Print 44 comment(s) - last by rushfan2006.. on Dec 4 at 12:07 PM

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 rushfan2006 on 12/1/2006 11:37:57 AM , Rating: 2
And I counter your counter to the other

The difference between 1080i and 1080p will be argued to the Nth degree by the layman just because this is what sales material has told them to justify higher prices, and we all know from the time we have our first true thought on our own -- if it costs more it MUST be better right? ;)

While this truly turns out to be the actual case in 9 out of 10 cases....sometimes its not.

I go to the experts when people debate on forums on what the real skinny is -- with all respect that folks on forums may rightly deserve, remember I don't know you guys from in seeking expert advice from forum posters I take it with a very fine grain of sand.

Having just read an article from Crutchfield on the matter - they actually state what matters more than anything with an HDTV is the quality of the product overall -- the quality of the electronics, the screen, etc. They also mention that to the unskilled eye on a decent set there is almost no way you can tell 1080i from 1080p resolution they both simply look gorgeous.

I think people put too much stock in the buzz words "progressive" and "interlaced" -- they read how one is line by line refresh and how one is full screen....well obviously they have to be HUGELY different.

In fact they aren't...they just aren't.

RE: jeez
By Whedonic on 12/1/2006 1:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
All buzz words and marketing aside, I can clearly tell the difference between progressive and interlaced video/games. And progressive looks much, much better.

RE: jeez
By rushfan2006 on 12/1/2006 4:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
My first reply would be wondering what quality of HDTV you are talking will notice a difference with the higher end sets ....I've seen 1080i sets look better than cheaper 1080p sets believe it or not.

In general though....I kid you not -- on decent sets I can't tell a hint of difference, at least not on movies -- I don't play any games on my HDTV (well I have an Xbox that I play about 3 times a YEAR but its obviously not HD).

And any difference that is seen its certainly no where NEAR *HUGE*...

RE: jeez
By abhaxus on 12/2/2006 9:21:16 AM , Rating: 2
There is a big difference between a 1080i CRT set and a 1080p LCD/DLP/PDP for film based content. Deinterlaced/pulled down to 24p a film source will look better on a 1080p set. Also it should be said that most CRT HDTVs are only capable of resolving something on the order of 1400 lines of horizontal resolution as opposed to the full 1920.

What really helps CRTs over the newer technologies is contrast. While an LCD or PDP may be brighter of possibly higher resolution, a CRT is almost always higher contrast. So on equal sources, resolution and refresh rate aside, a CRT will look better in terms of color and black levels.

There's advantages to both. I don't see how you can say you've seen 1080i sets look better than 1080p in terms of resolution or refresh rate... interlacing looks really bad for motion and destroys the movie theater "feel" of film. But for color and contrast I would choose a CRT every time. Pie in the sky, I'd rather own a Pioneer PRO-FHD1 honestly, but I don't have 8 grand to spend on a TV :)

RE: jeez
By rushfan2006 on 12/4/2006 12:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
There's advantages to both. I don't see how you can say you've seen 1080i sets look better than 1080p in terms of resolution or refresh rate... interlacing looks really bad for motion and destroys the movie theater "feel" of film. But for color and contrast I would choose a CRT every time. Pie in the sky, I'd rather own a Pioneer PRO-FHD1 honestly, but I don't have 8 grand to spend on a TV :)

Do you people have bionic eyes or something? "Interlacing looks really bad for motion" this a paper telling you that, or theory? Because I don't know how much more honesty I can convey through a text based forum than to say "in all honesty I've seen it with my own eyes" looks FINE!!! I don't see ANY problems except when you compare the different KINDS of sets -- like you said , I too would chose CRTs over LCDs pretty much any day of the week.

Secondly, the 1080i vs 1080p quite simple actually ..I was in a speciality video store drooling at the sets I can't hope to afford and then looking at the ones "almost" in my price range and the sales guy simply told me which was "i" and which was "p".....and like I said before....I'll believe someone like that over just folks who post opinions on the board.

Ultimately, all things said and done...I just want a good picture....most of you people seem to be all absorbed in "who has the best toy on the block" mentality......with this 1080i verse 1080p stuff.

My comments from the start were just based on real life experience, and information from actual experts. Not just people who get upset if you knock their 1080p system down since they dropped $4k on it, and someone comes along and bursts their bubble by saying "funny my set looks simply gorgeous in 1080i and I paid half of what you did"....


"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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