On this edition of Major Nelson's weekly podcast he has a special guest, Tyler the HDTV expert. Among the things
they discussed were what HD means, a few of the reasons Microsoft chose HD-DVD to support, why the Olympic broadcast
isn't the best it could be, and the many different formats of HD. It's a pretty long conversation that I'll try to
summarize here, but I suggest you give it a listen to get all the details on why 720p may be better for gaming than
1080i or even 1080p
(which the PS3 will apparently
the Xbox 360
We will leave the breakdown of
spatial and temporal resolution to Tyler, but there are several elements here to consider.
Many people like to discuss HD formats not only in their resolution but also the amount of frames displayed per
second (720p60, 1080p30, etc.), and while lower frames per second is just fine for movies, it might not be as good for
things like sports and videogames. I'm not sure if I agree with all the points however, since they seem to assume most
games run at 60fps, which while some early 360 games have (DOA4, NBA 2K6), some have not (PGR3). I think it's fair to
assume we'll see higher target framerates in upcoming games, especially twitch shooters like Halo 3.
don't mention the Playstation 3 specifically, but it definitely looms large for high definition gamers. As mentioned in
current HDMI spec does not require a TV to accept 1080p (although it supports it
), and even TV's
manufactured by Sony
don't accept it. Of course, Sony could just end
all this speculation and guess work by showing us a PS3 powering two 1080p screens beautifully, at which point we will
collectively hand over our wallets, souls and firstborn children.
Whether you accept Tyler's points or just
consider this a sign of Microsoft copping some 1080p
, it's clear that just like ESPN and ABC they have picked 720p as their target resolution for HDTV, but whether
that is high definition enough to satisfy consumers remains to be seen.