Xbox HD

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Handy, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    Hi everybody,
    This may be a really dumb question, but I just have to know. The new Xbox has the HD A/V pack for people with high-definition TV's - do we need a HD receiver for the TV to display the high definition signal, or does the TV automatically interpret the signal coming in and adjust the screen resolution? I have a Toshiba 50H81. Thanks for any help on this.
    Jason H.
     
  2. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Jason,
    This isn't a dumb question. You don't need a HD receiver to view the XBox games (when they come out) in HD. Your TV would know that the input signal is 1080i and display it accordingly. The same would hold true for SD (480p) games as well (which most of the XBox games will be).
    Troy
    ------------------
    :My teacher tells me beauty is on the inside.
    :That's just something ugly people say.
     
  3. Michael St. Clair

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    On a side note, I remain wholly unconvinced that 1080i will ever give a good gaming experience for anything other than games that are mostly static (turn-based strategy, golf, etc).
    480p, 540p, and 720p are the only HD modes that are appropriate for action gaming. And most sets don't do 720p, and XBox may not support 540p. 480p 16:9 may be the only logical 'HD' mode for the vast majority of HD-enabled XBox gamers.
     
  4. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Michael,
    Just a couple of corrections; 480p and 540p aren't HD. These resolutions are SD (standard definition).
    More and more RPTVs, FPTVs and monitors are getting the capability to do 720p. With the remainder of the bunch, if a 720p signal is presented, it will upconvert the image to 1080i, which to most is still excellent.
    Either way, I don't see why you think that Azurik or Madden 2k2 wouldn't look absolutely gorgeous in 1080i! Just imagine the level of detail that would be present, it boggles the mind.
    I don't care if the first 1080i (or 720p) game out is Scrabble Jr, I'm buying that puppy! [​IMG]
    Troy
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    :My teacher tells me beauty is on the inside.
    :That's just something ugly people say.
     
  5. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    I don't understand why 1080i would be bad for gaming. It seems that if I can watch the superbowl on HD-Ned at 1080i, which has some good action sequences, the higher resolution can only make it look better for games as well. I must be missing something as far as resolutions go, please give me a little more info on your opinion.
    Jason
     
  6. Michael St. Clair

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    Troy,
    I find interlace artifacts intolerable. To me, 720p is much better, but for action gaming (racing, first person shooters, Jet Grind Radio, etc) I'd take about any progressive 60fps format over 1080i. I was getting annoyed at the interlace artifacts watching the women's finals of the US Open on HD-CBS. With graphics it will be even worse, as edges are harder and color depth is (generally) less than real life.
    I can't stand the tearing artifacts. I can deal with it for HD television, especially movies.
    For the record, I didn't used to see the tearing artifacts on 1080i. It took me a few months. But it would definitely affect my targeting when playing FPS, for example.
    Oh, and to me, converting 720p to 1080i is downconverting. [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 31, 2001 at 11:32 AM]
     
  7. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Michael,
    I'm with you on the differences between a progressive signal vs and interlaced one, and there are display devices forthcoming that will be able to produce 1080p signals (mostly in FPTVs for now).
    As far as gaming goes, I believe that to be a different kind of animal than HD transmissions (hopefully Gary King will offer some input here as well).
    The signal from the game console is processed and transmitted internally, directly to the TV. There's technically/literally nothing interfering with the transmission (upconverts, downconverts, signal strength, transponders, wind and/or decoder boxes). So all of the artifacting that would be exhibited with viewing HD transmissions would be eliminated, or reduced to the point that they couldn't be visably discernable.
    Have you ever seen a Sencore HDD connected to a 1080i capable TV running HD programming? Simply outstanding with none of the visible artifacts that you speak of. Some HH Gregg's have this type of setup, I would recommend a trip to one, to see you can tell a difference between that and a transmitted signal.
    To date, I don't think anyone's even seen a HD (720p/1080i) game, so all this is really moot. My point is that given the resolution capabilities, HD gaming would be stunning none-the-less and the XBox is capable of producing this.
    BTW, although you consider 720p-->1080i downconverting, it's a matter of overall resolution and it is upconverting. [​IMG]
    Troy
    ------------------
    :My teacher tells me beauty is on the inside.
    :That's just something ugly people say.
     
  8. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    Troy/Michael,
    This 1080p forthcoming resolution. Will this make the current monitors that can only demonstrate 1080i obsolete? I am a bit paranoid about my new HDTV purchase, what with all the DVI/IEEE debates going around. Is this one more thing to worry about with advancing TV technology?
    Jason
     
  9. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Jason,
    Don't fret. You made the right decision and you should feel very confident in the fact that you have a very viable product for at least the next 10 years.
    Technology changes about every calendar quarter, there's no way to be sure at what point to jump on the train, but typically once you're on, it's a pretty smooth ride there after.
    Troy
    ------------------
    :My teacher tells me beauty is on the inside.
    :That's just something ugly people say.
     
  10. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    I guess I just don't want to be like one of those people that bought a BetaMAX right before VHS eclipsed the market share. It would be a real bummer knowing I dropped $2000 on a TV that, had I waited 6 months, would have made it up to that ever-critical "steady state" of formats, inputs/outputs, etc.
    BTW, if I can digress here. What about the PS2 and HD-compatibility? Is it nonexistent, or do games support the higher resolutions?
     
  11. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    I'm actually not too clear on what the capabilities or limitations of the Conexant HD encoder chip inside the Xbox are, myself, so I'm afraid I can't provide too much input about this.
    I've seen some pretty wierd specs for it (such as limiting input to 1024x768 SVGA, and then converting that into an HD signal), but I don't really buy that.
    I don't think 1080P output will ever be a possibility from the Xbox (unless there is some way to include firmware upgrades to the Conexant chip in future games), but 1080i doesn't look too bad, from what I've seen. Granted, I haven't spent much time playing games in 1080i, but what I saw looked really nice. I'll be spending quite a bit of time testing out Halo in both 480p and 1080i when I get it on the 15th.
     
  12. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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  13. Michael St. Clair

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    Troy,
    I'm only talking about tearing, not compression and transmission artifacts. There is an HH Gregg 3 miles from my house (out in Eastgate) and I've seen their Sencore loop. It is cleaner than what I sometimes get from channel 12-1 HD (CBS), but I still see tearing artifacts in video-sourced 1080i. I didn't used to, it took a while; just like for years I didn't see tearing in NTSC and now I find it abhorrant (worse than 1080i tearing).
    Keep in mind that 1080i was a concession to set manufacturers who didn't want to have to build (more expensive) sets with the higher scan rate requirements of 720p. And yes, 720p->1080i for video sources is downconverted in my opinion, as effective temporal resolution is reduced. Also remember that 95% of consumer 'HD' sets can only resolve about 60% of the resolution of 1920x1080i, which skews this comparison even more.
    As far as 1080p goes, pulldown will allow construction of a true 1920x1080p frame for film-sourced material, but for video-sourced material you have to do averaging, which substantially reduces effective resolution.
    If you want to compare 720 x 480p or 960 x 540p to "1920" x 1080p, put Quake on a HTPC with PowerStrip. It's been on my 'to do' list for a while, maybe I'll get to it this weekend.
    As far as PS2, I'm not even sure if you can do double-buffered 640x480p with the limited VRAM. You might be able to do a chess game in something higher than NTSC. [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 31, 2001 at 03:29 PM]
     
  14. Michael St. Clair

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    quote: I've seen some pretty wierd specs for it (such as limiting input to 1024x768 SVGA, and then converting that into an HD signal), but I don't really buy that.[/quote]
    Actually, that is probably right on the money. Everything I see on the CX25871 that the XBox uses says that it takes a maximum of 1024x768 VGA input and filters and converts it to component 480p, 720p, or 1080i. So you can forget about any real 1280x720p or 1920x1080i, everything is going to be upconverted (term used loosely). Throw the filtering on top of that and the effective resolution will be even less.
    [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 31, 2001 at 04:14 PM]
     
  15. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    What is this about 95% of TV's only being able to show 60% of the HD-resolution? Is this some technical artifact? Also, which models represent the 5% that can do the full resolution? Why does HDTV sound increasingly like a waste of my money...
    Jason [​IMG]
     
  16. Michael St. Clair

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    Jason,
    Of sets that show 1080i, most can really only show about 1200 lines of horizontal resolution or less. There is a wide range. So even if you get a 1920x1080i signal, you really can only display about 1200x1080i. Then factor in filtering that is applied to interlace signals to reduce flicker, and the effective resolution might be as low as 1200x900 or so.
    That doesn't mean the sets don't look great!
    If you want the full signal, you need to buy projection set with 9" CRTs or digital projection. $$$$$.
    But I think the current sets are worth it, they just need to be looked at in the right perspective.
     
  17. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    What I don't understand then, is how can the TV accept a 16:9 aspect signal if it is only providing 10:9 picture? I am so confused. Perhaps this Pandora's box is best left unopened, but I really wish to know more about this.
    Jason
     
  18. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Michael,
    I don't know what tearing is and I have no problems with the HD programs that I watch. You'll have to enlighten me on this to see if I'm subject to it. For the record I have a 55" Mitsubishi that's been ISF calibrated and the RCA DTC-100 HD receiver. On a side note, I had some problems with my cable giving feedback on my HD reception (scrolling horizontal bars and audio), which have been since resolved. My reception for CBS (10-1 or 12-1) is usually in the low 80s.
    Gary,
    quote: I'll be spending quite a bit of time testing out Halo in both 480p and 1080i when I get it on the 15th.[/quote]
    So is it possible to 'tell' the XBox which resolution you want to output with each game? I was under the assumption that the game itself would be encoded at a specific resolution (say 1080i) and the XBox justs passses that on?
    Is there any sources you have that you may be able to find out about the HD capabilites of the XBox? Especially given the fact that "but I don't really buy that..."
    Michael,
    quote: So you can forget about any real 1280x720p or 1920x1080i, everything is going to be upconverted...[/quote]
    Sounds like a statement of fact when just previously you said
    quote: Actually, that is probably right on the money[/quote]
    [​IMG]
    Anyway, I guess we don't have an answer for sure on the HD capabilities of the XBox (yet), but either way, I'm sure as hell going to enjoy playing some games in 480p/1080i.
    BTW, 1920x1080= 2,073,600 pixels while 1280x720 = 921,600 pixels (absolute not temporal) which means it's a higher resolution regardless of the fact that is progressive or interlaced. We can beat a dead horse on this one, and like I said before I completely agree with you that any progressive signal is more preferable.
    Jason,
    The image is still presented in 16:9 but you just have a lower resolution within that ratio. Really, don't worry, your set is fine for doing HD (and 480p) now. True 1080i is hard to come by and very expensive like Michael said.
    Troy
    ------------------
    :My teacher tells me beauty is on the inside.
    :That's just something ugly people say.

    [Edited last by Troy LaMont on November 01, 2001 at 11:39 AM]
     
  19. Michael St. Clair

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    Temporal resolution is everything when it comes down to visual quality.
    1080i video is theoretically 73,728,000 pixels per second
    720p is theoretically 55,296,000 pixels per second.
    Technically, converting 720p to 1080i is up in terms of data, but is downgrading in terms of visual quality.
    Throw on top of that that the theoretical effective temporal resolution is 49,766,400 pixels per second when the material is film-sourced, and the fact that typical HD cameras only capture 1400 horizontal lines of resolution, and the fact that consumer sets can't display it anyway, and the fact that 1080i is filtered (softened) to reduce flickering, and the fact that interlacing reduces effective resolution, and everything is WAY more complicated.
    1080i is not our friend. 1080i is a compromise lobbied by the set makers because they didn't want to have to deal with the power that it takes to render the amazing 720p.
    You most likely will learn to see tearing at 1080i, and you probably will realize that it deprives you of seeing wonderful high-speed picture detail. Then again, maybe you won't. Some people can't see tearing at 480i, which surprises me! But then again, at one time I could not see it, so I understand.
    As far as the XBox goes, it does use the Conexant CX25871, and everything from Conexant says it is limited on the input side to 1024x768. Read for yourself at http://ebiz4.conexant.com/default.sph/SaServletEngine.class/download/100431_pb.pdf?FileId=28
     

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