High definition gaming on PS3 and Xbox 360
Both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 support High Definition output. This requires displays such as modern HDTV sets that can cope with the high resolutions that the new video game consoles are able to produce.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates wants to usher in the High Definition Television (HDTV) era with the release of the Xbox 360. In a partnership between Microsoft and Samsung, Microsoft hopes to create a demand for HDTV from gamers that wish to use the full potential of the Xbox 360 video games console. In fact, their programming guidelines for Xbox 360 developers specifies that every Xbox 360 game must run in HD in at least 720p, 16:9 wide screen format.
The PS3 will be capable of outputting 1080p, a high definition progressive resolution of 1920×1080, using the 16:9 wide screen format. In addition, the PS3 can drive two HD displays at the same time! You could use this for truly panoramic displays or for a separate data display for particular games, even in a way where the main action happens on the big screen and some other information is displayed on a smaller secondary screen, in a different resolution.
The Playstation 3′s 1080p output is in progressive scan. The Xbox 360 console is also able to produce a resolution of 1080 lines, but here we have 1080i, which means that the output is in interlaced mode. The difference is that with progressive scan, each frame is generated completely new, 60 times per second (50 times per second in PAL countries), whereas in interlaced mode, only every second line is refreshed. In short, interlaced mode appears more flickering than progressive scan. Interestingly, Sony is not insisting on HD output for PS3 games.
Please note that both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 don’t NEED an HDTV to play the games – normal standard definition TVs are still supported!
For PAL countries (eg. Europe, Australia and others), HDTV standards are less than organized. Anxious gamers in these places rightfully fear that the release date for the new consoles may be delayed because, in addition to PAL/NTSC problems, many PAL countries can’t agree on a common HDTV standard either. Thus, the availability of TVs that can actually display all these wonderful resolutions may be limited.
On the plus side, the release of these video game consoles may finally create public demand for HDTV large enough to bring the prices of HDTV sets down, and with an installed user base that can view HD material, more countries and channels will jump on the HD bandwagon. We can’t wait!