In quest of getting all of my consoles lagless on my HDTV
- July 15th, 2011
- By MogKnight
Every music and fighting game fanatic dread this issue: Dealing with lag on an HDTV. I, being one who played one too many video games to notice every bit of input lag, ended up making a huge investment on replacing my old CRT for an HDTV. It’s all good and great when I’m playing on my Xbox 360 or watching whatever. However, it’s a total punk to play Playstation 2 or original Xbox on it and I can only imagine that it is more or less the same with older consoles.
It’s actually pretty amazing when you start looking up information about this. Nearly 80% of people (I guess that’s the casual gamer percentage?) have not the slightest clue that they are playing with some lag. Now, yeah, there will always be some amount of lag and nothing is ever perfectly lagless but I would have people that would play games like Street Fighter IV and end up getting used to playing on some horrid video lag that it completely screws up their timing.
This goes for old classic games too. I have a huge collection of fighting and shmup games on my PS2, most of which will probably never see re-release. Sure, Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition is coming out on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 but what about Capcom vs SNK 2? What about all those Darkstalker games? Melty Blood? As much as I could use emulation as a solution, I’d much rather play on the original console if I have access to the original console.
So why the hell do these games lag on an HDTV? Without getting too technical, these consoles usually produce images at 480i and at most 480p. When you’re dealing with an HDTV, they usually don’t display 480i or 480p natively, which means that they are incapable of displaying those screen resolutions. What ends up happening is that the HDTV will upscale the image to 720. This upscaling process usually causes the lag since the image is being reformatted and blown up on the fly. Because of that, games will present some sort of visual lag that would throw you off if you’re playing something that requires pixel perfect accuracy.
One easy solution is to simply buy a CRT. However, because of the limited living space that I have right now (and lets face it, a CRT can be pretty cumbersome when you also have an HDTV to go with it), we would have to go into finding ways around this.
What are those methods? Well, one thing I was looking at was an HD Box Pro. One nice thing about about HDTVs is that they usually come equipped with VGA input. Considering this, VGA does not get upscaled by the TV itself and instead, all the processing occurs in the HD Box Pro. Which means that anything you shove into the HD Box Pro, it gets outputted via VGA and straight to the TV and you should have lagless gameplay. Now, I hear there are some issues about this that involves scrolling lines but it seems to be random as to which box has one or not. It didn’t look too annoying when I first saw videos of this but I dunno, the ADD inside me might think otherwise when I’m actually sitting down with a game.
Even the picture states that it is $55+S&H USD, you can actually find it much cheaper on eBay for around 40 shipped and apparently Monoprice has a clone of it for about the same. Note that it only takes in component input, which is fine if you just want to hook up your PS2/PS3, Wii/GC and Xbox to a monitor. Otherwise, I’ve yet to find a solution for older consoles such as the Super Nintendo or the Sega Genesis.
For those wanting to hook up their current gen consoles to their PC monitors (since this does output in VGA), the Xbox 360 does have an official VGA cable that you can buy and the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii will work perfectly fine with the HD Box Pro or with any other 3rd party VGA cable.
Now to figure out a way to hook up my old Nintendo onto my HDTV… Lagless Mario.