Watching TV in Europe inside Xbox One suffers from 50Hz limitations

If you own a new Xbox One in Europe and you have hooked it up to your cable or satellite set top box, you might have noticed some issues with watching TV from inside the console's UI. That's due to the differences in output in European TV sets and what the Xbox One supports.

As first reported by HDTVTest, televisions in Europe output to 50Hz while Microsoft set up the Xbox One to output at 60Hz. This causes the TV signal to drop or skip frames when viewed from the console's HDMI In feature. This issue is especially noticeable during live sports broadcasts for panning shots. US televisions don't have this problem as they are already set up for 60Hz output.

So far, Microsoft has yet to comment on this issue, but Eurogamer's Digital Foundry section believes it may be hard for the company to fix this problem. It might be possible for Microsoft to release a patch that locks the Xbox One in 50Hz for TV viewing and goes up to 60Hz for gaming but this would take away from the seamless experience that US users have when switching from TV to gaming on the console.

While Europeans can watch TV inside the Xbox One with the HDMI In port, the OneGuide feature that allows the console to take over the set top box's TV guide features won't be put in place in the UK and other parts of Europe until 2014.

Source: HDTVTest and Eurogamer | Image via Microsoft

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It's not the set. It's mixing the 50hz input from the cable box with the 60hz internally generated content. They sell the same sets everywhere in the world and they can accept different inputs.

I wonder how computers do it, tho. I mean, take windows media center for example. your LCD monitor is probably at 60Hz right? all the time.
yet you can play ANY video at ANY frame rate and somehow the stutter is not particularly noticeable. I've always wondered how directshow or directx or whatever interface there is with the GPU handle this

Julius Caro said,
I wonder how computers do it, tho. I mean, take windows media center for example. your LCD monitor is probably at 60Hz right? all the time.
yet you can play ANY video at ANY frame rate and somehow the stutter is not particularly noticeable. I've always wondered how directshow or directx or whatever interface there is with the GPU handle this

It's does it by mode switching, ever noticed how watching TV in Media Center starts with a black screen?

European TV is at 50hz for the same reason as everyone elses and that's because the Mains Voltage is at 50hz. Seeing as TVs accept mixed input right out of the box nowadays there has never been any reason to change.

Older TVs used the mains frequency to drive the clocks for the screens so this is just a case of America being out of touch with the rest of the planet however that's a much older and wider debate. Unbelievably people still have 10+ year old hardware and while these will no doubt work with 60hz everyone tends to stick with 50hz to maintain compatibility.

Quite happily suggesting the entire planet switch over just because 'Murica does is just what I expect from comments of said country. Sadly this is no doubt an oversight and lack of testing on Microsoft's part that if unfixable put's another nail in the coffin for most of the PVR features (along with lack of support from cable providers outside the US) which Microsoft is trying so hard to push to close their gap with the PS4.

I doubt it IS unfixable though not unless Microsoft have made some rather foolish decisions with their Hardware and Software capture. It's hardly a "new" problem nor anything which hasn't been fixed before.

Unplugged said,
European TV is at 50hz for the same reason as everyone elses and that's because the Mains Voltage is at 50hz. Seeing as TVs accept mixed input right out of the box nowadays there has never been any reason to change.

Older TVs used the mains frequency to drive the clocks for the screens so this is just a case of America being out of touch with the rest of the planet however that's a much older and wider debate. Unbelievably people still have 10+ year old hardware and while these will no doubt work with 60hz everyone tends to stick with 50hz to maintain compatibility.

Quite happily suggesting the entire planet switch over just because 'Murica does is just what I expect from comments of said country. Sadly this is no doubt an oversight and lack of testing on Microsoft's part that if unfixable put's another nail in the coffin for most of the PVR features (along with lack of support from cable providers outside the US) which Microsoft is trying so hard to push to close their gap with the PS4.

I doubt it IS unfixable though not unless Microsoft have made some rather foolish decisions with their Hardware and Software capture. It's hardly a "new" problem nor anything which hasn't been fixed before.

You make it sound like HDTVs don't exist in Europe, they do and can handle 50 and 60Hz input just fine. The problem is with set top boxes outputting at 50Hz instead of the 60Hz that the console outputs which causes frame skipping.

Im aware that the TVs can I was merely pointing out why the rest of the planet use 50hz as opposed to 60hz

Microsoft's biggest feature (beyond the gaming) was TV control, and PVR integration if they didn't see this happening then they are extremely short sighted.

It's their problem to fix however so they can't realistically expect manufacturers of 100s of devices to add an option to output at 60hz.

Okay, what's your solution? If you sit and think about the problem, you'll find there isn't a solution. Going forward they may require game developers support 50hz but that wouldn't be practical for porting existing to games to the platform by launch day. You're tying to combine two inputs from two sources out of your control.

Spicoli said,
Okay, what's your solution? If you sit and think about the problem, you'll find there isn't a solution. Going forward they may require game developers support 50hz but that wouldn't be practical for porting existing to games to the platform by launch day. You're tying to combine two inputs from two sources out of your control.

The solution is simple. MS release a firmware update that adds a 50Hz mode with the ability to manually switch modes, the Xbox 360 had this built in so why it was removed I don't know, and auto switch modes when a European STB is plugged in, patch existing Xbox One games to support a 50Hz mode and have developers add a 50Hz mode to games in development.

Well, that's my solution anyway

Edited by neo158, Nov 27 2013, 3:14pm :

Spicoli said,
Wasn't there something in the requirements document about modern television equipment?

The article misled you to think that the TV's in the UK are the issue, when its the cable/sat boxes that cause this issue.

They output 50Hz, you plug this into your xbox one which then sends out a 60Hz signal to the TV (the TV's can all handle 50 or 60Hz just fine). The issue is that the 50Hz signal fed into the xbox one is then passed through to the TV at 60Hz, 10 screen refreshes more - hence the stuttering.

This is only an issue due to the TV Pass through feature combined with the fact that European set top boxes output at 50Hz.

So the options are:

European set top boxes stop being arses and change to 60Hz default - or have an option to change in settings
European xbox outputs at 50Hz - this would possibly cause issues though and fragment the world market for games (region locked games, made for different Hz settings)
Microsoft come up with some kind of clever workaround

I do not think this is something that slipped through the net at MS, its just not simple in any way what so ever, and no one company could really solve the issue.

Doesn't the PS3 have this issue too? DVD playback sets the TV to 60hz instead of 24hz and it's stuttery, but for blu-ray it sets TV to 24hz and is smooth.

iPlayer on PS3 stutters too, Youtube on either TV or monitor stutters as well. Only stuff played from my Skybox is smooth, and for my HTPC when setting the refresh rate to 23.976hz for movies/TV series. Can't quite get it right for smooth iPlayer/4od playback from the HTPC yet, never really sure if their content is 30/50/60fps

The articles working is misleading....

"As first reported by HDTVTest, televisions in Europe output to 50Hz while Microsoft set up the Xbox One to output at 60Hz. "

The TV sets don't 'OUTPUT' anything, its the satellite/cable boxes that spit out 50Hz signals.

The TVs can handle 50/60 Hz fine, the issue here is the cabel box feeding 50Hz into the xbox one, and then the xbox one spitting out 60Hz. So every second the xbox has to invent 10 frames out of nothing.

This could be fixed with some kind of interpolation but this would create a pause while it switched mode - something that is very much against what is intended.

AND it impossible for when the TV signal displays within the dashboard as a large tile, as the rest fo the screen is 60Hz with the windowed TV picture being 50Hz.

Spicoli said,
Do the HD broadcasts also run at 50hz?

Yes they do indeed. Sky HD and Virgin HD boxes output 720p or 1080i in 50Hz. This is the problem. As mentioned above this article isn't quite correct - all European HDTVs are capable of 50Hz and 60Hz, this is no problem. Games will play in 60Hz with no problems at all.

The problem occurs when a 50Hz signal is fed into the Xbox One and the console is displaying a 60Hz signal so again, as mentioned above, every so often it shows up as frame skipping.

DirecTV + America here. The TV-in feature on Xbox One has been awesome. Having my X1 and DirecTV box combined is awesome. Shame it is messing up for some in Europe.

I was playing a 10 lap forza race last night and had the Broncos/Patriots game snapped to the right. It was great.

ryuh3d said,
DirecTV + America here. The TV-in feature on Xbox One has been awesome. Having my X1 and DirecTV box combined is awesome. Shame it is messing up for some in Europe.

I was playing a 10 lap forza race last night and had the Broncos/Patriots game snapped to the right. It was great.

I was wondering how well it interfaced with DirecTV. I was a DirecTV subscriber up until about a year ago. Its awesome that the XBox One works well with DirecTV. Comcast XFinity service works well on the XBox 360. I'd say they both need it because neither one can design a cable box worth using.

And people think it might be a bit silly to not know Ottawa is Canada's capital on the forums. Not testing your products out in the countries you're releasing to sounds more silly to me.

Not everybody has the problem and not continuously either, meaning that MS has this programmed out but just not working properly for everybody. It'll be fixed soon enough.
And yes, when you're living that close to your neighboring country and not knowing its capital is beyond stupid, especially when you're attending a university.

what sounds really silly is, people not understanding that Microsoft has repeatedly stated the TV features are only initially supported in the U.S at launch.

it is no different from what happens when you play American 60fps content on European TVs. Most will just drop frames at a set interval or create interpolated frames. this is hardly "a hard thing to fix". We've fixed harder problems like movies are shot at 24fps yet show on tvs at 29.97 fps.

to even suggest MSFT will have a hard time fixing this neglects the fact this problem has been solved by the movie industry long ago.

Correct. But then most of the TV will be available through IP apps in Europe soon enough also. Here in the Netherlands, most TV networks have this already for tablets and such, so it will be the same for the Xbox. KPN already does it (360) and has no 50Hz problems whatsoever. IPTV is the future and all those networks already know it and are hard at work to make it happen and I'm sure MS knew this in the design fase as well. The HDMI in is purely a stopgap for the networks that delay the IPTV rollout.

No, it hasn't really been solved. It works but people noticed the extra frames as you have to cram 10 extra frames in there and there's no way to do that evenly. The issue is from mixing content on the screen with different source frequencies which I don't think anyone has done before.

Devmer11 said,
Oh well sucks for Europe

Not really, TVs here can handle both 50 and 60Hz signals. I would rather be a European than a murican any day!!

neo158 said,

Not really, TVs here can handle both 50 and 60Hz signals. I would rather be a European than a murican any day!!


Sure, but the cable boxes/sky boxes chose to go with the lower 50Hz frequency.

Phouchg said,
USA should move to Europe. Time to put an end to these commissars and their fines and generally bad attitude.

Technically its not possible due to Europe's geographical size. if it happens the two persons should stay on top of each others head.

Technically, you're very much in the wrong, though I wonder where did you get the notion.

Europe as a continent is about the same size as USA, with twice as much population density, and there's still plenty of living space. Lest you consider China, which has (and isn't it a wonderful coincidence?) again about the same size, but five times more people and still plenty of space further away inside the country, away from plains and the coast.

The theoretical problem would be housing, food and energy, but because it was intended as a joke (on US foreign policy and frequent invasions), I'd rather not speculate any further.

ians18 said,

Sure, but the cable boxes/sky boxes chose to go with the lower 50Hz frequency.

Exactly, that's an oversight on their part. Maybe Microsoft need to have the console change to 50Hz when it detects a 50Hz input through the HDMI In.

neo158 said,

Exactly, that's an oversight on their part. Maybe Microsoft need to have the console change to 50Hz when it detects a 50Hz input through the HDMI In.

You can't because the games won't run at 50hz. It's the content mixing that's the issue.

don't get me wrong I have been to Europe and I love it but no offense, population density is at least twice more than US. when you go from town to town distances are so close. besides, US pretty much every places are the same. its the same country. Europe ... I wouldn't go to eastern Europe to live.

Spicoli said,
You can't because the games won't run at 50hz. It's the content mixing that's the issue.

I know that, what I'm saying is that the console should output everything at 50Hz when it detects an input running at 50Hz.

trojan_market said,
don't get me wrong I have been to Europe and I love it but no offense, population density is at least twice more than US. when you go from town to town distances are so close. besides, US pretty much every places are the same. its the same country. Europe ... I wouldn't go to eastern Europe to live.

I suppose you've been to Eastern Europe then?

You also forget that Europe is smaller than America so distances between places are shorter. We probably have the same population density as the US but, again, as America is bigger it seems like there are more people living in Europe.

The TVs do, that's not the problem. The problem is that you'd have a mode switch going between the two, which MS wouldn't want as it would not be seamless, and might not even be feasible while mixed content is snapped up on the screen (60Hz content and 50Hz content)
So yeah, the problem isn't the TV, it's the mixed source content (Games being in 60Hz, and the TV content in the Euro zone is 50Hz)

So I see a nice female as your picture and I click on your profile to view it and it shows something else. Well played good sir, well played...anyway, I'm happy with my Xbox One and haven't encountered the problem yet, but I haven't plugged a TV device into it yet as my TV uses CI+ for tuning in itself.

really? I changed my profile picture from the female yesterday,strange that it shows.

the tv thing isn't a big deal. when ms adds support for tv for Europe, they will just do some frame interpolation, just like tv manufacturers currently do with 120hz tvs, where they can make everything looks super smooth, the "soap opera" effect. it definitely works. they do this to the frames that would usually be repeated.

btw im only making fun of internet users that freak out over small things and threaten to cancel their pre orders.

I'd put more money on MS had a hard or is having a hard time figuring out how to make everything seamless, while keeping their content at 60Hz

This will be fixed soon enough. It's quite easy to do actually. Just an oversight on their part. It doesn't happen all the time for most either, showing that there is an implementation for it, but it is apparently flawed.

Sraf said,
That's power, get a TV signal map (I am fairly certain you are being silly, but still)

More then half is on flatscreens with 60-100hz nowadays.
But many people still have 50hz TV's, I come across them a lot more then I often think I would've. But then again, _most_ of these people don't have a console.

Auzeras said,
That is true, early morning blond moment. Poor form on my part

PAL/SECAM (50Hz) map vs NTSC - 60Hz is still a relative minority.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PAL-NTSC-SECAM.svg

Regardless of the fiddly details, they shouldn't have not provided 50Hz support. I'm sure they have technical reasons that make sense. But on the surface (MS Pun!) it looks like a bit of negligence.

More leaning to an oversight.

It seems more of an unsolvable problem rather than an oversight. The games need to support a compatible frequency, and it was probably a major push just to get a handful ported by release day.

Yeah it's unfortunate. Even if new HD programming was 60Hz in the UK, they would still have a lot of legacy content to support. I wonder if UK will ever switch to 60/30fps. Still, the oneguide isn't supported outside the US so even if it worked well, they wouldn't have much use for it. Might as well keep the TV on a different input.

The issue isn't European TV's like this article seems to imply. It's the fact that the cable/Sky box outputs 50hz and because it goes through the XB1, it's then output at 60hz, this screws up the frames.

Pretty much any remotely modern European TV will do 60hz or over, it's been like this for many years. Just wanted to make this clear.

Edited by NoClipMode, Nov 25 2013, 8:59pm :

I'm well aware, hence why I said that MS should interpolate missing frames, as the Xbox is outputting 10 extra frames per second over the TV source signal

Saw edit, cheers!