1080P is great and all, but so not a Sony thing...
June 23, 2010

I continue to be baffled (and a little amused, I'll admit) by Sony's support for 1080P. On the one hand you have Blu-Ray, which is pretty terrific. I really enjoy the format. I also like that the PlayStation 3 supports it and has made it such a success. It's great that the PS3 has 1080P support. You just hook up an HDMI cable and go, a real blessing for me now that I have an HD television that I've been enjoying for... almost a year. Wow, has it really been that long?

Anyway, Sony deserves props for making all of that so easy to enjoy, but then there are the games. You know, the reason I bought a PS3. And sadly, they're just not 1080P. There are a slew of 1080P titles available for Xbox 360, but many of those same games arrive on PS3 with a maximum resolution of 720P. Which still looks good, but it's not 1080P. So, why is it that a system like the Xbox 360 (which for many people can't show more than 720P due to the lack of an HDMI output on most Xbox 360 units, including mine) gets 1080P support on many of its big titles yet the PS3 does not?

At first, I thought the answer was "Because third parties don't care," but that's not all that there is to it. I looked into it and God of War III doesn't support it. Heavy Rain didn't support it. Ratchet & Clank Future didn't support it. I don't think ModNation Racers does, either. Sony seems to have decided that 1080P just isn't worth worrying about, and that worries me. Why would Sony give up on one of its most obvious selling points? Why isn't Sony out paying developers to make games look as good on PS3 as they do on Xbox 360? Isn't the PS3 supposed to be the more powerful machine?

Anyway, I just find it rather odd. I have over 40 games for my PS3 and the only ones I can think of that support 1080P are Final Fantasy XIII (which looks incredible at that resolution), Toy Story 3 (which looks pretty good but doesn't really need it) and Katamari Forever. What PS3 games have you played that support it?

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bluberry bluberry - June 23, 2010 (12:15 AM)
360 just hardware scales it, it also tends to run worse. 99% of the time the game isn't actually pumping out 1080 lines.

I see where you're coming from, but current systems generally aren't powerful enough to get next-gen graphics at 1080p. unless you're a phenomenal bunch of well-funded programmers, of course, and even then there's no sidestepping the fact that you're asking the machine to render about three times as much. all things considered 720 is a great resolution, you're not going to get the horrible aliasing you do at 480 and there's still plenty of detail.

to put it differently: if two games on PS3 or 360 are both running well, and made by equally talented teams, then the game that's only putting out 720 is going to look better every single time.
Suskie Suskie - June 23, 2010 (12:16 AM)
I think I've brought this up once here before, and I, too, find it odd. You're right: Final Fantasy XII looks absolutely phenomenal in 1080p. I don't think I've played any Xbox 360 games that could touch it. But on the other hand, most cross-platform games ironically look better on 360 for this reason alone. It's really puzzling.

I've been debating whether or not to get a PS3 for a little while now that I'm no longer roomed with someone who owns one (I'll need a Blu-ray player eventually, so I figure I might as well get a game console to go along with it), but I know I'll still likely do most of my gaming on my 360. Partly because of achievements, partly because I like the controller better, and partly because 360 games support 1080p.
bloomer bloomer - June 23, 2010 (12:51 AM)
Bloody scaling!

I love Blu-Rays, but I'm pissed my Blu-Ray player won't put out an untouched regular DVD signal when it plays regular DVDs. It has to upscale it to something else.

This is a lie going around atm as vendors try to flog Blu-ray - "upscaling makes DVDs look better". It's incapable of doing that. At best, an A-grade print on DVD looks microscopically soft-focused after upscaling. The image will probably also tear on panning. At worst, material on DVD shot on video in the first place looks very significantly worse after upscaling (EG my classic Dr Who DVDs). Basically, great material suffers a tiny bit, video material or bad film material suffers hugely, but everything suffers to some degree.

For these reasons I kept my old dedicated DVD player after I discovered this shortcoming of my BluRay player.
honestgamer honestgamer - June 23, 2010 (01:00 AM)
Keep that DVD player around, then. Even lower end DVD players are now supporting upscaling as a feature, without Blu-Ray even entering the equation. Apparently, there aren't many people out there who agree with you. Not saying you're wrong (your eyes will always tell you what you like best, not some magazine or other guys posting on a forum), but that's how things do seem to be going. Maybe it's just manufacturers trying to force people to evolve. You wouldn't believe how many people still come in who think that it's a damn shame the world has brought about all of these unnecessary and useless innovations when "a coaxial cable is just as good as HDMI or RCA cables are just as good."
jerec jerec - June 23, 2010 (02:20 AM)
I have a PS3 running on an old 51cm SD TV. It looks the same as my 360. I grabbed Toy Story 1 and 2 on Blu Ray recently, but I can't watch them yet. Thankfully they also include the movies on DVD so I was able to watch them. I love that Disney seems to be doing this. They're the only company that is, I think. I like the idea of having them on both. I only have one Blu Ray player, and it's my PS3. I doubt I'll be getting another one, yet there's DVD players all around the place.

So I don't know what 1080P looks like... yet.
bloomer bloomer - June 23, 2010 (06:20 AM)
> You wouldn't believe how many people still come in who think
> that it's a damn shame the world has brought about all of these
> unnecessary and useless innovations when "a coaxial cable is just
> as good as HDMI or RCA cables are just as good."

Oh I believe it :) And if they have an older or smaller TV, or blurry eyesight, those people might be right. On Jerec's TV, I imagine RCA is as dandy as anything else to the eyes of most of us.

Objectively speaking, scaling is a form of resampling, and resampling always reduces the accuracy of the data, if we consider the original data to be the most accurate incarnation. This is a mathematical truth, and in the case of upscaling images, apparent to the eye on a big modern TV.

However, many forms of objective degradation or resampling of signals designed to be received by the human senses are either not apparent to those senses, or actually desirable!

In music, the aesthetic a sound is given by recording to magnetic tape is considered appealing to the ear by most people. I make music entirely in a computer, but I get it mastered through analogue tape because it sounds better afterwards. The accuracy of a digital signal can sometimes be less attractive to the ear, the same way an incredibly accurate photo of a natural scene may look more attractive after being tweaked for contrast and saturation in a computer.

So there's an endless entanglement of signal accuracy, the capabilities of equipment versus the resolution of human senses, and plain old taste and aesthetics. It's always gonna be too big a discussion to have with the punter who comes through the door looking for a new piece of kit. It's almost too big to have with people who appreciate all its dimensions.

The big example of my hangup is with vinyl records. A lot of people love the sound of vinyl records. I get it, it's definitely a real 'sound', a frequency contour they've become attracted to over time. But it's definitely not accurate. The louder a song is, the shorter a record must be as the grooves are wider and deeper. To fit the signal on you have to throw away a bunch of the bass and the highest frequencies, and compress it. Plus records get scratched and worn out. So I like what CDs represent - the possibility of not compromising the sound of the recording. But most artists don't exploit that possibility, and so CDs have ended up sounding worse than records, and the romantic vinyl people have mostly won the argument.

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