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Dean asks: What makes HDMI so great?


Journalist for the Mercury News and all around Xbox guru, Dean Takahashi, recently raised an important question. The question: who really needs HDMI? Of course, Takahashi is referring to the Xbox 360 Elite and its inclusion of an HDMI interface. Who better to answer the question than Kasey Holman, senior director of Corporate Marketing, HDMI Licensing, LLC. She couldn't be biased at all, right? Obvious sarcasm aside, Holman made the following arguments for the greatness of HDMI.
  1. HDMI provides the best video quality as there are no loss conversions involved, unlike component. The all digital signal will create sharper pictures without the ghosting or softness found through component. Smaller, high contrast details like text display this most prominently.
  2. HDMI provides superior digital audio (it supports up to 8 channels at 192kHz, uncompressed).
  3. HDMI is the future standard of High Definition content. Within a few years, content producers may activate a usage restraint token that won't allow High Definition playback over unprotected interfaces (i.e. component).
  4. Through an HDMI connection, the Xbox 360 will automatically detect the best settings for each television to which it is connected. In other words, users will no longer have to manually adjust resolutions and aspect ratios. These adjustments will be mad automatically according to the TV's specifications.
  5. HDMI sends both audio and video through the same cable, eliminating the need for separate cables. Of course, users of optical audio will beg to differ, but it does simplify things like System Link play.
There you have it, 5 reasons HDMI owns component. Anyone out there picking up the Elite solely for HDMI?

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Reader Comments (Page 1 of 3)

Roger Rees1

3-28-2007 @ 5:10PM

Roger Rees said...

My TV only has two digital input (one HDMI and one DVI), so I'd have to put either my HD Tivo (not gonna happen) or my DVD player on component if I wanted to move the 360 to a digital input. Actually, now that I think about it, I really don't need the stand alone DVD player thanks to the awesomeness of the Harmony remote.

But I don't need the digital output on the 360 right now. In a few years, maybe. And my TV only supports 720p and 1080i, so I would have "full-HD" anyway.

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razer2

3-28-2007 @ 5:17PM

razer said...

You will still have 360 fanboys denying any of this is real. #3 could bite all the ones with old out-dated 360 when that is enabled. Maybe MS knows something else and isn't telling us?

I really wanted HDMI from the start, but the way the 360 is turning out I'm going to stick with my PS3 for my HD media and have my 360 for games. But I will be recommeding the PS3 for any of my friends considering purchasing a console. The games will come for Sony here soon.

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zourskittles3

3-28-2007 @ 5:21PM

zourskittles said...

I dont care to much for picture perfect pictures and sounds, as long as stuff is nice looking.

Also, did anyone realize just yesterday everyone was complaing about live being down, now some complain about various things about the Elite? Im sure some serious game addicts are pissed off over hearing all this bad news.

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David4

3-28-2007 @ 5:25PM

David said...

yes indeed.

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David5

3-28-2007 @ 5:26PM

David said...

---There you have it, 5 reasons HDMI owns component. Anyone out there picking up the Elite solely for HDMI?---

Ummmm... no.

HDMI is useless today. Component is cheaper as long as one doesn't listen to the stupid, commissioned sales peeople who want to sell 'top quality' cables for a hundred or more dollars.

The only reason for HDMI is to support the potential for more copy protection which does nothing for content providers or users of the content.

Component is cheaper and offers the same quality and resolutions.

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ShaleX6

3-28-2007 @ 5:29PM

ShaleX said...

Okay, 1 is BS, 2 is not used in games, 3 is the real reason... They want to shoeorn the DRM that Microsoft is getting shit about on Vista. HDCP is evil... HDMI is barely about quality and all about DRM!

I do not support HDCP and therefore do not support HDMI. It's anti-consumer in every way. It's a $15 cable that is sold in retail outlets for $50 or more.

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Michael Zoran7

3-28-2007 @ 5:32PM

Michael Zoran said...

The HDMI vs Component thing doesn't really matter.

Just look at the way the Game Informer magazine compared NBA Street: Homecourt on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, both games running at 1080p resolution. In the comparison, the Xbox 360 version used the high-definition Component cable included with the system, while the Playstation 3 version used the HDMI cable that needs to be purchased separately.

The Xbox 360 version still had better looking lighting, and sharper quality images. The same can be said in their comparison of the game F.E.A.R. that issue, which was released MONTHS earlier for the Xbox 360!!!

The thing that upsets me, and seems 100% unncessary is that the new 120GB hard drive is $179.

I would have thought for sure that Microsoft would have used a strategy similar to what they did with the memory cards--where the newer 512MB memory card takes over the price of the older 64MB one, and the older one receives a price drop.

I thought we should see the new 120GB hard drive for either $99 or $129, and the older 20GB hard drive reduced to $49 or $69.

If Microsoft needs to have those pricepoints in place using the current .90nm technology, then I believe they would delay the production of the Elite version until the .65nm technology production process is available later in the year, which will allow the price to be lowered.

C'mon...$179 is WAAAAY too high.

I realize the hard drive isn't even necessary for gaming, and 20GB is certainly FAR more than enough for ANY type of Xbox Live Arcade games, but it really would have been nice to pick up a large hard drive like the 120GB version for a decent price. That way, a lot more high-definition TV shows could all be saved on my Xbox 360 hard drive for a low cost.

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DeadPlasmaCell8

3-28-2007 @ 5:50PM

DeadPlasmaCell said...

#6: "It's a $15 cable that is sold in retail outlets for $50 or more."

It's still a $15 cable if you have some common sense.. who pays $50 for a cable! I got my HDMI cable @ Target for under $15.

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Mark9

3-28-2007 @ 5:54PM

Mark said...

ShaleX did a good job on 1-3.

Point #5 doesn't seem to factor that you'll have a receiver to go to and will need another cable. Oh, are we talking about people who only use their TVs crappy speakers? Well, then they won't care about point 1... or 2.

Point #4: Thanks, I'll spend $480 to save myself that few seconds of setting these things. Which I already did and it's working fine. Oh, maybe the next TV I buy I'll be able to save the 20 seconds it takes to select widescreen and 1080i or 720p in the xbox menu.

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Ciaran Gallagher10

3-28-2007 @ 5:56PM

Ciaran Gallagher said...

Yeah you're right the hard disk is very very expensive.

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Mep11

3-28-2007 @ 6:04PM

Mep said...

Basically, I don't need HDMI atm. I'm just really pissed about Microsoft including HDMI in the elite. This is a new feature that I can't upgrade to without purchasing a whole new system. Here I was thinking that the whole point with different SKUs were the same box with different accessories. And that you could buy said accessories at a later date if you wanted to. It's just that this is the first time a feature of a more expensive SKU is non-upgradable for the others (or atleast for the early adopters). It should have been built in from the start goddamnit.

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SuicideNinja12

3-28-2007 @ 6:17PM

SuicideNinja said...

I run a PS3 on HDMI and a 360 on component on the same TV. There is no noticeable difference visually. However, if you put the PS3 on component, it looks awful. The HD-DVD attachment doesn't require HDMI, so it's difficult to understand all the whining from both fanboy camps is about "needing" HDMI.

I'm just going to go VGA for the 1080p...which is also over-rated. But since I have it, I'll use it.

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Gaurav13

3-28-2007 @ 6:39PM

Gaurav said...

its on my list of reasons but deffiniatly not my top one, my tv only supports up to 1080i or 720p as is what was tested in the 360 1080p blanked the screen

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ChiTownRuler2314

3-28-2007 @ 6:50PM

ChiTownRuler23 said...

wtf happend to we dont need hdmi

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AoE15

3-28-2007 @ 7:06PM

AoE said...

@ChiTownRuler23,

I don't need hdmi :) Big tv does 1080i, little one does 720p; and I like my audio to be optical direct to the receiver... so hdmi = meh.

Granted, if/when I buy a 1080p TV my tune will change. I wonder how many gamers, regardless of console, have 1080p TVs?

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DjDATZ16

3-28-2007 @ 7:16PM

DjDATZ said...

that pic is not of the 360 elite. that is a spray-painted 360. (notice the drive doesnt have a chrome finish?)

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Don Wilson17

3-28-2007 @ 7:26PM

Don Wilson said...

Do NOT buy a high quality HDMI cable. As Leo Laporte said, HDMI is an all-digital signal, so either it's all there, or it isn't. Quality doesn't matter when purchasing an HDMI cable.

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Rususeruru18

3-28-2007 @ 7:28PM

Rususeruru said...

I'm not biting. 20GB is currently MORE THAN ENOUGH storage for my game saves... I hate anything that enhances DRM. And really don't think it's worth that much money... think about how many games I could buy with that dough (or beer)! As for the PS3 it seems like every screen shot I've seen is washed out so I'm still going to pass besides Sony is losing the majority of it's exclusive titles so why bother?... No one mention [email protected], I run it on my PC.

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Sonic_Extreme19

3-28-2007 @ 8:13PM

Sonic_Extreme said...

No one NEEDS HDMI like SUicide pointed. He has both HDMI and Component machines and he can't tell the big difference. I just added HDMI to my motorola hd dvr to see, and I have a 720p tv. Yes i think edges on cars are bit better and the chrome is a bit shinier. But nothing that I can say dammmm HDMI is the shitznit. I actually wanted to returned my HDMI cable because I didnt think it was worth a 69$ I paid for. The only thing I like HDMI for is that you can have both audio and video in one cable while giving you HD. Compare to Component which have 5 cables. Always remember this also. Profesional plasmas series use BNC connectors. Guess how old is BNC? SO in theory I say the reason companies want to push digital connection is for controlling piracy. Not because old analog connections cant do 1080p.

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h0mi20

3-28-2007 @ 8:32PM

h0mi said...

"You will still have 360 fanboys denying any of this is real. #3 could bite all the ones with old out-dated 360 when that is enabled. Maybe MS knows something else and isn't telling us?"

ICT won't be activated until 2010 at the earliest. And Like I said in the original elite thread, HDMI is only necessary if:

1- ICT is active
2- You "need" an HDMI connector for ... whatever reason. Because your tv doesnt do 1080p over component, you want to do the audio thing the OP mentioned (I have my xbox connected to my tv's shitty speakers right now so I don't care about 5:1 or any of that crap right now anyway). I'd want HDMI because I have too many component devices.

Point that is pro HDMI- Upscale DVDs. Can't do this in Component (but you can via vga).

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