Video Latency Explained
Sanjay Patel, Chief Technology Officer, Melford Technologies - November 2022
In the video world, latency is the time-delay between the instant a frame is captured and the instant that frame is displayed.
Latency is the delay from input into a system to desired outcome; the term is understood slightly differently in various contexts and latency issues also vary from one system to another.
Low latency is a design goal for any system where there is real-time interaction with the video content, such as video conferencing or where real-time interaction or reaction is essential.
Latency greatly affects how usable and enjoyable electronic and mechanical devices as well as communications are.
Defining "Low Latency"
There is no universal absolute value that de ines low latency. Instead, what is considered acceptable low latency varies by application.
When humans interact with video in a live video conference or when playing a game, latency lower than 100 milli-seconds (ms) is considered low, because most humans don’t perceive a delay that small.
PICTURE 1 - Showing potential video latency, from image capture to display:
In effect the Monitor is showing a picture that is one and a half frames behind the real-life event.
PICTURE 2 - Showing zero video latency, between image capture to display:
By using a graphics card with no buffer, Melford can produce a monitor where the picture displayed, is as close to real-time, as the naked eye can perceive.
Melford’s Solution to Minimise Latency Issues
To minimise the effect of Latency in applications where synchronisation, for example, between orchestra and conductor, music and dance, or where stage-acting and sound effects are in use, Melford have incorporated a minimal Latency graphics card, with no buffering.
This enables the Image to be displayed virtually immediately compared to other monitors, that may have image-buffering. This can make the difference between seamless synchronisation of audio sound & vision or the possibility of apparent time-delays between audio sound & vision coordination! Please see the Picture 2 above, showing the monitor displaying the image in real-time.
Melford Technologies offers a diverse range of low latency monitors to meet your requirements and we can tailor bespoke solutions to your needs. Learn more on our Public Awareness Monitors page or feel free to contact us.
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Meet The Author
Sanjay Patel, Chief Technology Officer, Melford Technologies
A Melford veteran, Sanjay has been with us for over 20 years providing his deep technical and design expertise and bringing with him experience in power electronics and lighting solutions, underwater remote operating vehicles and battery management systems. Sanjay provides excellent hands-on capabilities to the team and provides a visual approach to solving any technical issues or concerns our customers might have. Outside of work, Sanjay can be found rebuilding engines and maintaining vehicles, as well as developing his building and carpentry skills – he always has a project on the go!