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

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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.

Dahlsim's picture

A lot of people use projectors as the HDTV's for their Home Theaters and those usually accept VGA inputs yielding both 1080p (even it it's downscaled to 720p in many cases) and upscaling of DVD's. All Games and general video content (non protected video sources) also can be output at 1080p making if far more than "useless".

Patrick's picture

I agree that this article is incorrect and the fact-of-matter approach is obnoxious. I am currently using the 1080p over components on my samsung DLP

blippy's picture

Just another note. HD-DVD playback as well as Xbox 360 dashboard and certain Xbox 360 games (geometry wars and some others) are definitely true 1080P playing out to two screens I've tested on. Using VGA cable from 360 it works fine on Westinghouse LVM-37W1 1080P LCD screen and on Mitsubishi HC5000BL 1080P LCD projector. This article needs correction. Microsoft's Xbox 360 will do 1080P and in fact does a great job with HD-DVD.Even better, if your PC is capable of it, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD addon drive works well with Cyberlink PowerDVD HD-DVD Ultra (7.1 or 10 depending what number you're looking at) on HTPC's. On HTPC you can use it to get 1080P and even 1080P/24 =) not bad for a $200 drive ($160 with coupon off).

George Forakis's picture

Actually, there is a TV on the market that will accept 1080p through component inputs rather than HDMI. The television is a Polaroid 40" PCB FLM4041. This TV will do native 1080p through component inputs.

Douglass Price's picture

Yes, last night I was jacking around with the system setup and just for giggles switched the XBOX 360 resolution settings to 1080p just to see what happened. And to my suprise 1080p displayed on the input info on my HDTV! I own a Polaroid 32" LCD flat panel display, connected to the XBOX 360 through component cable.

Bdd's picture

The Westinghouse 1080p monitors accept 1080p from both of their component slots, and from its VGA slot. (not to mention the 8 billion other inputs offered) I think the component option is limited to 24 or 30hz, but the VGA option is available at 1080p60hz. Also for those that haven't heard, the new xbox 360 elite will offer an HDMI port which solves all above issues.

Presley's picture

So Geoffrey, how does this article change and measure up now that Microsoft has announced the release of the 360 elite? Given, it is too little too late in my opinion to consider releasing an HDMI -capable 360 for those of us who already own their less "pimped out" model, but all the same it is a new point in this useless 1080p debate. The timing was off initially, but could the foresight from Microsoft have been there? And just for a jab, I have to throw in that I don't find 1080p to be worth the extra cash in all reality anyways, but marketing departments are having a field day with it.

kc's picture

I just bought a Sony SXRD rear projection TV and was planning on using component cables to connect my PS3. Will this tv support 1080p through every input?

Chlovinka's picture

Hey Geoffrey, if your testicles weren't so rightly sized for a pea-shooter, you'd correct *your* misunderstanding of how the 360 handles the "1080p" issue. Just to reiterate the **truth**:The Xbox 360 will output 1080p over VGA. Thus, any 1080p encoded HD-DVD that one might play with their HD-DVD add-on drive will be output @ 1080p from the 360 if also using the VGA cable.

Colin's picture

Geoffrey, instead of bitching and moaning, and bad-mouthing Microsoft, why dont you just present the facts as they relate to the A/V world? As you said, all 360 games are 720p native. All 1080p TV's have scalers built in to upscale 720p to 1080p, thus eliminating any incompatibilities. Besides, the 360 seems to have some slowdown when it's set to 1080i/p, so I dont know why anyone would want to set it to anything other than 720p for HD.The kicker comes with the HD-DVD drive. The fact is, very few will be able to use the 1080p output even if the 360 could output that resolution flawlessly. I don't see this as a huge issue, certainly not as big as the PS3's scaling issues, and especially considering that NO HD-DVD players out right now even have a 1080p output! For $200 bucks, you cant expect miracles.Lets face it, Microsoft's implementation of 1080p was clearly a jab at Sony, and while we're at it, 1080p is not as significant of an improvement for most people as the marketers would have us b

higherfi2's picture

Unfortunately 1080p is more a buzzword than any real guarantee of quality. Either the entire system is 1080 HDMI, or its not hi-def. http://www.homehteaterinsider.net


Geoffrey,I didn't read all of the above yet, and I'm sure you probably already know this, but a few of the newer SHARP AQUOS LCD models will, in fact, accept a 1080p/60 signal thru the Component input. For what it's worth (don't know of anything other than the XBox that outputs a 1080p component signal).(I think you may have even mentioned this in your Sharp 92 series review recently, but I can't remember).

Brandon's picture

I have a Sharp Aqous 1080p TV and XBOX 360. My TV accepts 1080p over component. I get 1080p from my XBOX 360 over to the TV. It's effortless and I can tell a difference.

RileyBlue's picture

So now that XBOX 360's are shipping with HDMI, is this all still true?

TheMarskman's picture

Well now the 360 Elite has a HDMI port 1.2 but its not consider the best "True HD" unlike the PS3 wich has 1.3 HDMI port. The 360 Elite does not support 1080p wich u need a 1.3 HDMI port. The 360 Elite games are BS'ing you if it says that it runs at 1080p Which I found it really funny. Just facts that Iam saying look up Peter Moore said that u wont run 1080p games well..What did sony did they got 1080p games what did MS do well...http://youtube.com/watch?v=Fyg0EeAy9PM&feature=relatedThe link says it all just follow up on all his vids. All is Facts ppl.

Adrian's picture

The previous poster is incorrect. Even HDMI version 1.0 supports 1080p60. You don't even need v1.2, let alone v1.3. Having an HDMI connector fixes this problem if you have a TV which can display it. HDMI v1.3 increases the possible colour resolution above the standard 24bit, but this is optional. Even if the PS3 and your TV support v1.3 that doesn't mean it'll be any better, unless both the PS3 and the TV specifically state that they support 30bit (or higher) colour. And even then, it would probably also require specific support from the game.

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