1080p Xbox Lies

The people at Microsoft are complete idiots. No, that’s not exactly true. They’re charlatans. They are purposely misleading the public. They recently announced a software upgrade will be available soon that will allow the Xbox 360 to output 1080p.

That’s all well and good, but if you remember, the 360 only has component outputs.

Essentially no current TV will accept 1080p/60 over component inputs. So this little upgrade is essentially useless.

It’s pretty obvious Microsoft is trying to steal some of Sony’s thunder by saying their box can do 1080p too. The problem is that there are going to be a lot of confused and disappointed consumers when they find out their TV can’t accept this “higher” resolution.

Also, games have to be written to be 1080p. All current and most likely nearly all future games are going to be 720p. This rendered 720p is upconverted internally to output 1080i or 1080p. This isn’t true 1080p any more than an upconverted DVD is HD. I have a sneaking suspicion that the PS3 might do the same thing. So I call bull on this from Microsoft. The handful of people that can actually accept 1080p over component aren’t going to see any difference compared to their TV upconverting the signal anyway, unless there are more 1080p games. My guess is that it will be like the 1080i output from the PS2. There were, what, two games that took advantage of that?

Maybe if Microsoft finally gave everyone the HDMI output people have been after for a year this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. But no. Their obstinateness and obtuseness is astounding.

brb's picture

The 360 can also output over VGA. Is it possible to output 1080p over that? I've read on random blogs that the 360 will upconvert DVDs over VGA but not over component.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

Yes, you can do 1920x1080p over VGA, but that only increases the total number of TVs that this will work on by a small amount. The amount of TVs with VGA inputs is relatively small, and those that can accept 1920x1080p/60 over it is even smaller. This whole thing is sadly ironic seeing as the reason Microsoft has said they won

ps2_games's picture

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Matt's picture

Hey Geoff,You ought to create a blog entry for each article so users can discuss. For instance, I'm curious why the new Sony set didn't support full res through DVI?I mean what if you used a HDMI to DVI converter, wouldn't the display support the full 1080p res that way? Or am I missing something?

Matt's picture

I listened to an interview with an MS engineer on Major Nelson's podcast regarding the 1080p upgrade, and he repeatedly emphasized "1080p over VGA" and never said a thing about component. They won't do HDMI because the 360's hardware simply can't support it (he didn't say this, but it was implied.) He also mentioned that there are virtually no 1080p sets without a VGA connector. This is sort of a cop out, but it is more or less true. Considering how poor a DVD player the 360 is anyway, I can't imagine someone with the money for a 1080p set not having a standalone DVD player.

Aron's picture

So does this mean that the HD-DVD attachment for the 360 is effectively crippled? Or does the attachment come with its own HDMI output?

Ryan M's picture

The only TV that I can think you that will do 1080p over VGA (I am not positive about component) are the Westinghouse 1080p LCDs.

Jbig's picture

Yes, most TVs don't do 1080p over component... but ironically a set I own, the Samsung DLP does do 1080p over it.I am not saying this 1080p is total marketing... but it isn't toally useless either.An HDMI cable might not be too far off anyway. Besides... in this totally competitive big market USA I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who aren't "charlatans" when it comes to marketing and fooling the public.Remember Sony hasn't been the most forthcoming either with their specs and "potential" either. It's a business... you'd think being a TV reviewer you'd understand that?Contrast Ratios the manufacturers give us is a good eample.

Brad's picture

sounds like 99% marketing.I think he does understand the business Jbig; yes contrast ratios are a similiar example of a useless stat, but that has been clearly said more than once in Geoffrey's articles.

Jbig's picture

Of course, I am sure Geoffrey does state about the distortions and misuse of the contrast ratios... I am just using that for a general example.I am just amused that Microsoft is singled out in this article as idiots. Why not mention Sony's grossly over exaggerated marketing schemes about the PS1 and PS2... and hopefully not the PS3?All of these companies are trying to one up eachother, and 1080p through Component video or VGA isn't ever a bad thing (even if it is just for press purposes). Sure, we might not be able to have any use for them... but as a marketing ploy how is that any more wrong than all the other crud other companies shove down the consumer's throats?At least some people will get benefit... or theoretical benefit anyway from the 1080p output.(Peace of mind...)Besides, I thought 1080p was totally overatted anyway?

Richard's picture

During the fight over North American over the air digital TV standards Microsoft fought hard and long for progressive scan over interlaced and did not want 1080i adopted. Now it tells us that there is no advantage for 1080p over 1080i on its game box. Credibility is lacking from this source.

Mike from Philadelphia's picture

I really wish Microsoft(R) would focus on business software. Does Microsoft(R) really belong in the video game business?? I'm an old-timer (41 years old) so I can ask such questions. This discussion is amusing to me, I remember old 8-bit games written in "tight" assembly code that did lots of tricks with hardware and were fun to play at only 480i...the really important thing is the game itself, never ever forget that!! NEVER!! A dud of a game is still a dud regardless of resolution...

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

It has been reported that it will also be component, who knows if that may change. Microsoft has said that the Xbox can output a digital video signal. My guess is they don

TiMoThEeZz's picture

Guys, I've been all over the forums, and it seems that the 1080p update has been a bit iffy.Apparently, 1080p hasn't been working on any Sony 1080p set over VGA and over component. Which is terrible since I have a Sony 46XBR3 1080p LCD. Terrible! I was going to use the VGA for the 360 1080p update, but I guess I'll hold off on my 360 purchase until it's all fixed.PS3 1080p HDMI, here I come! And yes, I do have a PS3 order. More than 1 actually. Haha

Jbig's picture

Agreed Geoffrey, but then again this is once again assuming an HDMI cable will never be released, and that the few people with component and VGA 1080p compatible TV units are the only ones to benefit in the long run.I guess Micrsoft should post something like... "Limited 1080p upgrade" to be fair? Ugh, this war is getting ridiculous. And Mike, I totally agree with "good games are good games" no matter what resolution, but in your logic I think Sony falls into this same category? Why only Microsoft?Which system is forcing a new HD format upon consumers? One of these companies are making it an option to go Hi-Def/Hi-Res, the other almost makes it seem mandatory.

eric's picture

- its funny to see how people on either side of the spectrum of electronics (gaming and home theater) get facts mixed up about the other.- while i totally understand that "no current TV will accept 1080p/60 over component inputs", i also know that microsoft will release a HD-DVD extention that will have an HDMI output. so, for all i know Microsoft could be planning to output the 1080p signal through the HD-DVD add on port.....unlikely, but possible, possible enough that i wouldnt feel comfortable making a blog calling them liars.....just yet. especially with the pictures of a 360 motherboard with HDMI port that leaked on the net, who knows what they have up their sleeves.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

I believe you are mistaken. The HD DVD addon is hooked up to the 360 via USB (and therefore output via component or VGA). There is no HDMI. When (or if) there is an HDMI output of the 360, then this whole thing is happily irrelevant. At the moment, this upgrade is essentially worthless. It

Larry's picture

Do I think you are pro-Sony? Of course not Geoffrey, I am sure you are an upstanding unbiased person when it comes to the gaming world. But I think people like J are just trying to understand how Micrsoft is any worse than *insert company here*with this upgrade. Sure it's misleading to an extent... but there's ALOT of stuff that's misleading in this business.1) 1080p output on VGA and component doesn't hurt anyone... nothing is being taken away.2) Microsoft has stated a digital out via HDMI is very possible.3) Some TVs do do 1080p over component and VGA.And do remember that 1080p is useless regardless of wheteher your TV accepts it right now since there are no 1080p games right?I will semi-benefit from this. Especially since I do benefit from this 1080p upgrade via the Samsung HLS series... barring 1080p games come out. It doesn't hurt me for now... it's no big deal.Whether or not Micrsoft is "lying" I guess is a judgement call. People just have to learn to read.

Ralph Knox's picture

Geoffrey, you have new questions/comments at your "More 1080p questions" blog. They relate to the latest articles in HT Mag. Not sure where else to post them.

Matt's picture

The issue of games being displayed in 1080p is pretty much moot in this generation anyway. If they want to run some decent effects in games, they must be rendered in 720 or face terrible frame rates with the current hardware.Either all or nearly all 360 games are being rendered in 720p instead of 1080i, and it's going to be the same case with the PS3 (but they might have a few more 1080 natives).As was posted, microsoft has confirmed the ability for digital out on the xbox, and there is a quote from peter moore floating around out there that is something to the effect of "we'll release an HDMI cable when the market calls for it."Personally, for my money the xbox does a fine job of upscaling my dvds to 768p for my TV, and I'm going to trust it's ability to do the same for HD-dvds when that comes out. I think I'd treasure it even more if I had a tv with garbage scaling.Now I'm going to go freeze myself to wait for the Wii which isn't even going to break the 480 barrier...

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

I think you're underselling it MrJolly. Microsoft is hyping that their product can do something, something that essentially no one can take advantage of. That will create confusion and disappointment. In what marketing school are those two things you want to impart on your purchasing base?

Jacko's picture

Could I just use a A/V receiver with 1080p up conversion to convert the 360 signal to 1080p via HDMI?

jd walker's picture

Samsung has a hdtv that will send 1080p on component @ 1080P @ 60 hz

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

Yes. Like any analog video source, you can upconvert it to anything you like. This is essentially what it is doing internally anyway.

Mr Bob's picture

Well, I have a 42" Westinghouse LCD 1080p Monitor (basically it's just a giant widescreen computer monitor). I have the upgrade and honestly, 1080p from the xbox 360 thru my component inputs (yes, my component inputs) made my pic look soft!! More like an upconverted look (yes, even on the dashboard). I am highly disappointed! Even 1080i looks soft! I hate upconverted anything so unless a game developer encodes there game at 1080i or 1080p, it will look too soft. Native res from the source is the way to go! I just leave my 360 at 720p and it looks much sharper. I also rather have 1080i over 720p on all my channels and games (compare NBC HD football to ESPN HD football on a 1080p set). There's a noticeable difference...

Kiona Niko's picture

My ex-boyfriends TV could do 1080p. He got the xbox when it first came out... I saw it in 1080p.. and it looked as perfect as could be. Why do you have to be such a Sony fanboy. >_>;

bc's picture

Xbox does not do true computer style VGA it is limited to sync-on-green via outputs...internally it does do VGA but when output it is crippled. Sony only does true VGA and for whatever reason does not accept sync-on-green. You can blame the media companies for newer (not all but most) HDTVs component being limited to 1080i...they are using strong arm tactics to limit technology! VGA was an oversight thus can accept 1080p media. CALL your congressman/Representative and complain that technology is being crippled...there are better ways to prevent illegal copyright. Ultimately we are stuck with HDCP via HDMI and that currently is the only answer. Xbox must go HDMI! We need a Free 1080P movement!

Edward W. Swan's picture

In fact, Geoffrey, a great number of folks at the AVS forum are employing (and enjoying) the 360's 1080p output on their displays, so to them, the update is hardly "worthless". Heck, to me, HDMI is actually an irrelevant "bullet point" since neither my three-year-old JVC I'Art display nor my H/K AVR 420 support HDMI in any form. Your slings of "idiots" and "charlatans" smack more of hyperbole than anything else.

PIERCE X's picture

Geoffrey i have the samsung HL-S6187W tv and it accepts 1080p in every input component,vga, and hdmi.There is a difference in pq, the hd-dvd add on and video games looks sharper in 1080p.If you dont believe me go see for yourself and another thing stop bad mouthing microsoft every since they came out with the 1st xbox they pretty much giving customers the features and options they asked for so give them some time there will be a hdmi cable or any other feature come out the consumer needs

AWT's picture

Well the writer of this obviously did no research at all. I'm using the VGA cable to output 1080P to two of my displays. Plus all the Samsung 1080P HLS DLP sets also accept 1080P over component, HDMI, and VGA. But the writer didn't do any research. How else can you explain the erroneous article. Not even close to the truth.


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