1st Gen vs 2nd Gen Xbox 360 & DVD Up Scaling (Component vs HDMI)

I have a 1st Generation Xbox 360 which i purchase about a year and a half ago. I connect to my HD-LCD TV via component cables at a resolution of 1080i. I also have a HD-DVD Player which i recently got for free (well $5) at a garage sale on my street.
Everything is working wonderful. Both my Xbox and my HD-DVD plays back regular DVD at a resolution of 480p.

HOWEVER, my roommate just purchased a 2nd generation Xbox 360 (core system), (for less then what i paid for mine btw), which came with an HDMI port. When we played a regular DVD movie via his Xbox 360, the system automatically up-scaled to 1080p (his TV is 1080p). How very angry i was.

I called Xbox Support and after a hour and half conversation, i was basically told that only Xbox 360’s with HDMI ports will up-covert regular DVD’s to 1080p. All 1st generation system does not have have ability because of the lack of a HDMI port.

When i asked about providing us, the early adopters of the Xbox 360 with a HDMI adaptor for our units so we can then use 1080p gaming as well as up-scale regular DVD movies, i was told one does not exist yet.

I was told if i wanted a system with a HDMI port i needed to sell my Xbox 360 and buy a new one that had a HDMI port on it.

I don’t know about you, but i find that kind of reply beyond &%&&$.

The bottom line here is that as a early adopter, i feel cheated that all these new units can not only plug into the HDMI port on my TV and get 1080p resolution but they can also up-scale DVD’s to 1080p. Which my Xbox cannot.

I am stuck now with an inferior Xbox 360, which upscales my regular DVD movies to 480p. Where is the fairness in that?

I don’t mind playing my games in 1080i, or even seeing my regular DVD’s in 1080i, but i want to have the same ability that all the Xbox 360’s have when playing back DVD’s with HDMI.

To up-scale to 1080p.

What do you think? – Xbox.com forum post

Contact Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

An Open Letter to Microsoft Legal Department (Xbox Legal Group)

MadCatz Xbox 360 HDMI Conversion Kit, $90 in Jan

We’re not sure who the market for these things is. On the one hand, every new Xbox 360 comes with an HDMI port built-in. On the other hand, if you’ve got an older system, it’s more or less guaranteed to fail and the system you get back just may have an HDMI port in it. Process of elimination leaves people who’ve already had their 360 replaced and are left with fully functioning – yet cruelly HDMI-less – consoles, so we’ll direct the remainder of this post to that no doubt highly lucrative demographic.

If staring longingly at your pal’s HDMI connection has you feeling like less of a man, then consider MadCatz’s HDMI Conversion Kit, available in January for the low, low price of $89.99. The device supports resolutions up to 1080p, includes an optical audio port, and comes with both HDMI and optical audio cables. Isn’t that worth it for a strong, thick digital video signal?

[Via Engadget]

New NVIDIA 8700M GT Rendering Looks Better Than Xbox 360

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NVIDIA has just released their new top of the line GeForce 8700M GT, just in time to remind you that no matter how cool your new MacBook Pro or Sony VAIO are, you are not the King of the Hill anymore.

Not only that: NVIDIA says that now your Xbox 360’s graphics have been officially overtaken by a notebook GPU, as you can see in the gallery. The new 8700M GT has been first appeared into the Toshiba Dynabook Satellite WXW, which just got announced in Japan.

The 8700M GT has the same 32 Stream Processors of the 8600M GT, but it has increased the frequency of the GPU to 625MHz from 472 MHz. The shader processor has also seen an increase, from 950MHz to 1,250MHz, the same as the memory bus, which now clocks at 800MHz instead of the 700MHz with a maximum 512MB on board.

This new specs push performance quite a bit, jumping from a 7.6 gigatexels per second Texture Fill Rate to reach the 10 gigatexel/s mark. All quite stunning for a mobile graphic chip, matching the performance of some of the best desktop cards last year.

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Other than the new graphics processor, the Toshiba Dynabook Satellite WXW is your usual top of the line Santa Rosa laptop. It comes with Core 2 Duo T7300 at 2GHz, 1,680 × 1,050 pixel screen and 120GB hard drive. It also comes with your usual ports plus HDMI out, S/PDIF digital audio and a fingerprint sensor. The NVIDIA 8700M GT, however, comes with just 256MB of RAM.

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Good specs, fugly design.

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Hybrid LG Monitor Packs HDMI and 1080p Support

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LG has been busy revamping its LCDs lately and the company’s latest model, the 22-inch M228WA, appears to be the star player with am HDMI port and 1080p capability. In addition, the LCD can be easily paired with another display via its USB interface (there’s also DVI). Add to that a speedy 2ms response time and 3,000:1 contrast ratio and you got yourself a mighty fine display (even though we wish it were slightly bigger in screen size).

LG M228WA: 22-inch LCD Monitor with HDMI [PC Launches]

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HP’s new gaming notebook is a monster

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How big does a laptop have to be before it’s just a computer that can fold up? After all, if it’s too heavy and bulky to carry around and, well, use on your lap, then it’s just a desktop computer in a fancy case, right?

That seems to be the case with HP’s new 20-inch (!!) Pavilion HDX Gaming Notebook. Weighing in at an obscene 12 pounds, this thing is far from portable. But hey, it’s not really designed to be. It’s a gaming notebook, so that’s why you’ll get the ludicrously large 20-inch screen, and it’s loaded with hardware to run all your favorite games. It also has a built-in Windows Media remote next to the keyboard as well as an HDMI output if you want to send video to your HDTV. No word on pricing, but this thing is going to be as cheap as it is portable.

Gizmodo, via Mobile Mag

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XtremeHD – HDMI Switcher

XtremeHD - HDMI Switcher

If you have run out of HDMI ports on your flat screen you might want to check out a HDMI switcher. I wrote about the automatic HDMI swithcer yesterday, but here’s another one that lets you hook up 4 different HDMI devices and switch between them with a remote or using the buttons on the unit. The device is only $99 and if you got a Mac mini Apple TV this one will match the design perfect.

XtremeHD – HDMI Switcher [xtrememac.com]

HDMI specific Xbox 360 Elite details emerge

If you’ve been oooing and ahing at the Xbox 360 Elite’s HDMI connectionwhich really should have been there all along — then this is the post for you: a source at Microsoft has posted specific details of the Elite’s HDMI capabilities. Apparently the Elite will only support the 1.2 HDMI standard, and not the 1.3 spec which would have enabled TrueHD or Dolby Digital+. As such, you’ll have to stick with regular DD, DTS, and WMA-Pro for your sound output. It also only supports dual channel PCM output, not full 5.1 channel, and if you want full 5.1 PCM output the tipster cheekily recommends “purchasing the Toshiba A2 player” which is much cheaper than the $479 Elite. At this point the complexity of the tech talk takes a step up, as amirm refers to a fall update that will bring support for “different video levels for VGA output” which could potentially improve fidelity and HDCP handshaking support on displays operating at 1080p. We suspect that around half of the people that started reading this left to read our interview with fake SJ somewhere around the point that we mentioned “dual channel PCM output”, but what do the three people left reading think about these HDMI deets?

[Via Loot Ninja]

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Xbox 360 Elite coming in April

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Well, that rumored upgraded Xbox 360 we told you about a couple of months ago looks like it’s becoming a reality. Microsoft unveiled the new Xbox 360 Elite late last night, a black version of its popular console loaded up with a 120-GB hard drive and HDMI outputs.

It’s set to hit stores on April 29th for $480, which isn’t too much of a price increase for all that extra hard drive space and the improved connection. For you poor schulbs who are now stuck with a suddenly-outdated Xbox, you’ll be able to drop $180 on an external 120-GB hard drive for your older version as well, although that’s kind of an insane price for so little space. The really exciting stuff may be to come, however, as Microsoft is said to be announcing “exciting partnerships” later this week that might turn the Xbox into more of a multimedia hub, really using all that extra space. We’ll have to wait and see about that.

Via Gizmodo

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Microsoft Readying High-End Xbox 360

Several news outlets are citing various sources saying Microsoft plans to release the Xbox 360 Elite, a high-end limited edition console that would retail for $479 USD and include an HDMI connector, IPTV capabilities, and a 120GB hard drive.

The Redmond company is not confirming the rumors, although it has been reported that a Microsoft XNA framework developer may have unintentionally confirmed the HDMI functionality in a company forum for the technology.

Still missing from the rumored unit is a built-in HD DVD drive, say sources. While the company has said it plans to eventually build the technology into its consoles, Microsoft is apparently waiting for production costs to come down before it does so.

“It is interesting that Microsoft hasn’t added the HD DVD drive as a permanent feature,” Dean Takahashi of the San Jose Mecury News wrote of the news. “The format war with Blu-ray is still going on, and that drive would add considerable cost.”

The motherboard of the new Xbox 360 would also be redesigned to take advantage of new 65-nanometer technologies, which would also bring down the manufacturing costs of the console. This could open up the door for a price cut before the holidays, and put pressure on rivals Nintendo and Sony.

Analysts say it is unclear whether or not the other consoles would see a price cut immediately as a result of the new model’s unveiling. However, the addition of IPTV would give the Xbox 360 an edge over the PlayStation 3, which does not have the capability but costs more.

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Gamexpert Cooler King cools your Xbox 360, hubs its ports

Quite exactly why anyone would want to connect “up to 4 media players at the same time” to their Xbox 360 is beyond us, but fortunately that’s one of only three jobs that the Gamexpert Cooler King claims to do very well. As well as providing a 4-port USB hub for a quartet of PMPs, the Cooler King “cools” your Xbox 360 in a similar — but not identical — way to the Nyko Intercooler, and provides standard VGA, component, optical audio out, and S-Video connections, bypassing the need for pesky proprietary cables altogether. As the Cooler King appears to draw its power from the Xbox 360’s unique A/V port, it should hopefully bypass the concerns that dogged Nyko’s solution as well as providing the bonus of a non-proprietary port for each of the Xbox 360’s currently supported outputs. Play.com is currently shipping the Cooler King to the UK for £17.99 (around $35), which is only a modest premium over its primary, and less featured, competitor. Next up from the third party Xbox 360-cooling cottage industry? A HDMI output for pre-Zephyr Xbox 360s: pretty please!

Check it out!

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