As Fast As Possible
Input lag (or display lag) is the delay between your GPU sending a frame to your monitor and the monitor actually displaying that frame. This is a very important aspect of gaming, where an input lag of 15ms or less is preferred.
Input or display lag is the time (measured in milliseconds) it takes for a TV or monitor to react and display your commands you’ve inputted via a device such as a keyboard, a controller, or a mouse. This also includes all the processing of the image, such as scaling/upconverting, HDR, frame interpolation, deinterlacing, etc.
As you might expect, the amount of input lag is crucial for competitive gaming where every millisecond counts. However, neither TV nor monitor manufacturers state the input lag in the display specifications which is why doing thorough research before getting a new display is highly recommended.
Input Lag vs Response Time
Input lag shouldn’t be confused with the response time speed which is specified by monitor manufacturers but cannot be found on the list of TV specifications.
Response time is measured as the speed at which pixels change from one shade into another, which occurs after the frame is processed.
Input Lag: TV vs Monitor
Since TVs over-process the frames, they have higher input lag than monitors. Many TVs thus offer a dedicated picture presets usually called ‘Game Mode’ which bypasses certain image processing to reduce input lag.
When looking for a TV for console gaming, it’s of utmost importance to check whether it has this feature. Although some may be more sensitive to high input lag than the others, lower is always better.
If you’re looking for a monitor for gaming, there’s usually nothing to worry about as most of the high refresh rate gaming monitors have low input lag as well as a quick response time speed.
For non-gaming purposes, input lag isn’t an issue as you won’t be able to notice it in everyday use.
How to reduce input lag?
If you are experiencing high latency then make sure to check the following items before putting the blame on your TV or monitor:
- Check your network connection for ping
- Ensure that you’re in TV’s Game Mode
- Check your monitor settings for ‘Low Input Lag’ or similar features
- Check if your controller is damaged or has bad batteries
- Avoid cable adapters
- Favor controllers with cables instead of wireless for lower input lag overall
Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time on writing for DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.