Microsoft admits to video playback issue with Xbox 360

In December, after Microsoft launched the massive Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 console, reports started to come in that the quality of the console's video playback was not as good as it was before the update. Users complained on Xbox message board about issues with washed out colors and poor video compression. Eurogamer.net's Digital Foundry did an investigation and concluded that there were indeed some problems with the Xbox 360's video playback. However, Microsoft didn't respond to the complaints at the time.

On Thursday, Microsoft decided to admit there was a problem with the game console's video playback. Microsoft's Larry Hyrb posted a note on his Twitter account saying, "We’re aware of the colorspace issue w/ some Xbox video apps & are working on a fix. No ETA yet but we hope to have an update soon."

While that sounds like good news on the surface there have been more reports of other video issues with the Xbox 360. Earlier this month, Digital Foundry did another investigation and found that 1080p video outputs can play back but have been scaled down to 720p resolution, among other issues.

We do have to wonder why Microsoft elected to launch the new Dashboard update with all of these fairly obvious video issues. Hopefully Microsoft will get all of these video playback problems solved in the near future.

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They are only acknowledging the color space issue, not the 1080p playback limitation of non-Zune marketplace content?

It's obvious that the new dashboard was rushed out to meet the promise of "late 2011" to release their new TV features. Lots of stuff feels incomplete and not very well thought out in the new dashboard...

Most people don't have the bpp HD displays to even notice the 'range' issue.

If your display didn't come with a 12 or 15 or 16 bpp capability, then it can't display the difference between Standard and Extended range. (Also this depends on how the TV handles the HDMI input and its color upscaling processor.)

Which sadly is a majority of HD displays sold with the average having a 10-12bpp controller that doesn't allow addressing and poorly upscales a 8bpp signal.

The ironic thing is the XBox 360 is the only console and or video player in the consumer market that supports addressing the higher bpp displays directly, actually being able to output a real 10 or 12 bpp signal that carries more than 16million colors.

PS3 users (and BluRay users in general) are not getting more than 16million colors no matter what they do, which is funny when they jump on this topic to 'make fun' of the XBox to hindering a feature they don't even have.

This is like when the new 16bpp displays were the rage last year, and Mac users were running to purchase them for their graphics departments for video editing, etc. OS X cannot process nor does it support, nor are there plans that it will ever support more than 16million colors which is an 8bpp (24bit color + 8bit transparency). Windows 7 is the only OS capable of understanding and outputing 10/12/16bpp color.

Yet Mac users were buying them left and right and telling people how much better they looked. Well they might have looked better with the color upscale processor in the display, but it wasn't true to the display as there is no way to ge a 36bit or 48bit image to display in OS X without downscaling it to 24bit first.

This has nothing to do with bits per pixel. This is the actual color space range. In broadcast TV the regular RGB range of 0-255 is mapped to "safe" range of 16-235. This is typically then converted back to whatever your TV expects by the cable box/receiver/console. Most TVs these days expect a signal that has already been converted to the "extended" range of 0-255, and in fact, that's what the Xbox sends for everything -except- video from apps like NetFlix and Hulu.

Some people may not notice because some people aren't sensitive to color issues (many people don't even know when their TV is set to stretch 4:3 to 16:9 - drives me nuts), or probably left their TV on the stock settings from the store where the blacks are horrible crushed already anyway. For me, it is totally noticable, and is forcing me to re-adjust the contrast and brightness on my TV whenever I want to watch Netflix to get a decent picture.

I haven't really noticed video playback quality. When streaming adjust for low bandwidth, sure. Otherwise, nothing out of ordinary. I'd like to see if a patched update makes any difference? Streaming HD from Netflix looks great though. /shrug

In December, after Microsoft launched the massive Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 console, reports started to come in that the quality of the console's video playback was not as good as it was before the update.

That's not true. At least 3 users reported video quality issues way before the last update went live. At the very early beta stage the xbox showed a decrease of quality on playing media.

One of the users speculated about that the xbox team needed room to the new update, and with the memory full of the new features they needed to remove/downgrade other features, one was the background image, people really complain about it and we got it back, animations and gadgets for the avatars got downgraded too. Video quality got the worst treatment.

Pulgafree said,

That's not true. At least 3 users reported video quality issues way before the last update went live. At the very early beta stage the xbox showed a decrease of quality on playing media.

One of the users speculated about that the xbox team needed room to the new update, and with the memory full of the new features they needed to remove/downgrade other features, one was the background image, people really complain about it and we got it back, animations and gadgets for the avatars got downgraded too. Video quality got the worst treatment.

Ya not so much...

Especially the 'background' image thing, as the way the XBox handles the texture for the background, it is still consuming texture space whether it is a 200kb image or not. (And you really think a 200kb image was the 'tipping' scale in USING too much memory? Wow... Maybe back in 1991.)

thenetavenger said,

Ya not so much...

Especially the 'background' image thing, as the way the XBox handles the texture for the background, it is still consuming texture space whether it is a 200kb image or not. (And you really think a 200kb image was the 'tipping' scale in USING too much memory? Wow... Maybe back in 1991.)

Sorry you misread my post. When I said "memory" I ment the memory asigned to the Dashboard to use. Not only in the ram space, also in the needed files installed on xbox inself. Remeber, The xbox have the dashboard installed not only on your hard drive or in the internat 4 gb memory for the arcade version, also on the motherboard inself. Hence you can remove every memory card or hard drive and your xbox would boot to the dashboard.

the hardware in the 360 is perfectly fine, whats wrong with it?: and yeah the vid output looks like **** as all i use this thing for is streaming

Crisps said,
Maybe it's time to release some new hardware.

Why? It's not like the current hardware wasn't managing to do output 1080 previously. It's just a bug in their system, no doubt they will sort it out.

Yup, video playback is currently embarassingly bad. Doesn't bode well that Microsoft think it's acceptable to update trash everyone's video playback like this and then ignore the issue for months.

Matt Sharpe said,
Yup, video playback is currently embarassingly bad. Doesn't bode well that Microsoft think it's acceptable to update trash everyone's video playback like this and then ignore the issue for months.

It doesn't effect everyone it seems, lots of people never noticed at least and as the comment says, "some Xbox video apps". It seems that the apps got borked somehow with some change in the new dashboard, they'll probably fix it quick.

Matt Sharpe said,
Yup, video playback is currently embarassingly bad. Doesn't bode well that Microsoft think it's acceptable to update trash everyone's video playback like this and then ignore the issue for months.

You make it sound like Microsoft intentionally borked video playback.
Also, the update came out in December that is ONE month ago not months, genius.

Matt Sharpe said,
Yup, video playback is currently embarassingly bad. Doesn't bode well that Microsoft think it's acceptable to update trash everyone's video playback like this and then ignore the issue for months.

This explains a lot. I was streaming Transformers: Dark of the Moon via Netflix on Monday and though the video quality had degraded. Being so used to HD quality, I couldn't make it through the first half hour of the flick so I ran out and purchased a copy at Best Buy. When I popped it in, I didn't notice any increase in the quality of the flick. I was fairly ****ed off but now that I understand what the problem is I hope they fix it soon.

NPGMBR said,

This explains a lot. I was streaming Transformers: Dark of the Moon via Netflix on Monday and though the video quality had degraded. Being so used to HD quality, I couldn't make it through the first half hour of the flick so I ran out and purchased a copy at Best Buy. When I popped it in, I didn't notice any increase in the quality of the flick. I was fairly ****ed off but now that I understand what the problem is I hope they fix it soon.

There are no Transformers movies on streaming netflix. ?

Matt Sharpe said,
Yup, video playback is currently embarassingly bad. Doesn't bode well that Microsoft think it's acceptable to update trash everyone's video playback like this and then ignore the issue for months.

yeah 30 days = months. and im sure microsoft did it on purpose just to give you reason to troll. They get bored sitting on the beanbag chairs stuffed with $100 bills and think of way to **** people off.

fmanchu said,

There are no Transformers movies on streaming netflix. ?

Sorry, I was in-fact not streaming it from Netflix but from my PC. I was streaming other stuff from Netfilx but I don't think the video quality was affected.