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PS3 Scales 1080i To 480p On HDTVs 125

Dr. Eggman writes "According to an article from IGN, PS3 owners are finding that 1080i-only HDTV sets are scaling down launch games to 480p. The scale-down occurs because the launch games do not support 1080i, however they should be scaling down to an HD resolution of 720 instead of 480p. It is unknown if this is a technical or software issue and if it can be patched soon." ABC news is reporting that a patch which should be available to PS3 owners soon will correct the backward compatibility issues we discussed the other day.
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PS3 Scales 1080i To 480p On HDTVs

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  • So? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:04PM (#16873346)
    480p should be enough for anybody.
  • by VertigoAce ( 257771 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:05PM (#16873366)
    The summary completley mixes up the resolutions involved. The problem occurs when a game supports 720p but not 1080i and the TV supports 480i/480p/1080i (but not 720p) as many older HDTVs do. In this situation, the PS3 doesn't scale the game's 720p to 1080i, but rather forces the game to output 480p. The Xbox 360, on the other hand, uses a chip in the hardware to scale the 720p from the game to 1080i for the TV. Any TV that supports 720p won't have this problem. Neither will games that can output 1080i.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tim_sama ( 993132 )
      Maybe that's not a problem for you, but it punishes early adopters of HDTV (like me) who own sets that only support 1080i. And as far as only affecting some games is concerned, Resistance: Fall of Man, the only worthwhile game in the whole launch lineup, doesn't support 1080i, so if I decide to get a PS3 (now out of the question unless they come up with a firmware update to fix this), I'll be stuck playing Resistance in 480p. I'll stick with Gears of War in 1080i, thank you.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by dartboard ( 23261 )
        Don't worry, you won't be getting one anyway. By the time poor slobs like you can get one they'll have these issues ironed out.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Raenex ( 947668 )
          Don't worry, you won't be getting one anyway. By the time poor slobs like you can get one they'll have these issues ironed out.

          I'm willing to bet that an "early adopter of HDTV" can plunk down $2,000 to get one from Ebay if he really wanted it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) *

        If a game isn't fun enough to be worth playing in 480p, it isn't fun enough to play in 1080i either! So why get it at all?

      • by gutnor ( 872759 )
        That's a little sad to say that. But that's the life of the early adopter. You pay more for your stuff and when the technology become mainstream the equipment you purchased could very well be obsolete. Sometimes it pays off ( early adopter of PSP firmware 1.0 ), sometimes it does not ( HDTV without HDCP )

        See yourself as pioneer. You boldly go where no other consumer sheep (like me) has gone before :-)
        While we were all watching crappy NTSC or PAL and only dreaming of DVD quality, you enjoyed exclusive HD con
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by mungtor ( 306258 )
      That's because Zonk posted it.

      Zonk was molested by Sony execs as a child and he's still ashamed of liking it so much.
  • Article is unclear (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saffaya ( 702234 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:06PM (#16873386)
    To state it clearly:

    Some PS3 launch games outputs at 720p

    Lot of 2-3 years old HDTV cannot display 720p, but can do 1080i just fine.

    But the PS3 is incapable of upscaling the game's graphics to 1080i. (unlike the xbox 360 for example)

    Hence, the only display available for them is 480p.

    To sum up : buy PS3, hook up to HDTV, play in 480p. (some games, some TV)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Quick summary:
      If your TV doesn't support a given resolution (720p), the PS3 prefers to downscale (to 480p) instead of upscale (to 1080i), giving you low resolution games (480p).

      The games' only fault is being released at 720p. The PS3 does the rest of the crappiness by turning that into 480p.
      • Quick quick summary:

        The PS3 is inferior to the X-box 360.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          Quick quick summary disclamer:

          Inferior in the parent post refers to graphics for a lament only. When your Xbox 360 dies after a year and a half, don't be surprised. YOU chose the shoddy product.

          In my experience, first gen PS2s are still running, and almost no first gen xboxes are. This study was conducted with most of my friends, and the units that lived or died are not hypothetical (re: I am not a fanboy; I own neither system but would buy a PS3 LONG before a 360).
          • by c_forq ( 924234 )
            Out of more then two dozen of my friends with PS2s I only know two first gen systems that are still kicking, or rather limping since one will only read movies and not games and the other will only read games and not movies. So regardless of wither they are still functioning or not something is nerfed in the optical drive of EVERY first gen PS2 I've encountered.
      • Where's the fault in 720p? That's the best resolution for pretty much any sort of video game, at least until 1080p is common. I like new TVs, even at 480p, because they let me get away from painful interlacing. 1080i defeats the whole purpose. It's a lousy compromise that only exists because of bandwidth concerns.
        • I don't know where the myth that 720p is better than 1080i started, but it seems to show up in every article related to HD.

          You still get far greater resolution from 1080i than from 720p. The only time the interlacing is noticeable is when you take a screenshot. 1080p HDTVs could theoretically rebuild a perfect 1080p frame from 1080i, if the fields the PS3 generates match up correctly.

          1080i > 720p
          • First off, you don't have my eyes. Interlacing is noticeable, and unpleasant, at any resolution, on any TV. A digital framebuffer helps, but it's still imperfect.

            Second, you're wrong on that last point. If you could "rebuild a perfect 1080p frame from 1080i" then 1080i would never have existed. Yes, 1080i60 has more data to it than 720p60, but carries half as much information as 1080p60. So you can (if you have a good old fashioned electron gun) display 60 fields per second of 540 lines each, in a slightly
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by arodland ( 127775 )
              Whoops, gonna correct one thing before someone calls me on it. There is a case where you can reconstruct "perfect" 1080p from 1080i, and that's when you have knowledge that the original source material was 1080p24, which was turned into 1080i60 by 3:2 pulldown. In this case, 100% of the original source material is there, and you can convert it to 1080p60, or if the display is flexible enough, back to the original 1080p24 for perfect timing. But it's clear to see that the only reason this is possible is beca
              • Yes, DVDs inverse telecined from 24 frames to 60 fields is similar to the process I was talking about. Games, which generate whole frames on-the-fly no matter what, wouldn't need to inverse the 3:2 pulldown, as the 2 fields would be from the same frame. If you have 1080i60(fields) in that case, you can construct perfect 1080p30(frames).

                As far as 1080p60, search Google [google.com] and see how many real products there are that actually support it. 1080p60 doesn't exist in consumer products if you ask me.
    • Wheeeeee! (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      To sum up : buy PS3, hook up to HDTV, play in 480p. (some games, some TV)
      Sweet...for half the price I can get the same resolution on a Wii. Maybe Nintendo was smarter than I thought by avoiding this whole HD debacle.
    • And the problem of upscaling 720p will be fixed in a future firmware update, so users like myself who were an HDTV early adopter don't get shafted.
  • Summary is wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by hudsonhawk ( 148194 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:08PM (#16873410)
    The scale down occurs because the launch games do not support 1080i, however they should be scaling down to an HD resolution of 720 instead of 480p.

    No, the problem is that they don't support 1080i. The PS3 should be scaling from 720p to 1080i (which the 360 does), not 1080i to 720p.

    The issue here is that older HDTV's only support 480p, 480i, and 1080i - not 720p. This is all stated very clearly in the article.

    I know that commentors don't seem to read the articles on Slashdot, but shouldn't the submitters?

    • Out of curiosity, how much better does scaling up look compared to scaling down?
      • The truth is that it can only be judged on a per-game basis since frame rates will vary, level of real graphical detail will vary, etc. But, to get an idea how much display information will be lost in downconversion to 480p, here are some numbers:

        480p = 720x480 = 345,600 pixels x 60 frames = 20,736,000 pixels/second.
        720p = 1280x720 = 921,600 pixels x 60 frames = 55,296,000 pixels/second.
        1080i = 1920x1080 = 2,073,600 pixels x 30 frames = 62,208,000 pixels/seconds.

        So, all other things being equal, you
    • I am the submitter and I must apologise. I had actually submitted an article from 1up.com [1up.com] which said

      "it's become apparent that 1080i is currently unsupported, at least by the machine's many launch games, as 1080i-only HDTV sets are forced to experience the visuals at 480p, rather than scaling to an HD resolution of 720p."

      I had missed the IGN link in the text and thus missed the chance to get the correct information from the original story. I must be more careful in the future and fact-check as well as
  • I'm curious about the reason that PS3 can't scale 720p to 1080i. Almost every HD component these days, all the way down to $50 DVD players, include a passable scaler. There's been some speculation that the limitation is that the 360 has analog outputs (which may be easier to scale in hardware) while the PS3 has digital outputs (which might be harder to do?)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wolrahnaes ( 632574 )

      There's been some speculation that the limitation is that the 360 has analog outputs (which may be easier to scale in hardware) while the PS3 has digital outputs (which might be harder to do?)

      The 360's scaling is done before the signal is converted to analog. Anyways, if this was actually the problem, Sony could have just made the PS3 only capable of scaling up to 1080i on analog outputs. I don't know of a single HDTV out there with digital inputs that doesn't handle 720p, and there's no question that for

      • "I don't know of a single HDTV out there with digital inputs that doesn't handle 720p,"

        Panasonic Plasma 42PX20...

        A whopping THREE years old... :(

        (But I knew that it didn't have 720p going in... I just got a really good deal on it at the time)
    • by miyako ( 632510 )
      I would guess that it's perfectly capable of upscaling. More than likely, A: It was intended to upscale from 720p to 1080i, but a bug kept that from working- and the bug will be patched soon, or B: one of Sony's brilliant PHBs decided that there was no reason to upscale, and after sony starts catching heat about it, a patch will be released to enable properly upscaling.
      My guess is that it will be a minor irrtation to a small portion of the early adopters, and will be fixed by the next shipment of units.
      • Are we sure it's even downscaling the games? how do we know it's not just rendering them straight to 480p?

        The reason I ask is because there is a possibility that the PS3 doesn't have any scaler at all, meaning it will only support resolutions that it's capable of rendering to. The Xbox 1 had a few HD games and it suffered from this exact same problem, it was never "fixed" because it was a shortcoming of the hardware that didn't include a scaler. Since it was incapable of rendering games to a 1920x1080 fr
        • by miyako ( 632510 )
          It has to be capable of downscaling, since BluRay downscales if you are not running over HDMI- but the PS3 has other "insecure" output methods- so it has to be able to downscale the BluRay movies.
          • by getnate ( 518090 )
            RTFA. The question is not "Can is down scale?", it already is down scaling to 480p and that is the problem.
            • by miyako ( 632510 )
              If you would have read the post that I was replying to, you would see that the poster asked if it is actually downscaling, or if the games are rendering natively at 480p.
              The article may say downscaling, but the article may have been using the term improperly, wouldn't be the first time.
            • I did RTFM... but did you even read the first line of my post?

              Are we sure it's even downscaling the games? how do we know it's not just rendering them straight to 480p?

              I'm sure the journalist is completely infallible and incapable of not differentiating between a downscaled image and one rendered natively at 480p. I must be a fool to assume otherwise.

              Just because BluRay downscales doesn't mean it can downscale games as well. I'm sure the hardware has enough power to downscale in software but if it sca

  • Patches for consoles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cy Sperling ( 960158 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:18PM (#16873580)
    What do consumers do about patches if they have no internet? At least with PC gaming, you can download a patch somewhere else, burn it to a disc, and run the patch later. Will consoles allow updates via some sort of hard copy install?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Typically, carry the console to a friend's house.

      Alternatively, you can borrow a laptop with a modem and set it up as a router till you have the patch (which at 56k will be quite a while).

      I'm pretty disappointed that patching is standard for next-gen console games. Broken games suck, and a patch is better than nothing. However, broken games should never get shipped in the first place. Platform holders should fine companies that do so and refund consumers.
    • Xbox patches were a) available to download and burn onto a CD, and b) often included on game discs, and c) included on official demo discs and the discs that came with gaming magazines.

    • by Bagels ( 676159 )
      Well, they've got to do something with all of that extra space on the BluRay discs. (seriously, such patches/firmware updates often get included - or even forced through - by newer games. see: PSP)
    • For the PSP, if you ran a new game, the game's UMD would contain the firmware patch to be installed. I expect this will continue for the PS3 too.
    • What they did with the PS2 was include automatically-installing updates on game discs. I assume they'll do the same thing this gen.
    • You can bring them to a shop and have them flashed, or some systems have a mechanism where a game can update the firmware (often without notifying you, used a means of breaking modchips over time. I think the PS1 did this)
    • What do consumers do about patches if they have no internet?

      I think it's a safe bet that consumers with no internet connection don't matter to Sony; at least not when it comes to the PS3.
    • "What do consumers do about patches if they have no internet?"

      They'll bundle the update with a new game. My copy of Liberty City Stories for the PSP has a firmware update with it.
  • Out of curiosity (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Could someone arrange a survey of what percentage of people can describe the difference between 1080i, 480p and television? I can't.

    • This is news for nerds. If you actually cared, instead of just trolling, you'd have looked at Wikipedia. Please go away and leave us alone. That is all.
    • Any mode that ends in "i" sucks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Kindly put, the HDTV formats are (in descending order of quality): 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels progressive scan), 1080i (1,920 x 1,080 pixels interlaced), 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels progressive scan), and 480p (720 x 480 pixels progressive scan).

      There's some question as to 1080i vs 720p in quality, and I have never heard of a 720i or 480i (although I see no reason why they might not exist).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 7Prime ( 871679 )

        480i is just called either NTSC or SDTV, which is 480 lines interlaced. This is why you never hear it refered to as 480i. The whole naming by scan lines (ie: 480p, 720p, 1080i/p) is a reletively recent phenomenon since EDTV (480p) only came out about 10 years ago, and called for a new naming system.

        720i does not exist, to my knowledge. By the time they got to the 720p standard, there was no reason to go interlaced anymore, because progressive scan will ALWAYS be superior in image quality when showing in a

      • 480i is essentially Standard Definition TV. Its the way signals are currently broadcast in the U.S.
        This is why 480p is sometimes (often?) referred to as EDTV i.e. Enhanced Definition TV, since it takes the standard Ratio and broadcast size and removes the interlacing. I am not aware of any broadcasts using it, but quite a number of DVD players and the like will output it.
    • Describe it? Who cares. LOOK at it. Put a DVD on (480p), then put a good HD TV broadcast on (1080i or 720p, depending on the network). There's a HUGE difference. Anyway, this is quite strange - that it can't scale. I can't believe that. That being said, please god somebody clean up the summary so it makes sense and is not completely misleading.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:34PM (#16873954)
    All three consoles appear to allow patches, none of them have said they won't allow it (I assume Nintendo isn't going to go the extent the other two are). But this is a horrible thought. Forget QA, forget everything else, we're just screwing people over because if they get a game early they are screwed, we don't even need to finish the game because we can always patch in more later? Patches should add information, not fix bugs that shouldn't have gotten out of the shop. Patches are good but not if every game needs a patch out of the box.

    We also have Microtransactions from all sides. EA is selling us cheat codes over the marketplace for money, People are selling tutorials? I thought Micropayments were going to save us? Not make us feel like tools.

    Then assume patches and micropayments are OK (They arn't). What happens 10 years from now, you find a unused Console start it up and put in your game, xbox live is probably not going to be serving the data so you can't get the updates? What happens if you don't have an internet connection? You can't get the fixes. So we are bending people to our will even more now? (first HD and now almost necessary internet)

    All this just makes me, a gamer, feel like Next Gen is just a pile of crap that is just out there to bring the computer to a console. I applaud Nintendo but even there they are doing parts of this stuff to an extent.
    • Patches and microtransactions aren't going to go away, but we consumers can help cut down on some of the bullshit by not buying it. I can't imagine EA is getting many people to buy their cheat codes, and I imagine much of the other crappy marketplace stuff doesn't see too many purchases. The microtransaction idea will only work out for publishers if they offer up stuff worth buying.
      • by Durrok ( 912509 )
        How much money did EA make on you putting in a cheat code before the 360? None. How much do they make now? Some. They are just trying to make a buck everywhere they can and personally I think it's crap. Same with their ads in games. Not only are the games not any cheaper with this new "business model" but they are still released unfinished and take way to long to patch. It would be one thing if these micro payments and adds made the game cheaper or free but they don't.
    • I hate to say it, but the multitude of people actually paying for these microtransactions drowns out your complaint on /. quite easily.

      I don't buy all the useless stuff like gamer pictures and themes, but new maps and cars? Absolutely. To some extent it's required to play certain gametypes, but on the whole there are plenty of people who are willing to pay for the stuff even though they wish they were getting it for free.

      Supply creates its own demand.
      • I'm not anti micropayments. I'm anti shitty micropayments for stuff like cheat codes, trailers, pictures and themes, stuff that should be free, which show you support X. Even stuff like Lumines shows Micropayments are easily corruptable.

        While I say that I'm looking forward to the wii with the Virtual console, but in the end it's always companies like EA who will give us micropayments for stuff that has always been in the game (cheat codes for instance) and it's just a shame.

        The biggest problem with microp
  • Interlacing sucks - people should boycott all interlaced modes altogether. This is yet another example of how painful it is to deal with.
    • Don't be silly. 1080i is very useful for content distributors. It allows one to optimize bandwidth depending on the content involved, as it trades off temporal resolution for spacial resolution. The result is higher apparent resolution for slower moving content, while using less bandwidth than 720p.
      • by Mprx ( 82435 )
        Pointless. Any content that won't look like shit in an interlaced mode will compress very well with any modern algorithm. Much better to display everything progressive and set the data rate as appropriate. Interlace should have died long ago, the only reason it still exists is because it's relatively cheap to build a 1080i CRT and dumb consumers think it's somehow better than 720p.
      • by getnate ( 518090 )
        Why not trade temporal resolution by using 1080p@30fps (vs. 720p@60), 1080i60 is a mistake and should be replaced with 1080p30? 1080p30 has the same pixel rate as 1080i60 and 1080p30 will probably compress better resulting is lower bandwidth.
        • Good point, although I wonder, is it cheaper to make a 1080i display than a 1080p?
          • by dserpell ( 22147 )
            Yes, a lot cheaper.
            • Then 1080i does have an advantage over 1080p30, specifically in cost, and that's a very legitimate reason. After all, HDTV is already out of reach for most average consumers. If only progressives were available, it would be that much worse.
  • Actually, it downscales to 480p on displays that do 480i/p and 1080i, but not 720p.
  • The japan units only shipped with composite rc cables not component video.
    Last I checked composite can only play 480p or 480i. I would assume that the US units shipped with the same thing. Has anyone tried this with a true HD cable?
    • Composite and S-video can only do 480i. The only way to do 480p (or better) is with component, DVI, or HDMI (which is DVI + audio + crap DRM + new connector)
      • If you're going to correct folks, please use the correct terms. Composite and S-video (at least in the US) can only do NTSC, and while there are only 480 visible lines, there are 525 actual lines. The term "480i" is best reserved to describe an interlaced digital signal with 480 interlaced lines - for example, NTSC sources transmitted via cable or satellite digitally and then converted to NTSC in a receiver for output via RF, composite, S-video or component (though they can also sometimes convert the sign
  • That not only must you pay $600+ for the console, but you must upgrade your HDTV!
    If it gets any better you'll need a third job to buy one!

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.