Unplayable 4k lag on Chromecast with Google TV, audio issues with soundbar

Issue/Describe the bug
Unplayable lag when selecting 4k resolution, audio video not in sync when playing through soundbar

New Chromecast with Google TV (Android TV), TCL Series 5 4K TV, Philips HTL3310 2.1 CH Soundbar

v 3.6.4 on Android TV

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Using 4k TV, game mode on, connected to 2.1 ch soundbar via HDMI eARC port (All tv post processing effects off for minimum latency)
  2. Using Chromecast with Google TV (abbreviated ccgtv), set to allow game mode, and match dynamic range of media content
  3. Launch Shadow, change resolution to 4k and framerate to 60 (or 59.99 whichever the app allows)
  4. Launch a game (Dark Souls 3 in this case), choose 4k as the resolution (Running full-screen). You will observe an unplayable lag (And extreme stutter too) (about 8-9 seconds of delay), which can be eliminated by setting resolution to 2560x1440 (But such a big latency difference from 2560 to 4k suggests something may be wrong)
  5. Also, if using a soundbar connected via HDMI eARC (or even a bluetooth headphone), you will experience the audio coming approximately 1 second later than the video stream, after the character has moved in the video stream. Can be brought very close to negligible if not using any speaker other than the device inbuilt ones. Note that the other speakers experience no audio sync issues when using other apps, only shadow. (A minor audio lag can also be observed on windows 10 shadow client sometimes)

Additional Notes

  • H265 or low latency results in a black/blank screen, audio can be heard
  • App inbuilt speed-test never works, always displays an error
  • Tested on both 5ghz wifi, and wired gigabit ethernet (ccgtv shows it is getting north of 156 mbps on another speed test app) (Using a type c dock to provide ethernet to ccgtv)
  • Prefer reliability results in extremely choppy footage

10 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +3

The Shadow Boost offering is meant for 1920x1080 gaming (not 4K); I’ve also read that people have a better experience with 1080p when using ccgtv devices for game streaming. I think you’re hitting these limitations.

Thanks for the response! Would you recommend a good streaming device for a 4k 60 shadow experience (something that you’d personally choose) (Barring the Shadow Ghost), should I decide to upgrade my plan down the line?
Would it be the Nvidia Shield Pro, Apple TV 4K, an Intel NUC, or something else?
I intend to achieve a flawless 4k60 streaming experience (With games that can achieve it), and would love any client device recommendations (OS agnostic, willing to switch to a better OS for the experience)

Userlevel 5
Badge +3

@Frank9266 Indeed I am really in the same boat as you, with the “family room experience” being my preferred way of gaming. I do have a nice 4K OLED TV, but still haven’t pursued 4K’s just less important to me than surround-sound, and HDR (here’s hoping HDR is coming to Shadow in the future).

I’m currently using an Nvidia Shield Pro 2019, and would normally recommend it for 1920x1080 w/ surround-sound Shadow gaming...but currently there is a caveat. Recent Shadow Android client updates seem to have made the video performance choppy (unrelated to stream performance), crushing the experience. I expect that this will eventually get fixed with an update, but it sure is annoying right now.

I have a Windows PC connected to the same TV/audio gear, and the Shadow experience from that is great...but less convenient.

In terms of the “ideal” streaming device for 4K Shadow gaming with the higher tiers, I think a decent mini PC is going to be the best bet right now...but I also wouldn’t have an exact model in mind. That just seems the “safest” choice to me...using a decent/standard GPU from a mini PC to drive the video, vs. a streaming box.

Just my two cents!

What does your surround sound system consist of? (Would love the hear about the exact audio setup if that’s okay!) Did you, at any point in time, also experience the 500 msec to 1 sec audio delay when using Shadow with any type of external speaker setup, or has it always been in perfect sync for you?
Would love to hear about audio optimization if there is anything to look out for (channels, other audio technologies, or the way we connect it to the TV .etc)
Apologies for my lack of knowledge over this, total audio noob here :)

Userlevel 5
Badge +3

We’ve been using an older version of this soundbar for three years:

...and I would buy another one in a heartbeat. We have a small familly room, that doesn’t need an exotic setup. I haven’t had any sound sync issues with Shadow...I think the key is having a sound system that takes the HDMI connections like this one does, and then the video gets passed out to the TV.

I do experience controller input lag (more noticeable from the Shield) unless I put the TV in “game mode,” but that’s another topic :grinning: . I don’t play multiplayer games that need precision...more things like the Tomb Raider games and Horizon Zero Dawn.

The soundbar looks intense! Yes, agreed with the game mode fixing the input lag by some. I am really interested in looking at a Shield Pro after reading your comments, seems like a well built device that plays nicely with Shadow. My soundbar is a much humbler budget option, which I got on sale :D :

This one connects via HDMI as well, not sure what cause the audio delay with shadow though. I do notice the audio to be more in sync with the video with Game mode “off”. Maybe the TV or the soundbar isn’t smart enough to sync itself when on game mode, but then again, I’ve used Netflix and other apps on game mode, which do not experience the sync issue.

I’m going to experiment with Moonlight Streaming today, running shadow on my pc and streaming to ccgtv via moonlight (latency MAXX), but I’ve heard great praise about it, when configured right. Let’s see how that goes for me!

Userlevel 4
Badge +5


Linus tech tips had a video on the latency added by having a soundbar in line to the tv adding 16ms or more to the signal. Have you tried adding a soundbar at the end of the HDMI chain (aka after the TV) to eliminate such issues? 

What do we mean by the HDMI chain here, especially (after the TV)? Is this in relation to what number HDMI port are the devices connected to (their order?), or is it something else. I’m afraid I may be missing the point, or lacking knowledge/information in this regard.

For my tv, I have 3 normal and one HDMI eARC port (the 4th port, in which the soundbar is connected). The chromecast is connected to the first port, if that helps.


Userlevel 5
Badge +3

@Frank9266 It means whether your Chromecast device is plugged into the TV or the soundbar, and it sounds like it’s plugged into the TV, which is what @Gelgoog is saying is recommended for lower latency.

People should note, though, that this configuration is fine for eARC, but not necessarily for regular ARC. With regular ARC, many bitstream audio formats cannot be passed to the soundbar from the TV properly. For example, if you’re using a Shield TV and passing through DTS-HD or TrueHD Atmos to your sound system, you cannot use regular ARC for that. My LG TV only supports ARC, so my devices get plugged into the soundbar.

Also FWIW, I did more Shadow testing over the weekend on the Shield, and the video choppiness I experienced a few weeks go was no longer there...good experiences (knock on wood!).

*TLDR, scroll all the way down!

Oh I see! Luckily, I have the eARC port, and judging by your words, I should be okay connecting the soundbar and the shield (which I am thinking of purchasing) in their own ports.

As far as Shadow’s performance on the CCGTV goes, I ran some tests to see what’s going on. I used Moonlight gamestreaming client on both my Windows PC, and my CCGTV as well, both of which can connect to the Shadow-PC via Nvidia’s Gamestream feature. (Using zero-tier one to put them in a virtual LAN)

Inside the Moonlight client, I turned on the stats overlay to see what is happening under the hood, and here are my observations.

On Windows:
The codec used is HEVC, and the decode time per frame was around 0.7 msec, and a total latency of 15-16 msec (Lower than what I get from the Shadow Client, at a higher bitrate even!)

HEVC as well, but the decode time was 30-40 msec per frame! Which comes to prove that the CCGTV would function well for normal 4k60 consumption (Youtube, other apps .etc), but not so much when it comes to real-time 4k 60 usage. Of course this could be optimized by the use of a codec with a lower decode time maybe, a lesser compressed version, but that would be out of my area of expertise.

On Shield TV Pro (I don’t have the device, information from the internet):

The shield TV Pro was decoding HEVC in 3 or so msec approx (and H264 in 1 msec), which is great news, which means it should theoretically work fine.

Now all of this assumes that whatever compression shadow uses in the backend, it is more or less in the same ball-park as what Moonlight and Nvidia gamestream does (Could be inaccurate, but explains the extreme delay when trying to stream 4k 60 realtime to each of these devices)

The Verdict:
Use Moonlight game streaming to test the decode time of your client device, and get something which decodes HEVC or H264 in less than 1-4 msec (Known examples are Shield TV Pro, A mid-tier nvidia gaming laptop (with 1050ti))