GameBuddy promises PC game streaming with no discernable lag
By Dave LeClair
January 20, 2014
We've seen quite a few products with the ability to stream games from one screen to another on a local network – the NVIDIA Shield is one of the devices at the forefront, as is the PlayStation 4 along with a Vita. However, the weakness of all of these is latency, an issue that the creators of the GameBuddy streamer promise to address.
The GameBuddy device relies on proprietary video transmission technology called NoLAG. iPIXEL Technology, the company behind GameBuddy, promises delay times between 30 and 60 ms, which is low enough that it will not be noticeable by the player, and it will allow games where twitch reaction is a necessity to be playable. Other platforms are typically pushing a delay of 100 ms or more.
According to iPIXEL Technology, the system differs from traditional video codecs designed for offline compression that allocate a large frame buffer to adapt to changing network bandwidth, which results in greater latency. NoLAG on the other hand, dynamically adjusts the video bitrate to keep latency low. When the bandwidth returns to normal, the video bitrate is again increased to visual lossless quality.
In addition to streaming from GameBuddy to GameBuddy, the system also includes software that allows streaming using only one of the devices. According to iPIXEL, this will induce more delay, but it promises no more than 100 ms of lag.
The team says this feature can be used for streaming from a PC to a TV, a game console to a PC, or a smartphone or tablet to a TV. With HDMI video-in and video-out ports, the GameBuddy can also be used for watching videos from one device on the display of another at a range of up to 30 m (100 ft).
GameBuddy also comes with other cool features such as the ability to be powered by many popular smartphone batteries with adapters. It also has a USB port that can be used as a battery backup to a smartphone and since it is only 5 in (12.7cm) long, it should be easy enough to carry around.
The company offers plenty of demonstration videos on its Kickstarter page, but it's hard to say just how accurate their claims of no latency are until we actually get to try a device for ourselves. If the claims are true, this could easily rival, and perhaps surpass, any of the other streaming devices on the market.
iPIXEL Technology is seeking funding on Kickstarter. It's still a ways off from its US$100,000 goal, but it has over three weeks left in its funding period. Backers interested in receiving only one GameBuddy (which limits its uses) can do so for a pledge of $69. Backers who would like to preorder a pair of devices can do so for a minimum pledge of $99 while that reward tier lasts. Once gone, the price jumps to $129.
The Kickstarter pitch below provides more information on the GameBuddy device and streaming functions it offers.