, ,

Input lag

Listen to this glossary

Input lag refers to the delay between the moment a user gives a command on an input device and the system responding to that command. This term is often used in gaming contexts where performance and responsiveness matter greatly, but it can apply to any device that accepts user input, including computers, telephones, and televisions.

The input lag is an essential factor that can significantly affect the performance and usability of a device. It might seem negligible on the surface, but even a delay of a few milliseconds can lead to frustrating experiences for users, particularly those engaged in activities where timing is critical, like in video gaming or professional video editing. The delay in response time can lead to mistimed actions, negatively impacting the overall experience.

In television screens, for example, input lag means the time it takes for a display to represent an image after getting the command from a controller. If the delay is too long, games or movies might be out of sync, causing a jarring experience. Similarly, in the context of VR (Virtual Reality) systems, too much input lag can cause a feeling of discomfort or even motion sickness in some users, as the virtual environment will not respond instantly to their movements. This effect is less noticeable in turn-based games or applications where instant user response is not critical.

When it comes to measuring input lag, it can be challenging because it's often not a specification listed by manufacturers. Players often turn to third-party tests and reviews that measure the input lag of specific models and brands. Some websites and companies specialize in these types of measurements, providing players with an additional resource to guide their purchasing decisions.

Another significant reason for varying input lag is the different screen modes offered by modern televisions. Often, 'game mode' is included to reduce input lag, but some level of image processing typically carried out by the TV is sacrificed to achieve this. For users who prioritize response time over image quality, this is a worthwhile trade-off.

In conclusion, input lag is a critical factor to consider when purchasing a device with an emphasis on speed and precision. Reducing it can enhance the user experience, especially in intense gaming or professional environments. But for other uses, such as watching videos or browsing the web, a high input lag might not have a noticeable effect.