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Gears of War in 1080p on a Sony XBR3
Microsoft is not quite there with its 1080p support

Back in August of this year when Sony was touting the 1080p functionality on its PlayStation 3, Microsoft was downplaying the feature saying that it was all hype. Microsoft Director of Technical Strategy for Xbox Live had this to say about 1080p support on the PS3 at the time:

The PS3 has roughly the same pixel-pushing capabilities as the Xbox 360. Don't need to take my word for it, it'll be obvious soon enough over the next year. Even if this wasn't the case, consider we now live in a multi-platform development world, and that the current sweet spot developers are targeting is 720p due to the extremely similar system specifications. Simply put, a developer who is planning to release their game for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 will aim for a common attainable ground. In fact, I'll stick my neck out and predict that that you won't see any 1080"x" games for the PS3 this year.

Well to the surprise of many in the gaming world, Microsoft did a 180 at the end of September and said that it would indeed support 1080p on the Xbox 360 with a Dashboard update. Adding this feature to the console would at least leave one less bullet-point that Sony could hold over Microsoft's head.

As scheduled, Microsoft released its Fall Dashboard on October 31 which added support for 1080p over VGA and component cables. So the Xbox 360 gets 1080p, all is right with the world, and we can all game in peace... right?

Wrong. Almost immediately, complaints of problems with certain TVs that were supposed to support 1080p over component not functioning as expected with the update started to flood the internet. Others were having problems with the VGA cable when hooked up to their monitors. All was definitely not well with the 1080p update.

So on November 6, Microsoft's Major Nelson acknowledged that engineers were working to solve the problems and that another update would be on the way to correct the issues. Well, it appears that the day is today and Microsoft has issued a patch to fix 1080p support on the Xbox 360. According to Major Nelson, the new Dashboard Update (which is available now on Xbox Live) addresses the following:

  • Improved support for HD video output over VGA, including 1080p resolution
  • Improved plug and play performance for wired headsets when being used with wireless controllers
  • Changes made to recently played games list to improve accuracy

According to posters over at the AVS Forum, it appears that Sony's XBR3 television can now correctly display in 1080p with the new update. But on the other hand, Joystiq's Christopher Gant states that VGA support still leaves much to be desired.

Still, despite the update's promise of "improved support for HD video output over VGA, including 1080p resolution" this blogger still encounters a significant (and certainly abnormal) amount of screen tearing while using the VGA connection, not to mention the pale, washed-out colors that have become emblematic of the 360's VGA implementation. But we're not the only ones with problems. A quick perusal of the AVS Forums thread shows some other anomalies that don't instill much confidence in Microsoft's upgraded upgrade.

So it looks as though it’s a mighty fine effort on Microsoft's part to get things patched up with 1080p support, but the work looks to be far from over. Microsoft opened up a whole new can of worms by adding 1080p support, but hopefully they will see it through.

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RE: jeez
By darith27 on 11/30/2006 5:09:50 PM , Rating: 0
I AGREE with you Scabies! NOT TO SPAM BUT LISTEN TO THE CONSUMERS... HDMI HDMI HDMI HDMI will make us very very happy. Especially by Christmas time it would have been a big time seller within the media industry.

RE: jeez
By AstroCreep on 11/30/2006 6:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just wondering how tough it would have been to include an HDMI connector on the HD-DVD add-on.
You get the HDMI connection, and it helps make M$ richer. :p

RE: jeez
By clayclws on 11/30/2006 6:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI on the HD-DVD? I thought HDMI transfer graphics and sound from the engine, in this case, the Xbox 360. You can't add in just like that without changing the whole Xbox 360...not to mention adding it to a HD-DVD player...

Correct me if I am wrong.

RE: jeez
By boardstrapd on 11/30/2006 7:12:33 PM , Rating: 3
You're right, Clay. HD-DVD drive, or any optical drive for that matter, just reads the data from a disc. The 360 handles the processing and sends the output to your display and receiver, just like what a sound card, and video card in your pc does.

If HDMI were added to the drive, you'd have to somehow pass back the processed signal from the 360 to the drive. USB can't handle the bandwidth of a processed HD signal. And if the processing was added to the drive, that'd basically be a standalone player, which would cost way more than $200.

RE: jeez
By otispunkmeyer on 12/1/2006 4:34:44 AM , Rating: 2
no you cant just add it to the HD-DVD drive since all that does is stream the info via USB to be processed on the 360

but surely the 360's output already provides audio and video on one connection, why cant they just make a cable that ends in a HDMI plug?

or have like a converter block that houses HDCP stuff and has a HDMI connection on its end? ready to jus stick a connector on

can that be done? i know the 360 outputs digital sound since its got the optical out on the back of the VGA connector....but does it output digital video?

RE: jeez
By darith27 on 12/1/2006 11:07:23 AM , Rating: 1
read it and weep.

hdmi is a big deal.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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