Microsoft has a lot to a lot of things
going on at this year's E3. The company already announced earlier
today that it will offer an external
HD-DVD drive that will plug into one of the Xbox 360's USB ports.
According to the Redmond, Washington based company, it will allow
HD-DVD titles to run at up to 720p. While the HD-DVD drive may be the
biggest news for peripherals on the Xbox 360, it's not the only thing
being announced today.
Wireless technology is making a big
appearance on the Xbox 360 with this next trio of peripherals. First
up is a wireless racing wheel with force feedback technology so that
you can better enjoy your favorite racing games like Forza Motorsport
2 in all its glory. Also up on deck is a new wireless headset to
give gamers the opportunity to chat wirelessly with friends and
teammates over the Xbox Live network. The unit works up to a distance of 30 feet for up to eight hours. And for those of you who want
to be able to use your Xbox 360 peripherals on your Windows based PC,
Microsoft will also make available an Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming
Receiver which plugs into a free USB port. Other accessories worth mentioning include an Xbox
Live Vision video camera and a new 256MB memory unit for the Xbox
Microsoft today also announced "Live
Anywhere." Live Anywhere will be incorporated into Microsoft's
upcoming Windows Vista operating system and will allow players to
share their gaming experience across Xbox 360, PC and mobile phone
platforms. From ABC News:
"The vision here is each platform plays its own role. We really
think we're in a unique position," Gates said. "Microsoft is probably
the only company that can pull this off."
In a demonstration, an Xbox 360 gamer using Live Anywhere was able
to send an invitation to a friend on a PC. After the PC user agreed,
the two connected for a cross-platform online gun battle.
And last, but certainly not least,
Microsoft has announced a whole gaggle of upcoming games for the Xbox
360 platform. Microsoft hopes to have available over 160
high-definition games in time for the holiday season. Of those 160+
titles, two of them are standouts. First up, the company announced
that Grand Theft Auto 4 will launch simultaneously for the Xbox 360
and Playstation 3. And we can't forget Halo 3. Bungie has officially
announced the highly anticipated third installment to the hugely
popular Halo series. Halo was THE launch title for the original Xbox
and Halo 2 racked up over $125 million in sales on its first day on
store shelves. The significance of the Halo 3 launch for the Xbox 360
platform can not be overlooked – nor can its possibility to shoot
the Xbox 360 into the stratosphere as far as popularity goes with
gamers. For those of you who want to take a look at the Halo 3
trailer, you can head on over to Bungie's
site to view it.
quote: at a great enough differential, a higher framerate can provide a 5ms or higher advantage to a player
quote: The DTV standard used in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is named ATSC, after the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the industry-led group that originated it. ATSC allows resolution as high as 1080 by 1920 pixels, but only in an interlaced format. That means the picture is scanned in two passes, or “fields,” each lasting 1/60th of a second. The first pass leaves blank spaces between lines, which are filled in by the second pass. Because each field takes 1/60th of a second, and there are two of them, 1080i actually needs 1/30th of a second to convey a full frame—it is a 30-frames-per-second medium. Fixed-pixel displays don’t need to use scan lines but approximate the same thing in dots.
The upside of interlaced scanning is that it conserves bandwidth while still providing more than two million pixels onscreen (1080 times 1920 equals 2,073,600). The ATSC adopted interlacing for the 1080-line format specifically to fit over-the-air HDTV into the same 6MHz bandwidth as an analog TV channel (though 1080i also travels via cable and satellite). The downside of interlacing is that it induces motion artifacts and other forms of distortion. The best example would be a horse race. With interlacing, the horses’ legs become a blur.
quote: Remember, 1080i delivers only a half-frame every 1/60th of a second, while 1080p can deliver a full frame in that amount of time. That gives the video processor some headroom that it can use to manipulate the signal. This is exactly what a progressive-scan DVD player does, except that it converts a 480i signal to 480p. If you can see the difference between an interlaced-scan DVD player vs. a progressive-scan model, you may see the difference between 1080i and 1080p.
quote: Another reason why 720 looks better than 1080 in HDTV is because the 1080-line formats that can offer better temporal resolution than 720 are not part of the standard. Although the ATSC includes 1080p formats, they are capped at 24 and 30 frames per second; so there are neither 1080p50 nor 1080p60 variants, which are the only 1080-line formats that will (in practice) surpass 720p60.
quote: The reason for that is that 1080p50 and 1080p60 would exceed the 19Mbit/s bandwidth allotted in a 6Mhz channel as required by the ATSC standard. The highest HDTV formats that don’t exceed that limit (and in fact are very close to it) are 720p60, 1080p30 and 1080i60.
quote: Just because the ATSC standard doesn’t include 1080p formats with higher frame rates than 30 frames per second doesn’t mean there are no higher display rate formats in existence, or that TV manufacturers can’t go beyond the ATSC 1080 line formats. TV manufacturers have already produced displays that can display a 1080 progressive signal up to 60 frames per second; those are the HDTV sets advertised as 1080p.