The power of audio visual and communication equipment has progressed in leaps and bounds since the technology was made available to the public. But even with all the innovation and sophisticated technology employed by companies, it’s still difficult to overcome the obstacles posed by physics.
Even if people can broadcast images across the globe, or directly communicate with someone in space, the digital world is still subject to the limitations imposed by the physical one. A signal still needs to be sent, it still needs to be received, and it still needs to travel along a path through possible interference.
Sometimes lag is a result of system overuse or heavy interference, at worst it can cause a video-audio difference of less than a second. But it’s the smallest delays that cause the most problems, because the brain doesn’t know how to adjust.
When lag enters the realm of millisecond delays, the brain – from the experience of talking to people physically – knows something’s wrong, but can’t quite cope. This phenomenon sometimes makes communication impossible, and even unbearable. It becomes a better option to lower the resolution of the video feed because the audio signal may struggle to keep up with the load of visual component.
The Real Problem
Most professionals correctly predict that audio visual innovations will be able to bring people out of the millisecond delay for good within the next five years. What they aren’t counting on though, is how people will use the power and capacity of their devices. Instead of using the added power to dispel delays forever, most people will utilize it to add to the resolution of their video feed to make images sharper, which just replicates the problem.
The source of lag isn’t because technology is still contending with the constraints of physics; lag comes from technology still contending with people who don’t know how they’re used.