Monday, November 17, 2014

Playstation TV with Apple Airport, ymmv

I got my hands on a brand new Playstation TV last Friday as the micro console finally launched here on the old world. I've been eyeing it since ever it was announced in Japan (at TGS I believe last year and actually had to fight the temptation to pick one up in Akiba last spring. 
Over the weekend I tried various ways of getting it to work optimally with my Apple Airport based network. I wanted the lowest latency possible so I could stream Call of Duty from the PS4 in the living room to my desk TV without any perceptible lag.

I think I got very close.

To start with, here is my setup before PS TV.

Modem -1m wired> 3TB Timecapsule -15m wired> Airport Extreme
                                        \-wireless> 2TB Timecapsule
                                        \-wireless> Airport Express

We'll disregard the wireless devices since they don't matter. Wirelessly connecting your Playstation TV to the network or even connecting the PSTV directly to the PS4 via the direct WiFi connection is not a recipe for success. Especially not in a heavily congested area like I live in with over 50 2.4 Ghz access points within range. 

1st try.

3TB Timecapsule -15m wired> Airport Extreme -2m wired> PSTV
     \- 1m wired> PS4

While this setup is fully wired I immediately ran into two problems. 
One was that there was a very perceptible input lag which made shooters unplayable. But even worse was a stutter that would completely freeze the game up for a fraction of a second every 2-3 seconds. 
Not optimal at all.

2nd try.

Airport Extreme -15m wired> PSTV
   \- 1m wired> PS4

This got rid of the micro freezes but still experienced input lag. Games like Diablo 3 and such were totally playable like this but shooter were not.

3rd try.

Airport Extreme -15m wired> PS4
   \- 1m wired> PSTV

Well that's odd, swapping the two around made the situation much better. This could be due to a multitude of things including the faster image processing on the TV on my desk. In this setup I'm able to play any game with no perceptible lag. Although not ideal as I had to gut my network structure to do so. 

4th try. 

Airport Extreme -1m wired> Netgear Gbit switch -15m wired> PSTV
                                                  \-1m wired> PS4

Trying this as soon as my switch comes in. If this works I'll leave both on the dedicated switch and wire everything else back up as before. Will update once I know more.