptable and bad (the 10ms - 60ms comments). You should remove this information as it is invalid and based on a test which was done against a "non-standard" so to speak.
  8. Jun 3, 2010 #7
    Thanks for your post. The only console I own is Wii, and I just purchased that same panasonic TV 50 inch G25 (online, havent received yet)

    I hope my experiences with the input delay are as good as your own. I tend to be rather sensitive to lag and have played on CRTs all of my life.

    Any idea if using the component cables for 480p on the Wii will help reduce the upscaling lag further?
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