Air Play Mirroring (via Apple TV or Digital Adapter)

Hi Kevin! I opened this thread to discuss what you and other users think about playing iOS games in the big screen, while the fourth generation Apple TV does not come for us. ☺️

First, i tried to play some games using Air Play in my Apple TV, but even after the last iOS improvement, the lag and frequent disconnections made this option useless for gaming. In my opinion, of course.

So, i bought a Lightning Digital Adapter. Because i know that FPS, racing and fighting games are impossible to play with any delay, i tried to play Lego Beyond Gotham in this set up. But even in this game, the controls response are so annoying that i am studying to sell my adapter...

My question is: are you playing iOS games in your TV without any complaints?

Hey Jinjas,
I too went down that road, i absolutely love the idea of big screen gaming from an iOS device!
I have tried many combinations Airplay/Lightning and Apps that stream content from your iOS device to PC's,Monitors.
I can claim yes they all work!
The question is really to what acceptable degree that can they work, for instance platforming games require precise timing, these show up your lag very obviously.
I have found no solution on iOS 2 Bigscreen that's give me a good experience for these kinda games..
Even the lightning cable i tested, i found there is an 80ms lag.
This is unacceptable for platformers or fps, basically any game that requires fast responses.
Bluetooth Controllers including MFi all have a latency of 15-10ms or below, it's this latency threshold that is required for serious gaming.
.
Saying all this turn based games/rpg's etc play perfectly fine on the Bigscreen where no fast actions are required.
.
I have come to the conclusion the hardware is not up to scratch for true "lag free" gaming just yet, especially for Platformers/FPS.

I too am holding out for ATV4th gen before i revisit the possibility of iOS bigscreen gaming again.

Last edited by MFiGamer (Jun 30 6:18 PM)

I heard the lag was pretty bad with the Lightning to HDMI adapter, but I didn't realize it was into the 80ms range. I would get better latency playing the now defunct OnLive. I have almost purchased one of these adapters on several occasions specifically for gaming on the big screen. I am glad I never did. I'll keep saving up for an iPad Air 3, iPhone 6s, and an Apple TV 4 instead.

I'm working on another article about Airplay latency at the moment, actually, but I'll stream-of-consciousness some of my thoughts down out here.

It's a bit more complicated than you'd expect. A8 powered devices *greatly* outperform A7 devices over AirPlay - almost half the latency - and show modest gains over Lightning.

Similarly, the "silent revision" Apple TV 3 v2 is significantly better than the standared Apple TV 3, due to the fact that it makes a direct P2P connection between the iPhone and the Apple TV, rather than bouncing to the router first.

Lastly, bluetooth controller latency GREATLY compounds AirPlay latency. The Gamevice guys claims that in their testing, bluetooth lag acts as a multiplier to streaming latency, rather than strictly being additional - meaning 10ms bt latency and 80ms AirPlay latency actually lags far more than 90ms.

My own testing suggests that wired controllers do perform noticably better than wireless ones over streaming, though not to the point of being a straight multiplier. The bad news is, the only wired controllers currently available are for the iPhone 5S form class, which lags twice as much as newer A8-powered devices. The good news is, I'm testing a few new wired controllers for A8 (and presumably A9) devices, so this won't be a problem for long.

As for whether it's playable, a lot of that comes down to you. I've been playing through Sonic 1 on an iPhone 6 using a lightning-connected controller and an Apple TV 3 v2, and I'm doing fine. I found this same setup unplayable with an iPhone 5S + Moga Ace Power and a Apple TV 3 v1.

The one thing I'm on the fence about is whether the Apple TV 3 v2 is superior to the Lightning to HDMI cable. My gut says the Lightning output is a bit better. The problem is, it occupies a Lightning port, thus requiring you to use a Bluetooth controller, which compounds the lag even more and erases any gains.

If someone were to ask me today what the best way to play iPad games on the TV is, I'd probably recommend an Apple TV 3 v2, iPad Air 2, and the Gamevice.

For iPhone 6 gamers, there's no great controller cases out now (we're a few months away from one), so I'd say probably Lightning-to-HDMI and a Mad Catz or Hori controller (the SteelSeries ones lag more).

Kevin wrote:

I'm working on another article about Airplay latency at the moment, actually, but I'll stream-of-consciousness some of my thoughts down out here.

It's a bit more complicated than you'd expect. A8 powered devices *greatly* outperform A7 devices over AirPlay - almost half the latency - and show modest gains over Lightning.


Similarly, the "silent revision" Apple TV 3 v2 is significantly better than the standared Apple TV 3, due to the fact that it makes a direct P2P connection between the iPhone and the Apple TV, rather than bouncing to the router first.

Lastly, bluetooth controller latency GREATLY compounds AirPlay latency. The Gamevice guys claims that in their testing, bluetooth lag acts as a multiplier to streaming latency, rather than strictly being additional - meaning 10ms bt latency and 80ms AirPlay latency actually lags far more than 90ms.

My own testing suggests that wired controllers do perform noticably better than wireless ones over streaming, though not to the point of being a straight multiplier. The bad news is, the only wired controllers currently available are for the iPhone 5S form class, which lags twice as much as newer A8-powered devices. The good news is, I'm testing a few new wired controllers for A8 (and presumably A9) devices, so this won't be a problem for long.

As for whether it's playable, a lot of that comes down to you. I've been playing through Sonic 1 on an iPhone 6 using a lightning-connected controller and an Apple TV 3 v2, and I'm doing fine. I found this same setup unplayable with an iPhone 5S + Moga Ace Power and a Apple TV 3 v1.

The one thing I'm on the fence about is whether the Apple TV 3 v2 is superior to the Lightning to HDMI cable. My gut says the Lightning output is a bit better. The problem is, it occupies a Lightning port, thus requiring you to use a Bluetooth controller, which compounds the lag even more and erases any gains.

If someone were to ask me today what the best way to play iPad games on the TV is, I'd probably recommend an Apple TV 3 v2, iPad Air 2, and the Gamevice.

For iPhone 6 gamers, there's no great controller cases out now (we're a few months away from one), so I'd say probably Lightning-to-HDMI and a Mad Catz or Hori controller (the SteelSeries ones lag more).

Hi Kevin!

This is new for me. What exactly is this apple tv 3 v2? Is it an OS upgrade or a different hardware?
My current set up is a mad catz controller, iphone 6 plus, digital adapter (or apple tv 3). I am not sure if it a v1 or v2...

Just for curiosity: a ps3/ps4 controller suffers from the same lag? 10ms looks like a considerable delay for a game console...

MFiGamer wrote:

Hey Jinjas,
I too went down that road, i absolutely love the idea of big screen gaming from an iOS device!
I have tried many combinations Airplay/Lightning and Apps that stream content from your iOS device to PC's,Monitors.
I can claim yes they all work!
The question is really to what acceptable degree that can they work, for instance platforming games require precise timing, these show up your lag very obviously.
I have found no solution on iOS 2 Bigscreen that's give me a good experience for these kinda games..
Even the lightning cable i tested, i found there is an 80ms lag.
This is unacceptable for platformers or fps, basically any game that requires fast responses.
Bluetooth Controllers including MFi all have a latency of 15-10ms or below, it's this latency threshold that is required for serious gaming.
.
Saying all this turn based games/rpg's etc play perfectly fine on the Bigscreen where no fast actions are required.
.
I have come to the conclusion the hardware is not up to scratch for true "lag free" gaming just yet, especially for Platformers/FPS.

I too am holding out for ATV4th gen before i revisit the possibility of iOS bigscreen gaming again.

Hi MFiGamer,

You are right! Only turn based games, some puzzles and a few RPGs are playable in the big screen.

Even this way, you need a lot of patience to do that. Sometimes i try to give another chance to accept this issue, but in the end i choose to play direct in my iphone + madcatz + support clip.

Jinjas wrote:

Hi Kevin!

This is new for me. What exactly is this apple tv 3 v2? Is it an OS upgrade or a different hardware?
My current set up is a mad catz controller, iphone 6 plus, digital adapter (or apple tv 3). I am not sure if it a v1 or v2...

Just for curiosity: a ps3/ps4 controller suffers from the same lag? 10ms looks like a considerable delay for a game console...

The Apple TV 3 revision 2 is actually a new piece of hardware. About a year ago, Apple pushed out a second model of the Apple TV 3. It only has one difference from the original Apple TV 3 - it does Peer-to-Peer AirPlay instead of requiring a router.

In practice, P2P AirPlay is noticeably better than regular AirPlay, since the video doesn't need to be beamed all the way to your wireless router, then beamed again to the Apple TV - it just creates a private beam direct from the iPhone to the Apple TV.

In addition to better quality, this means you can carry the Apple TV to a hotel and beam video to it, without first needing to connect to a router. Handy.

At the moment, Lightning probably still looks a bit better on an A8-powered device, and DEFINITELY looks better on anything less. But considering the price of the Lightning-to-HDMI cable is almost as high as the price of a new Apple TV, I'd recommend the latter if you have an A8 device.

In my own experience Apple TV gameplay has been great.  I'm using an iPhone 6+, Apple TV v2, and a mad catz mfi controller.  Now I don't do too many fps but I've been playing final fantasy vii, as divine hearts, asphalt 8, xenoworks, implosion, and bastion.  All of these games work excellent.  I love gaming on my tv.

Hi Everyone,

First off, thank you Kevin for the awesome site!

I have an iphone 5s, iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, and the Steelseries Nimbus, and I am interested in gaming on a tv/monitor. My searching tells me that neither of the two current options (litghning to HDMI/VGA or AppleTV AirPlay) are satisfactory, but I am not sure.

It is hard to quantify the latency of different setups that people talk about and I wish that someone could setup and then video-tape a few configurations with something like a stopwatch running on the iPhone to give a true sense of the latency of each.

I just wanted to chime in to say that I hope that some sort of proper video-out functionality is developed because I am too old  and cheap to buy any current gen console + games and I see the iPhone/iPad has great potential in this respect.

I feel that the Nintendo Switch perfectly illustrates the potential for smartphones/tablets as home consoles. I hope that 'real-gamers' will someday get it, though I am pretty sure they will have no choice in a few more years.

-TheGlutton