High Def Forum
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My theory on xbox and hd...

sonicularulus
12-10-2004, 07:20 PM
I was thinking one night before i was going to sleep how xbox is capable of having HD-games on a dvd disk if a dvd disk can't even do an hd clip (notice clip, not movie, thus i mean 10 minutes or less). Then i came to think that it may be because of the unit itself upconverting the games. So, if my assumptions are correct, i think an xbox can upconvert a dvd movie....someone just needs to find out how...

what do u guys think?

if my theory can be proven true, then i can make xbox sales go HIGH! especially since it would be pretty cheap for an upconverting dvd player....:)

mshulman
12-11-2004, 10:49 AM
If that was the case, then all games that support 480p would be viewable in 720p and that's just not the way it works. There are only a handful of 720p games.

In addition, I'm sure Microsoft would publicise this just to get more Xbox's in homes, because even if someone was to buy one JUST for DVD viewing, they'd probably end up getting a game at some point.

sonicularulus
12-11-2004, 04:53 PM
i just have a curiousity of how xbox can be able to have hd games (some examples are Halo, Halo 2, and Project Gotham racing)....

if xbox just uses a normal dvd, then how is it possible??

mshulman
12-11-2004, 06:04 PM
Actually none of the games you listed are true HD - Those are only 480p. (EDTV)

Here's what it's possible - While they are similiar to DVD's, it's NOT a DVD - It's an XBOX game. It's software and it's written in such a way that it's able to be displayed in High Def. Forget the Media, that's really irrelevant when dealing with an Xbox game. One reason regular DVD players can't do an HD clip, is because they weren't designed to do that - The Xbox was.

sonicularulus
12-11-2004, 07:08 PM
Actually none of the games you listed are true HD - Those are only 480p. (EDTV)

Here's what it's possible - While they are similiar to DVD's, it's NOT a DVD - It's an XBOX game. It's software and it's written in such a way that it's able to be displayed in High Def. Forget the Media, that's really irrelevant when dealing with an Xbox game. One reason regular DVD players can't do an HD clip, is because they weren't designed to do that - The Xbox was.

so its possible to load an hd clip on to a dvd and play it on a xbox....right?

mshulman
12-11-2004, 07:44 PM
No, because the xbox wouldn't know how to handle that clip. If they updated the software, I suppose it would be possible, but as far as I know, the software in it now isn't capable of doing that. It would be like putting a DVD with MP3's on it into a CD player and expecting to be able to play it.

borromini
12-12-2004, 07:19 AM
No, because the xbox wouldn't know how to handle that clip. If they updated the software, I suppose it would be possible, but as far as I know, the software in it now isn't capable of doing that. It would be like putting a DVD with MP3's on it into a CD player and expecting to be able to play it.
If the Xbox can read MPEG2 (DVD) then you should be able to burn an MPEG2 HD clip as long as it was authored as a DVD-ROM. It would be a very, very short clip but the Xbox would know how to handle it. No software update required. The problem would always be a lack of storage capacity for anything that can play long enough to actually enjoy. :)

rbinck
12-12-2004, 09:26 AM
Game video is generated by an entirely different method vs dvd video. Games are not recorded as mpeg2 480i video like movies. If you have ever used the Microsoft Flight Simulator, you know about how you add background to the simulator. This is done with software parameters that end up creating the background graphically (I'm trying to not get too technical here) as opposed to mpeg2 video shot for the background. That software is a completely different algorithm than the mpeg2 decoder.

As to the space required, you have to think of the nature of software using calls to subprograms to reduce the storage requirements. In order to illustrate the principle, I will give an example using the programming of a Pronto remote.

For those not familiar with the pronto remote it is a touch screen unit that allows you to place icons on a touch screen where each of the icons, when touched, will peform a given set of operations. The operations may be to switch to another screen, to output a given IR code or series of codes and other operations to many to name in this post.

To illustrate the subprogram space saving of programming, let's say we build a series of screens that contain icons for the Directv channels that when pushed will output the series of IR codes for the corresponding channel. In the case of HBO the Pronto needs to send out the IR codes for 5, then 0 (zero) and then 1 for channel 501. Now the HBO button can be programmed to send each of these IR codes out when pressed, but it will require the storage of the three IR codes in the button. The for HBO2 the same thing only 5,0 and 2 IR codes.

A better way of conserving space would be to use a subprogram for each number button and then call the number program in each channel button. Why? Because each IR code will require about 36 bytes of storage room and each subprogram call will require about 6 bytes of storage room. So just considering the two buttons for HBO and HBO2 there would be a requirement of 36*6=216 bytes if the IR codes are stored in each button vs 36*4=144 (for the 0,1, 2, 5 codes) + 2*6=12 for a total of 156 bytes by using subprograms. If you consider the savings over all of the channel on Directv, you get the picture.

Now how does this information relate to games? Games are built up using multiple subprograms that are called as the game progresses. In the case of the action figure, the various poses are all subprograms that are called in sucession to make a given movement, say a jump. Then anytime the figure needs to jump, the jump subprogram is called. The jump button call the jump subprogram which in turn will call the series of graphic display suprograms that makes the figure jump. To equate that to DVD video, each time the figure jumps, the video for those movements would have to be stored individually on the DVD.

Expand the video subprograms to walls, background, objects and so on where they are superimposed by software to make up the final frame, and you can see (I hope) how compact a game can be vs DVD video.

Computers as they get faster and faster, begin to allow for morphing routines that allow objects to morph from one state to another allowing the reduction of the quantity of objects that need to be stored to provide a smooth transition from state to state during, let's say, a jump. My son's Flight Simulator will run at over 100 frames per second, faster than his monitor refresh, and is quite smooth altering practically every pixel on the screen!

Bottom line is the game software is completely different than the software used to decode the DVDs and there is no correlation to be made between HD games and HD DVD video.

By the way if you are interested in what HD games are available for each platform, here is a great link:
http://www.hdtvpub.com/games/xbox/microsoft-xbox.cfm
The link is for xbox, but the other platform links are on the left of the screen.

borromini
12-12-2004, 09:33 AM
But the question was whether the xbox can play an HD video clip. Since it can play a regular DVD movie which is MPEG2 then it's possible for authoring a DVD with a short (very short) HD video clip encoded in MPEG2. You're right about games, they are an entirely different matter.

rbinck
12-12-2004, 10:39 AM
Well I went back to the original question:

Then i came to think that it may be because of the unit itself upconverting the games. So, if my assumptions are correct, i think an xbox can upconvert a dvd movie....someone just needs to find out how...
My reply was not to dispute the mpeg2 ability of the xbox, but rather explain why the original assumption that the games are up-converted to HD is not the case.

Since the x box is programmable and it has HD outputs, it does follow that it could be used as an upconverting DVD player, with appropriate software. The software would probably be in the firmware which could create a problem for retrofit. But then they'd probably come out with a new model to sell more xboxes.

Micmax
12-12-2004, 11:27 AM
Simply put, comparing the HD capabilities of an Xbox and a DVD player, its apples and oranges?

rbinck
12-12-2004, 02:26 PM
Yes somewhat, but they are both fruits, so there is some commonality.

rudyusmc1980
01-04-2005, 11:00 PM
microsoft never wanted the xbox to be a dvd player, if I remember reading about the development of it 3 plus years ago. Just look at the box, and it is easy to see that they made it this way:

Xbox only outputs 480i DVD (unless this has changed)
You have to buy the remote/IR just to play dvds (IR receiver is not enough, you cannot use a game controller to play dvds)
No 'power' function built into remote