HDMI on Xbox 360? Nope


Xbox 360I have a coworker who seems to manufacture rumours out of thin air.

“Did you know that Robert is leaving?” this person says.
“Really? I didn’t know that! How’d you know?” I say.
“Oh, no. I don’t know. I’m just asking.”
“Huh?”

It seems to be that way when it comes to hot new stuff like the PS3 and Xbox 360. This time I’m talking about a little tidbit Joystiq (a very enjoyable site) picked up on the other day.

Here’s the original quote:

The Xbox 360 was hooked up to a Samsung DLP rear projection TV via component video. It’s a shame that it wasn’t connected via HDMI, but the Microsoft representative assured me that the 360 can output over HDMI, but that there isn’t a cable available at present. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether this turns out to be true or not.

Let me translate the italicized portion into real-world-speak:

The Xbox 360 was hooked up to a Samsung DLP rear projection TV via component video. It’s a shame that it wasn’t connected via HDMI, which the Xbox 360 doesn’t support nor did Microsoft ever claim such support, so it would be really weird if it really was connected by HMDI, but I wished for it anyway. But the Microsoft representative assured me that the 360 can output over HDMI, but that there isn’t a cable available at present. This cable, I guess, would have to be a custom cable. Because there are standard HDMI cables already available for use with standard HDMI connectors. But Microsoft would have to have some kind of component-to-HDMI cable which converts an analog component video signal into a digital HDMI one. I guess this would involve some kind of active circuitry, so you’d have to power this cable by plugging it into the wall. This is kinda like the circuitry in the upconverting receiver JVC recently announced, but in a cable. I guess that’s what this cable would have to do because HDMI isn’t supported by the Xbox 360. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether this turns out to be true or not.

So there you have it. How do you like my translation?

BTW, if Microsoft ever does add an HD-DVD player to the Xbox 360, that would be the time Microsoft would add an HDMI output. They don’t really have any incentive to do so before then. Component video outputs work fine for HD. Even 720p or 1080i.

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Written by: Blackstaffer - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Rj on August 30th, 2005

    How does the xbox 360 “not support” an hdmi cable?

    theres no technological reason why they can’t make one, only that they haven’t.

    your interpretation is pretty odd in that respect. I agree that its not really necessary, but some people want end to end digital audio and video, and i’m sure they’d disagree.

    they *could release an HDMI cable at any time, afaik.

  2. #2 by Rj on August 30th, 2005

    or is the 360 only capable of outputting an analog signal?

  3. #3 by Steve on August 30th, 2005

    So I take it you are making the claim that the video circuitry inside the X360 is analog and therefore no point in having a DVI/HDMI ouput? That makes complete sense from a cost perspective… My only problem with using component input on my HD tv is that I don’t have the same image control and management over an analog signal as I do over a digital input :(

  4. #4 by Henning on August 30th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    The Xbox 360 supports analog HD out over the component output. And analog HD out over the VGA output. It does not inherently support HDMI, a digital format. You would need more than just a converting cable to go from analog to digital. You’d need active electronics as well.

  5. #5 by Henning on August 30th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    Steve: I find what you say a little strange. I’m no expert, but I always thought that HDTV’s provide more image control and management for analog inputs than digital, because it is assumed that digital doesn’t need such management. I should try using my HDTV’s digital input and see how that changes things.

  6. #6 by expletive on November 11th, 2005

    Great news, Pelican just told me on the phone that they DO have an HDMI cable for the Xbox 360 and it will be on sale after the 360 launches. The gentleman i spoke to was in the QA/QC department and he said he had one right in front of him. It will also have an optical out.

  7. #7 by Henning on November 11th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    The optical out I believe, but I have to say I’ll believe the HDMI when I see it. The Xbox 360 doesn’t have an HDMI or DVI output!

    For example, this listing says that Pelican has an HDMI cable for the Xbox 360. But looking at the product, it’s clearly a component video cable, not HDMI. And when you zoom in on the product, it even says so on the box! Plus the thing is called an “HDMI component” cable. Well, which is it? As it turns out, not HDMI. False advertising.

  8. #8 by expletive on November 11th, 2005

    YOu can call pelican yourself. Their number is on their website:

    http://www.pelicanacc.com/pelican_contact.htm

    Hit number 4 for a list of departments and go to the sales department. That guy will send you to PJ in the testing department who has the cable there in front of him for testing.

    Websites often use pictures of ‘similar’ components for products that are not available yet and only available for pre-order.

    Also, there are several websites selling the cable, Bestbuy, Amazon, J and R, they all say HDMI and have a description of an HDMI cable. Youre saying its likely they are ALL making the same mistake by accidentally listing a component cable as an HDMI cable?

  9. #9 by Henning on November 11th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    Yup, that’s what I’m saying.

    Could be wrong… we’ll see.

    The Xbox 360 only has analog outputs. To convert to HDMI, you’d need an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). It would have to take the analog signal and convert it to digital in realtime. That’s not going to happen in a cable.

  10. #10 by expletive on November 11th, 2005

    Where is this level of detail on the 360 components to which youre drawing this conclusion?

  11. #11 by Henning on November 11th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    I’ve seen it in lots of places. Here’s one.

  12. #12 by expletive on November 11th, 2005

    Q. Will there be an HDMI/DVI connection on the Xbox 360?
    A. No, not at launch. Microsoft has said that they will provide one “when it makes sense.”

    Is THAT what youre basing your “The Xbox 360 only has analog outputs. To convert to HDMI, you’d need an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). It would have to take the analog signal and convert it to digital in realtime. That’s not going to happen in a cable. ” comment on? Are you serious?

    I’ll help you out even more, here’s an interview with Todd Holdahl, the MS guy in charge of the hardware:

    All those connections (composite, component, s-video and VGA) have one thing in common: they carry the video signal in an analog format. What about digital connections such DVI or HDMI? Will there be A/V packs with DVI and/or HDMI connections? If not, will you consider offering that in the future?

    Todd Holmdahl: Xbox 360 will support HD component video output, which is compatible with nearly every HD-ready TV on the market today. We’re poised to hit the sweet spot of the HD market at launch and as the market matures, and we will provide an HDMI for our customers when it makes sense. The reality is, you don’t need HDMI for HD gaming.

    Ok so lets see, we’ve got:
    1. several large prominent retailers pre-selling xbox 360 HDMI cables
    2. a microsoft rep quoting that the thing could support HDMI
    3. the manufacturer of the cable confirming the existence of said HDMI cable
    4. no sources that confirm the 360 cannot output HDMI

    I’m still not saying 100% this thing exists, but i have yet to see someone point out information that says the 360 is not capable of outputting via an HDMI cable.

    And youre holding fast to youre ‘the 360 cant output HDMI’ stance?

  13. #13 by Henning on November 11th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    Read up in the interview a bit:

    What type of video connections will the Xbox 360 support right out of the box? What other options will be available?

    Todd Holmdahl: Out of the box (North America), we will support component video (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i) and composite video (all worldwide variations). Aftermarket AV cables will add support for S-video, enhanced SCART RGB, and VGA.

    Here’s the link. Where is HDMI listed?

    When Mr. Holmdahl says that they will “provide an HDMI for our customers when it makes sense” he means that an actual change to the hardware will be required. Otherwise, the aftermarket would take care of it, and Microsoft wouldn’t need to add support, would they?

    I’m not convincing you. You’re not convincing me. Why don’t we just wait a month, see what happens, and then talk about it again?

  14. #14 by expletive on November 11th, 2005

    Fair enough!

  15. #15 by expletive on November 11th, 2005

    Though i do think “will provide HDMI for our customers when it makes sense” could mean “it will require an a hardware upgrade” just as easily “when everyone who has an HD set buys a component cable so then we can gouge them for another $40 for an HDMI”

    :)

  16. #16 by Henning on November 11th, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    :)

    Could.

    But when he explicitly mentions the aftermarket, the kinds of connections they will provide, and doesn’t say they can do HDMI…

  17. #17 by mike on November 23rd, 2005

    “They don’t really have any incentive to do so before then. Component video outputs work fine for HD. Even 720p or 1080i”

    no incentive?? are you kidding me? how about having the best gaming picture ever? hows that for incentive? component works fine yes, but why spend 400 on a game system to get fine. I want outstanding. besides 720p looks better than 1080i and 1080p is the best (which apparently 360 doesnt display).

    from an engineering standpoint, why wouldnt it support HDMI? that is the best way to transmit pure digital video from source to display a next generation system should support the next generation connections. that is what video games are a pure digital source. kind of like using an upconversion dvd player for a live action dvd versus using say “the incredibles” the difference in picture in the live action is minimal even over HDMI but WOW on “the incredibles” amazing difference.

    MS would be stupid to not support HDMI, it isnt that much more $$ for the cable and it would be a great improvement for HD gaming.

    also, what percentage of 360s are getting plugged into HDTVs anyway? I would bet less than 25%. and how many of those TVs are plasmas the best option besides a tube for gaming? even less. most of them will probably be plugged into either a projection HDTV like LCD (nasty for gaming) or DLP (better but still projection) or a low quality LCD flat panel where the picture cannot even be appreciated.

  18. #18 by Henning on November 23rd, 2005 [ 0 Points ]

    Yes, the Xbox 360 is inherently digital and therefore he best connection would be HDMI.

    But my point is still valid. Microsoft would have to include extra circuitry to support HDMI output, raising the price of the Xbox 360. As well, the majority of gamers will probably only hook up their sets to SD (standard definition) displays. So the extra expense would be wasted for many buyers. Microsoft doesn’t think the expense is worth it. Apparantly Sony does. :)

  19. #19 by Matty matt matt on December 18th, 2005

    Explitive, your an idiot.

    Henning is right. Just like a record player or a cd player. If you have a record player, and use an optical cable…. it’s still analogue due to the player…. likewise if you use a cd player and use an rca cable… it is then analogue due to the cable.
    And with a digital to audio ADAPTOR style cable, it will only transfer at the LOWEST level of clarity.
    As fast as the slowest man, Ya know? It dosent matter that it can FIT your hdmi input on your tv. Analogue tv’s also have component input’s….. so they are capeble of hd?….. NOPE!! It is a COMPONENT cable that will FIT your hdmi input. There is absolutely no resolution benifit to this. You need a dedicated DIGITAL out directly from the 360, provided it could even provide that, with an hdmi out right there at the digital source.
    I love it when people are passionate about thigs they just don’t quite get……. they always seem to yell the loudest.

  20. #20 by B1GTED on April 30th, 2007

    Well said Matty Matt! You couldn’t be more correct!

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