One of the interesting media features of the upcoming Xbox One is a dedicated HDMI input port. Microsoft included the port to allow users to connect their cable or satellite television boxes, which passes the video signal through the console to the TV and enables a number of overlay and control features, major aspects of the overall Xbox experience. According to brief comments made by Microsoft’s Director of Planning Albert Penello, however, users should stick to non-interactive sources for the Xbox One’s HDMI input due to latency issues.
Mr. Penello’s comments were made during the Tokyo Game Show last week, and were elaborated by a follow-up post on the NeoGAF forums. He explained that users are free to connect any HDMI source to the Xbox One’s input port, including even the rival PlayStation 4, but inherent latency issues involved in the interception, processing, and display of the HDMI signal, not to mention copy protection requirements, all add a slight delay to the final image on the screen. The console can cope with this delay for non-interactive video sources, such as live TV from a cable box, and synchronize the audio and video to produce a final output on the TV without any latency apparent to the user.
But for interactive sources, such as game consoles and computers, the latency would be noticeable and detrimental to the user. As Mr. Penello explained, “long story short it won’t be a great experience…HDMI latency is fine for video feeds, but not great interactive.”
While this may be disappointing news to gamers who had hopes of connecting other consoles to directly to the Xbox One, owners of Microsoft’s upcoming console can still look forward to utilizing the port for video sources, and taking advantage of the console’s interactive features such as dynamic fantasy sports statistics while watching football, and actor information while watching movies.
The Xbox One will launch in North America, most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on November 22. Sony’s PS4 will hit North America a week earlier, on November 15, but a week later, the 29th, for the rest of the world.