Expect lag with the PlayStation TV

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PlayStationTV

I want a PlayStation TV. I have no idea, but the idea of a microconsole that’s capable not only of playing Vita games, but also PlayStation 4 gaming content beamed to my secondary TV appeals to me. Unfortunately, it seems it might not be suitable for my needs. Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry played with the thing, and in a Wi-fi environment, found the lag to be too much of an issue.

“We ran the PS4 at 720p resolution in order to match the amount of processing the display would need to do on the PlayStation TV signal, then filmed the screen with a high-speed camera at 120fps,” said Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter. “We then looked at the footage and counted how many frames it took for the exact same frame to render first on PS4 before it appeared on PlayStation TV.

“With a direct WiFi connection, a disappointing 100ms to 116ms latency, with an occasional spike to 150ms. Remember, that’s in addition to the game’s inherent input lag and the latency in your display. We tried a second approach by hooking up two high-end capture cards to our PC, using Open Broadcasting Software to composite the two images into the same stream, and captured that.

“The same tests produced the same results – 100ms to 116ms delay between the exact same frame displayed on PS4 making its way via WiFi to the Vita – and the same occasional lurches in refresh.”

Thankfully, on a wired connection to both points, the latency is a significantly better – but there’s a caveat that frame rates of 60fps in games will be dropped to 30fps and the resolution to 720p when the PlayStation TV is used as an extender. There’s a secondary caveat in that there appears to be region locking in place; Eurogamer couldn’t get their UK games working on their imported unit.

And of course, Remote Play on the Vita or Vita TV still can’t match up to the lag-free experience of Nintendo’s built-for-the-purpose Off-screen Gamepad streaming from the Wii U. Still, it’s a sexy device that would make for a pretty great Netflix box that allows for game streaming as a bonus. It’s coming to US and European markets in the Southern Hemisphere’s spring.

What do you think? Is this a device that could find its place, or is this sort of thing just another reason Sony’s still struggling financially?

Last Updated: June 23, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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