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Gaming on different screens

Discussion in 'Console Games & Hardware' started by Boogle, 4 Mar 2006.

  1. Boogle

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 4,505

    Location: GREAT Britain

    I've been doing some testing, and thought I would share my findings with you. All of this topic is very subjective, and if you have any thoughts (either agreeing or disagreeing) please post away. Its always interesting to find out what people prefer.

    Anyway, back on the topic at hand. The test subjects:

    Xbox 360 & Xbox. Console shouldn't matter to that significant of a degree.

    Panasonic 32" HDTV with all the trimmings. 1366x768 native res (iirc).
    Connected via component for X360, RGB SCART for Xbox.

    Dell 2001FP
    Connected via VGA for X360, S-Video for Xbox.

    InFocus LCD Projector with native res of 800x600.
    Connected via VGA for X360, S-Video for Xbox.

    The projector certainly displayed the largest image of all the screens ;) Largest I tested with was 80", smallest around 50". Since it was a relatively low-end projector the colours were incorrect and the contrast fairly poor - I did not take these factors into account during testing. The projector was most useful when mates are around for some split-screen gaming on the sofa. Games on such a large screen with mates are great, and tbh colours & contrast ratios barely made a difference. However, I found the screen too large, it was difficult to take everything in at once, too look at the HUD you had to almost move your head to get a clear view. I ran the Xbox 360 at a resolution of 1024x768, this resulted in a moderately clear image that worked with all games. S-Video input on the projector was exceedingly poor and seems to be poor across multiple InFocus projectors. Ghost Recon 2 worked much better on the projector than my monitor, however I didn't test the game on the TV. Being able to see enemies in the distance easier (due to their larger size) was very helpful.

    The Dell 2001FP is my main monitor, and it has numerous scaling options allowing for the testing of the X360's in-built scaling. I ran at a resolution of 1024x768 and 1280x720 (720p). 1024x768 seems to be rendered as a HD resolution internally in the Xbox, then scaled down. Let me tell you - the X360 can't scale that well. I set the monitor to display 1:1 pixel mapping, resulting in a fairly small image in the centre of the screen - the image was far too soft, the scaling seems to either put a blur filter over the image (similiar to nVidia's Quincunx antialiasing - 2xQ in the control panel), or its just not scaling that well. This would be why the image from the projector was fairly soft (hence why I mentioned 'moderately good image'). Aspect scaling on the monitor worked well and not much image quality was lost which surprised me, I was expecting something much worse. I have a very comfortable chair at my desk which means I found it really comfortable swinging back and using the wireless controller to control the characters on my monitor. The image from the Xbox was adequate, S-Video clearly limiting the quality of the signal to start with. The monitor had many controls for cleaning up the image, and like all good screens, saved all the colour/brightness/contrast/etc. settings for the S-Video input only. I would highly recommend only using RGB SCART as a baseline for any input from any console tbh.

    The 32" Panasonic HDTV is hands down the best way to enjoy the X360, and the original Xbox. The image was exceptional, even the original Xbox appeared to have a fairly high resolution image (its 640x480 in actuality). You must use RGB SCART however, to get this sort of image. Component leads can be imported from Japan if you want even better quality, and reportidly they do work well. The screen was also just about the right size for gaming, I wouldn't want it any bigger, thats for sure. Would I want it smaller? Probably not. I didn't find any difference in quality between 720p and 1080i, and I didn't notice the scaling which surprised me. I was expecting to notice typical scaling artefacts (softened image, extra aliasing, dodgy antialiasing) in both 720p and 1080i - yet I picked up on neither. I was also expecting blurring at 1080i, however again I didn't notice any problems. I ran in 720p just in case though, so no extensive testing of 1080i - sorry.

    The end result of all of this? The best screen imo for console gaming, is a 32" HDTV with a full range of high quality inputs. I would also like to mention that strong colour and a high contrast ratio (probably colour first) is very important. Sometimes I found it hard to pick out certain details, and the details practically jumped out of the screen on the TV. My monitor displayed a more accurate image, most assuredly, but the Panasonic TV displayed a more vibrant image.

    Oh for TV / Films, the projector beats them all easily ;) No matter which way you cut it, an 80" image with surround sound feels like the cinema without the annoying kids and the munching going on all over the place.

    I would like to hear from some people who have a Dell 2405FPW. Is the image sharp like running native res from your PC, or is it slightly blurred? Reason I ask is I value a super-sharp image over all else.

    Will probably right this up in a more formal article format and post snipergecko's the-reviewer site :)
     
  2. gord

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2003

    Posts: 19,336

    Location: Midlands

    Good stuff!.. thanks!
     
  3. Thesnipergecko

    Soldato

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 7,246

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    Excellent mate. Are you signed up on the-reviewer? whats your username? ill promote your account to Reviewer so you can submit your review.

    Paul ...
     
  4. Boogle

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 4,505

    Location: GREAT Britain

    Already have access thanks ;) I've got a first draft written. Does the site support HTML code, or is it stripped out?
     
  5. Thesnipergecko

    Soldato

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 7,246

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    Yeah i guessed at your account ;) you can use BB code for Bold, Italics, Underline etc etc.

    Any HTML will be stripped out.

    Also just added a 360 harware section. :)

    Paul ...
     
  6. Sagalout

    Soldato

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 5,670

    Location: Harrogate

    I've also played on a few different types of screen. I have got that much time to type but in summary:

    JVC 28" Interiart CRT:
    I only had the core default lead (ie composite) to test this on but this was my display for the first few weeks of my x360 experience. Initial thoughts were "wow!" as I did my first few laps on PGR3. Anyone saying that X360 and a normal CRT looks the same as xbox 1 is talking rubbish. A half decent CRT still looks great, and COD2 looked very very cinematic. Some of the scenes could easily have been mistaken for saving private ryan on DVD.

    + Cinematic quality to images
    + Excellent colour reproduction
    + Absolutely no jaggies in any game
    - Slightly soft image (re above)
    - Poor brightness/contrast in a brightly lit room

    Unfortunately the set went bang just before xmas, leading down the inevitable upgrade path to.....

    Dell 26" LCD TV W2600.
    Had this connected via VGA and never suffered any of the colour washout many others have reported. Colours where extremely vibrant and the image displayed was pin sharp. Seemed to do a decent job of hiding jaggies in PGR3 as well compared to some HDTV screenshots I've seen. There is a downside to all this image quality though - everything suddenly looked like a computer game! Whereas COD2 on the CRT looked cinematic, suddenly it looked just like a PC - you could make out textures that didnt quite fit, see the pixels in the smoke grenades and other effects, and the colours just looked too exagerated. It looked like what it was - a high quality game. In some games this was a distinct advantage, for example Kameo looked stunning.

    + Extra detail shines in certain games, eg Kameo
    + Vibrant colours
    + Excellent contrast when viewing in well lit rooms - ie when sun is streaming through the windows!
    - Poor colour reproduction
    - Some games ran slower (NFSMW consistently, COD2 and PGR3 occassionally)
    - Games looked like games rather than cinematic feel.
    - Screen size a bit too small (I sit 8ft from the screen)

    The reason I sent the LCD back was because I couldnt live with LCD for Sky+ and DVD playback. The ghosting was unacceptable with analogue material and as that all we'll have for a few years yet (dont get me started on Sky HD service lol) I decided it wasnt for me, so I got...

    Haier 42" SD Plasma
    Ah, now we're talking :D. For me this had the best of both worlds, but I'll stick mostly to the 360. OK, one of the reasons I switched back to SD was partly accidental. I was playing with settings on the xbox whilst I had the LCD and put it into 848 x 480 res to try to get NFSMW to run smoother. I forgot to change it back and I didn't actually notice for 2 days. Then I started having a really good look to see the difference. In games like kameo the difference between SD and HD is quite noticeable, but in NFSMW and PGR3 it was only apparent during the title screens, wher ethe text was a fair bit sharper in HD. The blurring effects used extensively by both games rendered the pixel count meaningless. Thats the reason I decided to switch back to SD (ie I could get a 42" SD set for the same price as a 26" HD set). The plasma is a really nice way to play games. The screen is big, but not to the levels mentioned by boogle - ie you can take the whole image in without moving your head. Colour reproduction is superb - somewhere between the CRT and LCD - colours are more vibrant than CRT but tonal range seems much deeper than LCD leading back to that cinematic feel. Jaggies are none existant, which was a suprise - I was expecting a 480p resolution at 42" to be more jaggy than the 720P at 26" but thats not the case at all. Cant really explain it - images look pin sharp but anti aliased. PGR3 looks truly stunning as does COD2. Its true that Kameo loses some image quality though. I think its fair to say that SD is fine when you want things to look real, after all DVDs look pretty damned good at 480P, but when a game is supposed to look like a game thats when HD makes a difference. For me I dont really play that sort of game much so I'll go for the cinematic look every time.

    + Colour reproduction
    + Sharp image
    + BIG screen
    + Cinematic feel to image quality
    + Some instances of better frame rates, eg NFSMW
    - Loses some detail compared to HD LCD on games, especially those that are suppose to look like games
    - contrast not as good when sun is streaming into the room
    - I think it uses a lot of electricity!

    Summary

    Overall I'm a happier gamer with the SD plasma. If I could afford it I'd go for a 42" hidef plasma, as that would be the best of all worlds I feel, but I'm going to see how HDTV pans out in the next year or so. Because of the distance I sit from the TV (8ft) I'm finding the big 42" screen really adds a lot to games. PGR3 got a lot easier to see upcoming corners, and sniping in COD2 was much more enjoyable!

    It does come down to personal taste and useage though. If you like the "larger than life" colour saturation of LCD then go for it, similar if you can live with its SD performance (or maybe its only for playing x360). Also, dont be in a rush to ditch your CRT if its decent - I'd still be using mine if it hadnt broken - the 360 still looks fantastic on it, and colour reproduction in realistic games beats both the LCD and Plasma.
     
    Last edited: 4 Mar 2006
  7. VIRII

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 24 Jul 2003

    Posts: 30,259

    A quick note regarding the original Xbox output:

    PAL Xboxes were limited to low def output and can not take advantage of the higher resolutions via component cables.
    However the limitation seems to be software based and through modification (i believe softmods work too) it is possible to re-enable the 720p etc output but you will need the component cables to do this.

    The last piece of the jigsaw is that not many xbox games run 720p most run 480p.

    I have 2 xboxes that have high def output enabled, I don't think it makes a huge amount of difference with the games that I have got.

    As for the screen size I have a 50 inch HD DLPRPTV but sit a good 14' away and find this size pretty good. If anything I would like a larger screen but don't think the wife will be too keen on the expense just now.
     
  8. Boogle

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 4,505

    Location: GREAT Britain

    Get a projector ;) The InFocus Screenplay 5000 is HiDef, with DVI-HDCP/Component for £666. Have yet to see a bad review, so probably worth checking out.
     
  9. VIRII

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    Joined: 24 Jul 2003

    Posts: 30,259

    I'll check it our, I was thinking closer to the £2k mark but if I don't need to spend that much ten I won't. Do you have an electric or manual screen?
    Right now every penny I spend on toys eats into the total time that my wife will be able to take on maternity leave so I am a good 18 months away from getting a projector. I only got the 50" in December with the cash from my hemel fire photos. I did not know she was pregnant at the time.
     
  10. punky_munky

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,964

    Wow, lucky streak! You got to see a massive fire, got paid for it, got a massive tele and you have a baby on the way. Nice one.
     
  11. VIRII

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    Joined: 24 Jul 2003

    Posts: 30,259

    I got a 2500 bonus from normal work as well :p
     
  12. dirtydog

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    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

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    Location: Essex

    :D

    I believe that people who have made such a comment, have been referring to a comparison between the SAME GAME on both consoles. I don't think it is too controversial to suggest that some games won't look THAT MUCH better on the 360, on a standard definition television :)

    Using PGR3 to prove your point is moot in other words as there's nothing like that on the Xbox :p
     
  13. Sagalout

    Soldato

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 5,670

    Location: Harrogate

    Wasnt a dig at you mate - in fact I agree with a lot of your posts. I'm saying proper next gen titles PGR3, COD2 - which is next gen compared to the big red one and from what I've seen of it GRAW are defined by more than their resolution. Its the effects, reflections, animations, anti-aliasing (where used!) etc that give an immersive feel which supercedes xbox1, and you get all of this on a CRT or other SD panel, and whilst HD in some game types enhance it further, theres no doubt that a 360 is a huge visual treat on any screen.

    The 360 also gives a real visual boost to the (few!) xbox1 games that work on it. I bought splinter cell chaos theory the other day and played in on xbox 1 then the 360 and the AA applied by the 360 makes a huge difference (especially on a 42" screen)
     
  14. dirtydog

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    Fair enough, I did wonder if you might have been thinking about me when you made that comment ;) :)
     
  15. dannyjo22

    Caporegime

    Joined: 9 May 2005

    Posts: 30,802

    Location: Cambridge

    I'm very happy with my 2405 through component. Its atleast as good as the 23 inch samsung that is used in the display booths. I hope to get a 23 inch sammy for the bedroom and when i get chance will do some comparison shotss.

    Although I'm sure that the 2405 isnt close to your 32 inch panny I like the fact I dont have to prise the remote from the wife's hands to play ;) and I can just flip the input souce between my pc and 360 when waiting or downloading demo's.