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leveling up our living room [May. 27th, 2008|01:06 pm]
Ealasaid and I had our first anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Our "paper" anniversary, I guess it's called - though I couldn't think of anything I especially wanted that was made out of paper. "Innumerable twenty-dollar bills", I guess... though I think U.S. currency is actually mostly cotton-based, so that was out.

So anyhow: in lieu of exchanging anniversary presents, we decided to communally upgrade our living room TV from "adequate" to "the largest television that we were physically capable of extracting from Costco". This is literally true - note the eight femtometers of clearance inside the vehicle. Mind you, not that we had the presence of mind to actually check that the TV would fit before we had it in the parking lot; it is only through sheer idiot chance that everything worked out so non-tragically.

The pics tell the story: old and busted; new hotness. Given the (lack of) size of our apartment, it is a terrifyingly large television - one should probably not be viewing a 50" TV from a distance of six feet. Then again, achieving the "optimal" viewing distance would likely involve burrowing through a wall into the neighbor's living room; the present setup is probably the more amenable of those two options.

(This is the portion of the post originally dedicated to the hours-long gnashing-of-teeth ordeal required to get the Rock Band lag calibration into some semblance of adequacy. But apparently, in contrast with every other HDTV I have ever had the misfortune of playing on, I got everything spot-on awesome within fifteen minutes or so. So never mind.)

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From: antwondotcom
2008-05-28 11:24 pm (UTC)
If you do it right, you can get that whole "I am in the front row of the movie theater and getting car-sick from looking at the screen" effect going on and everything. :)
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[User Picture]From: mezlick
2008-05-27 10:09 pm (UTC)
Wow that is one big level up on the TV. I am impressed!
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From: antwondotcom
2008-05-28 07:47 pm (UTC)
This is what happens when one only upgrades one's hardware once in a blue moon. Every purchasing experience turns into an exercise in revolutionary improvement!
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[User Picture]From: lunacow
2008-05-27 11:05 pm (UTC)
But apparently, in contrast with every other HDTV I have ever had the misfortune of playing on, I got everything spot-on awesome within fifteen minutes or so.

How? How? Please tell us! Our TV isn't even HD, just lowdef flat screen, but the lag sucks.
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From: antwondotcom
2008-05-28 11:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow - crappy lag on a low-definition flat screen? Man, that's brutal. (I think every non-fancy system I've ever seen, keeping the lag adjustments zeroed out worked fine.) Anyway, here are some general instructions that should work for either Guitar Hero III or Rock Band - I prefer the latter because the rectangular notes are easier for me to eyeball and its game engine is slightly easier to work with, but either will do in a pinch.

Step #0: If using Rock Band, go into the calibration page and select the default for whatever kind of TV you're using, if applicable. Gotta start somewhere - might as well use whatever default helper numbers they'll throw at you.

Step #1: Fiddle with the Video portion of the calibration. This pretty much entails muting the television and playing the game by eye alone, forcing you to go solely by when the notes are crossing at the bottom of the screen. Somewhat obviously, mid-tempo solo-y bits and songs which you do not know the audio to by heart will be better test cases, as those will force you to do pure visual recognition. Play part of a song and see how closely things sync up; go back to the video settings and twiddle with the number as needed; repeat neurotically until you are satisfied with the video sync or have tired of the whole affair.

Step #2: Now that your video is golden, it's time to get the video/audio lag set correctly. De-mute the TV and start playing songs "by ear" - looking not so much at the notes-crossing line as looking nearer the top of the fretboard so you know what's coming, then playing the appropriate note when it sounds like you should. Mid-tempo songs that you've heard a scrillion times before are ideal - you know where the note should go, and you're playing when the note should be played, so you should be hitting it in the game. If not, the audio-lag is off - the "play / tweak audio number / play again" cycle begins. You may be able to eyeball where the note crosses at the bottom and see whether it's arriving too early or too late, which may give some clue as to which direction and how much the number needs to be tweaked.

That's about it, sadly. (Unless you're like the PS3 at Ealasaid's work, which her co-workers claim has variable lag, at which point you are hopelessly screwed.) Depending on just how big a perfectionist you are, this process can take hours upon hours of meticulous tuning. The above can usually get you to "good enough" in reasonably short order, though. (In our case, the default Rock Band video lag was perfect, and since we have no fancy external audio system, setting the A/V lag to zero did the trick. Never seen it work that well for anyone else before, though - dumb luck ahoy!)

Hope that proves helpful. Let me know if you need any other info on the matter. Worst comes to worst, invite me and Ealasaid over and bribe us with beer, I suppose. :-)
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[User Picture]From: lunacow
2008-05-29 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks much for the explanation. Sounds like torture. After some lengthy debate among the band about whether we do have a lag and what the nature of it is, we tweaked the calibration, played a few songs, and then debated again about lag. And then had to go to bed. So, we'll keep working at it.
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[User Picture]From: junglemonkee
2008-05-27 11:08 pm (UTC)
Here's my idea: In that space in front of your kitchen sink (you know - the space that leads into your hallway) you need to construct some kind of giant stand for this behemoth. then, you need to get rid of all that silly foliage on your patio and put in a couple of la-Z-boiz. Run the sound system out to the back, there (I'm thinking some kind of drive-in-movie setup, WITH car-window-hanging boxes, but with better sound) and you guys are fully good to go.

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