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Console Makers Scaling Back Their Push For HD

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the this-is-not-hard dept.

Displays 221

The big news about game consoles of late are the recent price drops and hardware changes. However, an editorial at GamesIndustry looks into one of the side effects of those updates: decisions by both Microsoft and Sony not to include HDMI cables with their HD-capable consoles, despite the companies' long-standing interest in high-definition gaming. "From the perspectives of these companies, they want to include the cable which will be of most utility to the largest group of consumers possible, and it's clear that whatever research they have done suggests that the majority of consumers don't need — or rather, can't use — an HDMI cable. Neither firm wants to put an assortment of cables in the box 'just in case' — each additional cable erodes millions from the firm's profitability, after all. ... Supporting evidence that all is not well with the HD transition comes from Epic Games' Mark Rein, who told Eurogamer earlier this summer that 'over half the users who played Gears of War 2 so far do not have HDTVs.' Gears of War is a core gamer franchise, beloved of early adopters and the [so-called] hardcore. If less than half of those users are playing on HDTVs, what must the percentages be like for games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer — let alone Singstar and Buzz, or popular movie tie-in titles?"

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221 comments

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Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329653)

first!

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329691)

second!

Hmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329655)

I got my first HDTV 4 years ago, how much longer are we supposed to wait for the laggards to catch up?

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329669)

We PC gamers have been asking that ever since we hit 1600x1200 and higher around 1999-2000, and you guys STILL have 200 less lines than us on your "full HD" resolution.

Re:Hmm (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329711)

Yeah but 1080p is a widescreen resolution so it's got more detail horizontally 1920x1080 vs your 1600x1200.

Re:Hmm (1)

yourexhalekiss (833943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329743)

Sure... but the 1600x1200 of 1999-2000 is 1920x1200 or higher these days.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329853)

Yup, I been playing games at 1920x1200 for about 3 years now, with AA and with AF at 60+ fps.

Its not that much to have a PC that can do it, and it looks a whole lot better than anything a console spits out :)

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330775)

Oh boy, a whole extra 120 lines!

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330869)

Point out to me how many console games are rendered at 1080p with 8x AA and 16x AF?

1600 x 1200 gaming in 1999? (3, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329961)

Was anyone really gaming at 1600x1200 back then? The top-end card of the time was the nVidia RIVA TNT2. The high-end units had 32MB of RAM, but most had 16. To get a 32bit double buffered framebuffer and a 16bit Z-buffer you'd need 18MB of memory; for a 16bit framebuffer you'd need 11MB. Although the hardware would have had just enough memory bandwidth to do 30fps at that resolution I doubt you'd have hit it with most games. Also, around that time most people were still stuck on 15" monitors with 17" considered the high end with the occasional crazy bastard with a 19" monitor. 1600x1200 wasn't really a sensible resolution unless you had a 19" monitor or larger.

No, back then I remember most people were still gaming at 640x800 or 800x600, with the higher end at 1024x768. (Of course, back then the majority of console gamers were still at 320x240 or something similar...)

In fact back then we were still making sure that our games still ran on the original Voodoo 1 cards (2MB framebuffer, 2MB Texture memory) - partly because there were still a significant number of people with that class of card and partly because we still all loved the Voodoo 1 dearly for having been the first really good 3D card...

Re:1600 x 1200 gaming in 1999? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330005)

counter strike. i win.

Re:1600 x 1200 gaming in 1999? (1)

neoprint (949158) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330257)

I used to play TOCA 2 and Half-Life in 1600x1200 in 1999. First on my TNT2 then GeForce256

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330393)

We PC gamers have been asking that ever since we hit 1600x1200 and higher around 1999-2000

By 'we', you mean yourself, comic book guy, and half a dozen other nerds. The typical PC has maybe 1024x768 and onboard graphics.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330631)

Mod this up. My parents, grandparents, and un-tech friends all run 1280x1024 right now (nevermind in 2000). I run 1920x1200 at home and 2560x1600 at work (27" LCD at home, 30" LCD at work). Most people complain of things being too small; they want the icons big enough where they can see them from 10 feet away. If all you're doing is email and a bit of web surfing, a high resolution isn't as much of a drive for you. Gamers might spend the majority of the $$$ that flows into the home PC business (or at least upgrade the most often) but the casual users account for the most number of sales.

Re:Hmm (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330731)

Yeah, nothing like playing games like World of Warcraft with its N64-like graphics on 1600x1200. That makes a huge difference! The PCs superior resolution might mean something if everyone didn't abandon the system and move to consoles.

Re:Hmm (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29331201)

I play my N64 with its N64 like graphics on my 1080p TV all the time though. The NES looks cool on there too, blocky as hell on the large TV but cool nonethless.

Maybe they don't have money... (1)

Paleolibertarian (930578) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329665)

After they spend all their money on game consoles and games they just can't afford the HDTV. I'm sure none of the gamers have wives to supplement their incomes.

Re:Maybe they don't have money... (2, Insightful)

saskboy (600063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329787)

I now have 3 consoles, all purchased or repaired in the last year.
An NES with Duck Hunt and Super Mario (and 8 other games) ($25).
A PS One with 5 games ($10)
And a PS2 with 2 games $40.

I play on a 13" colour TV, and a 20" Sony TV that I got for free this year when someone moved out and left it as trash.

And I don't have a wife to supplement my income. HD is for my 25" LCD computer monitor, not TVs. TV is for my friends to pay for, at their places.

Re:Maybe they don't have money... (2, Interesting)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329871)

My 25" widescreen computer monitor is my TV. My tuner card is an freebie my ex-roomie gave me so no HD. No big loss as far as I can tell. It's very rare that I'm watching something that I feel I would enjoy more if it had more pixels.

Re:Maybe they don't have money... (3, Informative)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330015)

Gaming devices benefit more than anything else from higher quality inputs/connnections and displays. Trust me on this.

Lets go back to the Atari 2600 days. The machine was shipped with a tv/game switch with 300 ohm spade type connectors. You'd unscrew some terminals on the back of your TV and screwed it back on. This provided a display easily affected by loose connections and interference (herringbone patterns and the like).

Now you could go to Radio Shack and buy a TV/game switch with standard 75 ohm coaxial connectors. Use that instead 300 ohm one and that herringbone went away and everything looked better, and it was easier to hook up.

Nintendo's NES came with an automatic game switch with 75 ohm coaxial connection. If you still needed 300, you had to buy a separate thing that IIRC was called a balun. The NES also had composite connectors, which give much better output, if you were lucky enough to have a set or monitor (like one of those philips made commodore monitors) that could accept it back in the mid to late 80's.

By 1991 composite inputs on TV's were common enough that nintendo included a composite cable by default with the SNES, any RF connection was separate, but they still sold plenty of those since as I've mentioned in this discussion that many game machines are connected to a cheaper, less technically capable set than a family's main set. The SNES also supports S-Video ouput, though back in 1991 it was rarer to find it. I remember going to a TV dealer (back when there were such things) and askes which sets supported S-Video for the upcoming SNES. They said, none and said why would you need that, nothing uses it.

SNES games look really nice over S-video, good color that doesn't bleed, sharp text. It difference really does stick out.

The PS1 came with composite connections out of the box and the original version of the machine used actual composite, and S-video connectors on the machine itself, though again, sony sold a lot of RF connection gizmos. Later models switched to what became the standard Playstation multi-out jack. The PS1 is also the first game system I owned that had a few games that worked best with S-video connectors due to font/text issues. (Darkstone, I'm looking at you) S-video made everything look good.

The PS2 supports component connections, though since TV's with component weren't all that common, the cables themselves weren't ubiquitous. But they were required if you wanted to use certain games progressive scan modes. They also helped color clarity and whatnot on regular games.

Re:Maybe they don't have money... (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330593)

The PS1 came with composite connections out of the box and the original version of the machine used actual composite, and S-video connectors on the machine itself

I've got to call you on this. The PS1 never had an S-video connector. What the original PS1 did have, however, was some crazy layout of composite outputs along with a 1/8" jack for the RF modulator power, designed so that one mutant plug could hook into all those at the same time. They also used this on some camcorders, I think. For S-video, you always had to use the multi-AV output.

Re:Maybe they don't have money... (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29331191)

Where are Sega's consoles and the Nintendo 64 in that post of yours?

Notable is that (at least in Europe) the Sega Dreamcast came with RGB cables for the best picture quality possible through SCART connectors. It also introduced 60 Hz mode in Europe, which was a godsend.

Re:Maybe they don't have money... (3, Funny)

JordanL (886154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329885)

I'm sure none of the gamers have wives to supplement their incomes.

Surely you meant use their income. ;)

I don't think that means what you think it means. (4, Informative)

Shivani1141 (996696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329667)

As a an air-conditioning technician, I work in peoples homes, typically six or more a day. From my own admittedly anecdotal experience, the percentage of my customers who have an HDTV set in the livingroom is quite close to 100. That being said, the "hardcore" "core gamer" markets are often teenaged males who happen to have the family's old set in their bedroom with the console connected to it. I'd argue that the percentage of casual gamers that play using an HDTV is higher than that of the "Hardcore" Gamers.

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (4, Insightful)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329683)

Well, people that have an air-conditioned home aren't exactly of average income...

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (2, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329741)

He didn't say whether he works in Arizona or Alaska.

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329773)

Here in miami they are.

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329855)

Heck, even in Minneapolis air conditioning's pretty much standard with any house or apartment built in the last couple decades.

How so? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330229)

In my state, my income is below the median, but I have air conditioning in my house. It is very nice because of the hot climate, and not really that expensive. Now growing up my parents were well above the median income, and we didn't have AC, because we lived in a cool climate and just opening the windows was all you needed in the summer. We could have afforded it, we just didn't care to.

I think AC ownership more corresponds with where you live and personal preference than income. While it isn't free, it isn't as though they cost all that much.

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330681)

You must live in the arctic. Where I'm at EVERYONE has an AC. It's hard to get by in summer without it (I don't mind like it's inconvenient, I mean like you have people keeling over from heat stroke). Whether you're poor or not generally just decides whether you have a window unit (or two) vs central, not whether or not you have one at all.

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29331235)

Go to Florida. Everyone has AC units form window boxes through to multi-zone systems. Income level or no income has nothing to do with having AC or not. You'd have to find an old abandoned hut in the 'glades to have any chance of finding a property without AC.

Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (3, Interesting)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329783)

Yep, that's how it's worked for years. the family set is the nice one in the living room but the gaming machine, whether it be an Atari 2600 30 years ago or a PS3/Xbox360 today is hooked up to a second set that isn't as good. Some old cheapo 13" black and white in the old days or some cheapo 13 inch CRT set with RF inputs or composite (with mono sound) now.

Until relatively recently, you couldn't buy quality TV's for bedroom/playroom gaming, small sets were designed on the cheap so you had to do without niceties as stereo sound or s-video, let alone component inputs in the PS2 days (pretty much restricted to 25" sets and larger) Course nowadays you can buy relatively inexpensive 15-19" 1080i/720p sets with HDMI and component inputs that are basically monitors with a tuner.

monoprice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329681)

Why don't they just include a notecard in the box suggesting monoprice for all their users HDMI and Component cabling needs?

Re:monoprice? (1)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329763)

Why don't they just include a notecard in the box suggesting monoprice for all their users HDMI and Component cabling needs?

For the exact same reason Apple doesn't include a link to Crucial for people that buy MacBooks that want to buy RAM upgrades?

Re:monoprice? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330799)

Because Sony and Microsoft sell HDMI cables??

Component Cables, S-Video. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329689)

Include Component Cables, or S-Video cables. For that matter. Include S-video and Component Video Jacks. I don't like HDMI.

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329767)

The Xbox360 comes with component. Works great for, at least, 720p (as that's the kind of TV I use it with).

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329795)

Works great for 1080i too. I imagine 1080p would be fine as well, if my TV supported 1080p via component (only via HDMI on mine, sadly).

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (2, Insightful)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329965)

The Xbox360 comes with component. Works great for, at least, 720p (as that's the kind of TV I use it with).

I have a a-few-years-old TV in my home, everything connected with Composite+SCART. Pretty good picture at PAL 60hz. This summer I finally got a chance to try out what Xbox 360 looks like on (someone else's) HDTV - and damn, the HD picture via HDMI connector looks just marginally bit better than Composite. You can actually tell the difference if you're sitting right next to the screen. (Barely so from the couch.)

(The TV also had the curious habit of having worse analog picture on 60hz than 50hz. Flat TV are weird. And in this experiment, I also found it infinitely weird that Xbox 360, a product from that famous proprietery software corporation, had a standards-compliant HDMI port that accepts not-fancy no-brand HDMI cables... and Wii still needs an adapter of some sort. Ghh.)

In short, right now, I don't think HD is all that relevant or remarkable. Maybe in 5 years.

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330607)

The Wii doesn't have digital output, so there is literally no way to have an HDMI cable. These days we call a cable with a fat lump on it like a snake swallowed your mom a "cable" but it's really an adapter with integrated cable, even if it looks more like it's the other way around. With that said, a third party Wii component cable is about three bucks, and will let you see just how grainy and shitty the Wii's video output is. I have an original Xbox on component and it has vastly better quality video than the Wii does. Actually, the Xbox can do 1080i, but there's not enough fill rate or texture memory to do 3D in HD... But the scaler is in hardware and works for free, so you can watch videos at 1080i in XBMC.

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29330907)

Been to the opticians lately?

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330991)

the HD picture via HDMI connector looks just marginally bit better than Composite.

Did you configure the Xbox to run at higher resolution? You have to do that manually. If you configure everything correctly (and if the TV itself supports high resolutions, as opposed to the old 720p HDTVs), the picture will look worlds better, especially in terms of things like on-screen text. If the HDTV supports x.v. Color, you can also turn that on, which is something that can never be done with composite.

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29330695)

Actually, I believe with the most recent of price drops, they've now dropped the component cables. I think this is the bigger story since PS3 hasn't really had HD cables shipped with it and 360's Pro and Elite models always did. Elite even had the HDMI, in addition to component cables. Now all systems ship with composite.

Re:Component Cables, S-Video. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329957)

I don't like HDMI.

Any particular reason? I haven't had any problems with it, and I'm pushing the limits on it too.

not really an issue (1)

Val314 (219766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329697)

As long as a cheap standard HDMI cable [amazon.com] works and i dont have to buy a special-sony/MS/... cable its ok.

Monoprice.com (1)

ABasketOfPups (1004562) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329779)

...is the way to go, in general. Monoprice [monoprice.com] has dirt cheap, excellent cables in any color you could want. They're the anti-Monster cable. That Amazon link to a four-cent cable is a company making money on the shipping cost, though still cheap compared to an HDMI cable you'd buy at a store.

Re:Monoprice.com (1)

Val314 (219766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329927)

could be. i bought my HDMI cables from amazon.de without shipping costs for 2-3EUR/cable (i just linked to the first cable Iâ(TM)ve found)

They need more ports not cables (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329727)

I bought a Playstation 3 a while back and wound up returning it because there was no way to get the sound out with a standard TV or computer. I would have been happy with RCAs or even a mini plug. Saving $.50 shorting customers on ports is foolish. Not everyone has the latest TV sets and computers use different connectors. I bought it in part as a Blu-ray player so it was useless without anyway to get sound out of it.

Re:They need more ports not cables (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329835)

What do you mean there's no way to get sound out of it, it comes with a composite cable, yellow plug for video, red + white plugs for audio. Unless you've got an RF only set, it shouldn't be an issue. If you do have an RF only set the best solution is to get a separate RF modulator. Most stores sell the philips version I think. Plug the yellow cable into that and then that into the TV. Then you plug the audio plugs into a separate player for audio, say a boombox of some kind with RCA inputs. Did that with my PS1 with an RF only set, and then with a small monitor with composite video input but mono sound.

Sony does sell an RF adapter for the Playstation devices but it combines the audio so you get mono sound.

Re:They need more ports not cables (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330291)

Are you a little bit special?

Not only (as the other poster mentioned) are there phono sound outputs on the cable it comes with, but there's an optical out on the back.

Return of lost revenues (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329733)

It's easier for the console manufacturers to eat a $100 price drop when they can force a large percentage of consumers to shell out another $50+ for a set of cables.

Re:Return of lost revenues (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329971)

It's easier for the console manufacturers to eat a $100 price drop when they can force a large percentage of consumers to shell out another $50+ for a set of cables.

But Sony and Microsoft aren't the only ones that make HDMI cables. Companies like Best Buy are probably going to try pushing the Monster or their house brand cables instead of first party cables if the first party cables have a marked up wholesale price to cover some of the price drop.

Cable sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329745)

If you can trick an unsavvy consumer into paying $40+ for a branded HDMI cable that lists "compatibility for PS3" why include it with the system?

RE: Hardcore gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329757)

Hardcore gamers simply may not be the demographic that buys HDTVs. They might actually be the ones who realize that there's really no big difference in the viewing experience of HDTV, versus Joe BestBuyCustomer who is liable to be talked into buying an HDTV.

dont need it (1)

Dayofswords (1548243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329771)

I don't need HD to enjoy games. I still find Donkey Kong 64 fun to play.

Re:dont need it (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329869)

That funny you mention that game, because it included an extra RAM module to upgrade the graphics quality. How many console games force you to install RAM before you play?

Re:dont need it (1)

Dayofswords (1548243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329969)

it was just an example, i still play mario 64, star fox, super smash bros, etc.

Re:dont need it (1)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330001)

You mean the upgrade that came free with the game?

Re:dont need it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330783)

Doesn't really matter when the ram is included for free and isn't any harder to install than a memory card.

Uhm, NO! (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329813)

Including cables is always a problematic waste. I happen to agree with the summary in that not everyone will use HDMI. But then again, not everyone will use component either. I think it is quite reasonable to not include any cables at all though they should provide the header devices that will allow people to connect ordinary, store-available cables. (So the component video cable should basically provide the female RCA connectors)

Almost no printer maker provides the cables unless they are USB. And even in those cases, the USB cables are typically wasted because they are usually too short. Many many moons ago, I once spent some time at CompUSA fielding that precise question "Why don't printer makers provide cables?" My simple answer was "Waste! It would be a waste to provide a cable that is too long or too short and the manufacturer has no way of knowing how a customer will set their device up."

I have seen the more expected installations of xboxes and ps3s where the unit is only inches away from the display unit, but there are also people who want to have the game unit great distances from the display. My brother, for instance, has an overhead projector unit and a drop-down screen with his AV gear in a 19" server rack. Should they waste a cable on him?

Over-all, I think it is better that they slap a big label on the box "Cables not included" and provide a short list of suggestions on how to make things work or something. This is really not much difference from "Batteries not included." I know, quite a few things still come with batteries... especially remote controls. But toys and other gear rarely do.

There is no question that providing the cables is a convenient thing. I bought the "Arcade" version of the 360 that came with HDMI output but without a cable... it didn't puzzle me a bit -- I just went to a local discount store and picked one up for cheap... like $8 or something like that. Works fine. I was quite excited that it even came with HDMI out since my first 360 didn't. I just don't think that "cables not included" is a bad thing if they do it right. Retailers just need to know that they should stock an assortment of cables close to their boxes and their sales staff trained to sell the right cables.

Re:Uhm, NO! (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329875)

> Retailers just need to know that they should stock an assortment of cables close to
> their boxes and their sales staff trained to sell the right cables.

And that is probably the reason for this change. Lower the price on the console in theory but let the retailers more than make it up on the cable which has insane margins anyway. Notice that zero retailers of game console or any mass consumer electronics sell inexpensive HDMI cables, even Walmart rapes yer bum pretty hard, they get $19.99 for one around here.

Re:Uhm, NO! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329903)

Yeah, that is an unfortunate truth too... I have seen HDMI cables that sold for nearly $100. I was dumbfounded at the cost when I had been buying cables for less than $10 elsewhere and never had any problems with them. So I can't disagree with that unfortunate reality either. But on the other hand, isn't it always the educated consumer who wins most often? I'd just as soon accept that little bit of evil in the universe and let those people who prefer not to be educated (and there are people who actually seem "proud" of not knowing things for some reason) spend their money in ways that are best described by the old adage about fools and their money parting ways too quickly. I see no reason why makers of various equipment should cater to "the stupid" all the time.

But what about the TV makers? Why shouldn't they provide cables to plug into every input on their TVs? They don't. We know why they don't and we accept it.

Re:Uhm, NO! (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330295)

Not including HDMI I can agree with, but shipping consoles in the UK with RCA connectors instead of SCART is idiotic.

HDTV input lag (5, Informative)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329863)

The hardcore gaming crowd is well aware of the fact that many HDTVs exhibit a significant amount of input lag (delay caused processing and buffering of the video signal in HDTVs). It's the type of thing a casual gamer might not really be aware of until they play on a different TV because you tend to adjust to whatever you're playing on. Most TVs and monitors don't even publish it among the main specs even though it usually dwarfs response time. It really can have a serious effect on gameplay, particularly in fast-paced FPS games (though Gears is rather slow-paced). I didn't really notice the difference until I started playing on a smaller monitor instead of my larger HDTV.

CRTs are the still best choice for minimizing input lag, but most LCD monitors are decent as well. I'm not sure if this is mainly due to their smaller size or that they're designed for quick response to mouse movement (whereas TVs are designed for viewing, so a few tens of milliseconds extra lag is of no consequence).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input_lag [wikipedia.org]

Re:HDTV input lag (5, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329949)

It's why most LCD TVs have special modes for game consoles. On my Sharp Aquos it's called "Vyper Drive" but all it does is turn off any processing and scaling, the result being no lag.

I have this setting active for several analog inputs and the input from my PC and I've had no issues at all with games of any kind on my HDTV.

Re:HDTV input lag (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330079)

Yea, I've heard some manufacturers started offering this feature on newer models. But is it really offered on 'most' HDTVs as of now?

I should have clarified in my earlier post - a typical choice among serious console gamers is a medium sized LCD (19"-22") using VGA for video. This is actually the standard for Major League Gaming [mlgpro.com] .

Re:HDTV input lag (-1, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330591)

a typical choice among serious console gamers is a medium sized LCD (19"-22") using VGA for video. This is actually the standard for Major League Gaming.

How do you fit four people around a 19" LCD panel for a game like Super Smash Bros. Brawl (see "Smash Boards" at the top of the page you linked)? Or does MLG play only games that need a separate console and a separate monitor for each player?

Re:HDTV input lag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29330813)

How do you fit four people around a 19" LCD panel for a game like Super Smash Bros. Brawl (see "Smash Boards" at the top of the page you linked)? Or does MLG play only games that need a separate console and a separate monitor for each player?

People have been playing split-screen multiplayer for years on small TVs. Get over yourself. Your repeated whining about this on every single video game-related slashdot story is not helping anybody, it's just making you look stupid.

calibrate for the lag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29330635)

Every game could include an input lag calibration mode, much like the one in Guitar Hero. Heck, it wouldn't even have to be obvious - just include it with the tutorial mode of the first level, and the user won't even know.

Its not about HD - its about helping the retailer (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329895)

This has nothing to do with "scaling back" high-def or not, its all about giving the retailers a freebie and saving a buck at the same time.

Retailers like Best Buy make huge bank on HDMI cables. They are always pushing $100+ Monster-brand cables on unsuspecting customers who buy DVD and BD players. But even if they can't sell a monster cable for a 5000% markup, they can still usually sell a "premium store brand" cable for 1000% mark-up. By leaving the cable out of the box, the console vendors are just bending their customers over so they are lubed, ready and eager to pay for an over-priced cable. Kind of a "you scratch my back, I'll open the guy's wallet for you" between the console maker and the retailer.

Do yourself and your friends a favor - buy 10 $3 HDMI cables from monoprice.com the next time you need just one cable. Then, whenever you hear about a friend or coworker buying anything HDTV related, offer them one of your monoprice cables for $6 - you'll double your money and your friend will save $20.

Re:Its not about HD - its about helping the retail (3, Insightful)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330263)

I'm generally a pretty language-agnostic or even crass kind of guy. I curse like a sailor. But for the love of god can we please stop with the "bending over" and "lubing up" talk when discussing what are really very trivial matters such as retailer dishonesty? It's pretty lame to bilk your customers and nobody really deserves to be treated like that, but it's in no way close to being sodomized. It really isn't. This sort of hyperbole is bordering on a level of absurdity that nearly rivals Godwin's law.

Retailers try to make as much money as they can and a sucker is born every minute. Unscrupulous retail will continue indefinitely with or without the presence of KY jelly or callipygian pruriency. Save the buttfucking talk for big things like federal malfeasance, or I dunno sports fanaticism.

Re:Its not about HD - its about helping the retail (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330807)

But for the love of god can we please stop with the "bending over" and "lubing up" talk when discussing what are really very trivial matters such as retailer dishonesty?

Nope we can not.
It's called an analogy not an identification.

retail electronic sales::5000% mark-ups
as
prison life::sodomy

Re:Its not about HD - its about helping the retail (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29330961)

But for the love of god can we please stop with the "bending over" and "lubing up" talk when discussing what are really very trivial matters such as retailer dishonesty? It's pretty lame to bilk your customers and nobody really deserves to be treated like that, but it's in no way close to being sodomized. It really isn't. .

Sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

Re:Its not about HD - its about helping the retail (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29331129)

I'm generally a pretty language-agnostic or even crass kind of guy. I curse like a sailor. But for the love of god can we please stop with the "bending over" and "lubing up" talk when discussing what are really very trivial matters such as retailer dishonesty? It's pretty lame to bilk your customers and nobody really deserves to be treated like that, but it's in no way close to being sodomized. It really isn't. This sort of hyperbole is bordering on a level of absurdity that nearly rivals Godwin's law. Retailers try to make as much money as they can and a sucker is born every minute. Unscrupulous retail will continue indefinitely with or without the presence of KY jelly or callipygian pruriency. Save the buttfucking talk for big things like federal malfeasance, or I dunno sports fanaticism.

Pull the penis out of your ass, put it back in your mouth, and STFU.

I don't think so (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330269)

I think it is more about saving money, after all the cables aren't free and they are trying to get prices as low as they can on expensive hardware, and because people don't need or want a "one size fits all" cable. It is a waste of money and of resources to include a cable if people don't need it. What about the people who don't need HDMI, because their gear doesn't support it? There are a lot of TV and receivers without HDMI. What about people who need longer, or shorter, cables?

To me it seems that electronics should come only with the cables needed to operate and for any proprietary connections. Coming with standard cables is silly, because they probalby aren't that useful.

In the computer world, this seems to be the way of doing things. My NIC didn't come with a network cable, my soundcard came with a cable to hook up its external box, but didn't come with audio cables, my videocard didn't come with a DVI or VGA cable, and so on. It was left to me to purchase the cables in the length and of the type I required.

I see the same thing with most high end AV equipment too. It usually comes with power (if applicable) and nothing else. My speakers, amp, and receiver all included either no cables (in the case of speakers) or just power. They figured, correctly, that setups vary and the user could buy what they need. Heck in the case of the receiver I'd hate to get one with all cables included. I don't really want 10 s-video cables just because it happens to have 10 s-video inputs.

This is particularly true in this day and age of budget places like Monoprice. I could understand including cables back when they were harder to get, and maybe you didn't have any option other than a place that overcharged. Especially for things like the RF adapters that old consoles used. However now it is easy for anyone to get cheap cables of any kind they need. As such it makes sense to me that the equipment doesn't include a cable.

So I'm guessing cost/waste is more their motivation than making retailers happy.

Re:I don't think so (2, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330751)

In the computer world, this seems to be the way of doing things. My NIC didn't come with a network cable, my soundcard came with a cable to hook up its external box, but didn't come with audio cables, my videocard didn't come with a DVI or VGA cable, and so on. It was left to me to purchase the cables in the length and of the type I required.

On the other hand, I've bought LaCie and Western Digital external hard drives that come with an abundance of cables - a USB cable, a Firewire 400 cable, a Firewire 800 cable, a Firewire 800-to-400 cable and an eSATA cable. These cables would cost so much if bought separately at retail, that it's almost a good idea just to buy one of these drives if you happen to be short of cables, and get a bonus hard drive in the deal.

Re:I don't think so (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330953)

In the computer world, this seems to be the way of doing things. My NIC didn't come with a network cable, my soundcard came with a cable to hook up its external box, but didn't come with audio cables, my videocard didn't come with a DVI or VGA cable, and so on. It was left to me to purchase the cables in the length and of the type I required.

I see the same thing with most high end AV equipment too. It usually comes with power (if applicable) and nothing else. My speakers, amp, and receiver all included either no cables (in the case of speakers) or just power.

It should go without saying that individual computer components and high end AV equipment is marketed to an extremely different demographic/market segment than the Joe Sixpack demographic/segment that gaming consoles are sold to.

Fonts are already barely readable! (1)

zoidran (1632151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329925)

What worries me most is that since a lot of xbox 360 games assume they are played on HDTVs, they have fonts far to small to be read easily on standard definition hardware. This move seems to be somewhat encouraging people to play on SDTV (most won't bother to check which cables are bundled with their console), despite it being really uncomfortable in any game with a significant amount of on-screen text...

Re:Fonts are already barely readable! (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330107)

That sort of issue started showing up years ago. I first noticed it with a PS1 game, Darkstone, back in 2000 Don't even think about playing it without S-Video. There's a few PS2 games where it's a problem, both Hot Shots Golf (tiny UI text), and Dark Cloud (inventory text)

The reverse of this problem is super huge text that reduces the amount of displayed info.

The TVs are cheap enough now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329987)

Aside from the teenager in his bedroom using the hand-me-down TV because he has no other option, if you can afford $200-300 for a gaming console, you can afford to spend $450-500 and at least get a 32" 1080p Vizio. Definitely include the HDMI cable by default, and ONLY an HDMI cable.

Not surprised (0)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330085)

Considering how much a typical HDMI cable costs, I am not surprised that the console manufacturers leave them out of the box - look:

Monster MC 1000HD-2M Ultra-High Speed HDTV HDMI Cable (2 meters) $90.95 (Amazon)

Denon AK-HM500 5M Ultra High Quality HDMI Cable $200 (Denon)

BTW, I did also find this one, but I suspect the price is a typo - I guess it should be $186.90 so don't think you're getting a bargain!!

Cables Unlimited premium 2M HDMI cable $18.69 (Techsourcepro)

Re:Not surprised (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330135)

No, the last one isn't a typo:

monoprice has a 10' cable like it for $12 [monoprice.com]

Re:Not surprised (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330577)

Whoosh [asmithillustration.com]

Re:Not surprised (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330671)

3/10, go study up on some Trollaxor posts

Re:Not surprised (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330651)

The "typical" cable is priced for suckers like you who don't realize that a digital signal doesn't need "high quality". You don't get ringing or interference artifacts in your picture with a digital signal, it either works or it doesn't. You don't buy Monster or Denon brand Cat-5E network cables too, do you?

And So... (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330143)

Nintendo and its much maligned focus on SD for this generation was proven right.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure HD will be standard among all next-generation consoles in 2012.

Its not about HD - its about cutting costs (1)

radicale (1632175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330145)

This is certainly not related to cutting back on HD, but simply cutting back on cost. An HD cable in every console is equal to $$$ if you consider the volume of sales both MS and Sony have. They probably figured that an HD cable is not really a selling point for the console. If someone wants HD, they can just buy the cable separately.

Re:Its not about HD - its about cutting costs (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330471)

This is certainly not related to cutting back on HD, but simply cutting back on cost. An HD cable in every console is equal to $$$ if you consider the volume of sales both MS and Sony have. They probably figured that an HD cable is not really a selling point for the console. If someone wants HD, they can just buy the cable separately.

If both consoles have standard HDMI sockets, then you may well be right. MS and Sony save a few extra dollars, and the stores get to make a few extra dollars as they manage to sell you the cable. I suppose everyone, except the customer wins. Then again if the customer already had a HDMI cable, well this means one less cable in the cupboard.

Re:Its not about HD - its about cutting costs (1)

KindredBrujah (1632011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330499)

Further to this, in fact:

The HDMI cable costs around 30 Pounds in the UK (or did last time I looked). Compared to, say, SCART, which isn't going to cost more than 10 Pounds even to buy from a shop (so we can safely assume that wholesale Microsoft are paying a fraction of that), it hardly takes a genius to work out which cable is going to provide the biggest profits sold separately.

In fact, if memory serves, the default cable bundled with the console covered the HDMI slot so you had to purchase a second cable to gain access to it? Or maybe it was the Ethernet port it covered. I don't remember, suffice to say; money grubbing scum.

Since when? (1)

Archibald Buttle (536586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330215)

Neither Sony nor Microsoft have been bundling HDMI cables with their consoles for quite some time, if ever, least not in their mainstream mass-market SKUs. The fact that the latest iterations of their consoles don't include HDMI cables is thus wholly irrelevant.

Re:Since when? (1)

KindredBrujah (1632011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330519)

I'm not convinced it's wholly irrelevant.

The principle behind any (successful) technology is that its adoption will continue to increase, ergo more people ought to have HD TVs now than did when the first XBox 360 was launched.
It is not unreasonable, from a consumer perspective, to expect to receive in the box everything you require to get your new device working.
The question is, do the companies fail to include these cables because they do not believe a high enough percentage of the population has adopted HD yet, or because they think they can milk the peripheral sales for a while longer. It's a no brainer for me.

the real problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29330563)

comes from Epic Games' Mark Rein, who told Eurogamer earlier this summer that 'over half the users who played Gears of War 2 so far do not have HDTVs

The real problem is in how he got this information.

SD is irrelevant (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330673)

I don't see how console makers are scaling back their push to HD by simply not offering HDMI cables. Sony has never offered them and Microsoft just decided to not include it recently. And given that more and more people have HDTVs I fail to see how standard definition is becoming more relevant.

However, I'm curious to know how much either company is saving by not offering these cables. The cheapest I've seen HDMI cables go for in stores is about $30, which makes no sense to me. I'm convinced HDMI pricing is one of the biggest scams in electronics; apparently once you get into talk of HD it's easy to sucker people into overpaying. Other than the style of the plug I fail to see how they fundamentally differ from a lot of other cables. I've been able to find some good ones online in the range of $10, for version 1.3 cable. Either way, this means that both Sony and Microsoft should be paying far less for them. Although, I suppose even a dollar or two in the volumes these consoles are manufactured at adds up.

It sounds like the author of that story is trying to find meaning where there is none. How do developers accommodate SD, assuming they even care? They make fonts larger and ensure that menus and HUDs fit within SD resolution. And I'm willing to bet an upgraded Wii with HD resolution will arrive sooner than later.

Re:SD is irrelevant (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330753)

3 months ago I bought an HD proyector so I had to buy an HDM cable. I went to my local mall, where they had two models, one was from a fake brand, something along the lines of SONYO, PANAPHORNICS, you know.., I can't remember it exactly, and it was labeled at 50â.. on the next shelf, they had one from PHILLIPS (real one) for 8â, I was like WTF?

Nintendo is right again (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29330879)

Everyone had a good laugh at Nintendo when they said HD was unnecessary but they were proven right. No surprise there, the company hasbeen around for ages and has the best track record for making a profit and satisfying customers.

Re:Nintendo is right again (1)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 4 years ago | (#29331001)

Nintendo Wii buyers aren't core gamers.

HDMI is not always needed (1)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29331005)

HDMI cables are a huge scam. You do not, however, have them laying around in your toolbox or parts draw, unlike the ubiquitous RCA cable. I recently had to buy one to go with a BluRay player. As the gods of content protections decree that analog shall never see 1080p, I had to get a cable despite analog connections on all gadgets. The first one the nice person at BestBuy showed me was a $120.00 monster cable. I politely declined, and left with a $29.00 cable from WalMart. Yes, I still paid twice too much but didn't want to wait for mail order. My Sat Box feeds one set 1080i with analog cables. No difference between the HDMI and the analog. After analog sunset, we will see this price drop, but for now, the early adopter (who is fading fast here) after 1.5K for the set and $300-$500 for the Blu Ray player, $120 for the cable seems a mere add-on.

HDMI != Only HD Option (2, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#29331205)

Please remember that HDMI is just a digital HD cable technology! The component (YPbPr) cables that still come with the consoles ARE also HD, just analog HD. It still looks great on a HDTV; the biggest difference is that you don't absolutely need a TV made in the last 4 years to benefit from it as CRTs and older LCD/Plasma TVs had the connectors too.

Case in point, my Xbox 360 is plugged to my 52" HDTV through component connectors and the picture is very sharp and vivid. It may not equal HDMI, but most consumers won't actually notice or mind.
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