Xbox One running US 60Hz refresh rate causes severe “jittering” for UK TV watchers

 Xbox One
Xbox One multimedia features plagued by ‘juddering’ TV pictures in the UK. Photograph: Gus Ruelas/Reuters

Xbox One owners in the UK trying to watch TV through their new consoles are seeing juddering picture problems bad enough that some are calling it “unwatchable”.

One of the most heavily advertised features of Microsoft’s next generation console, the media passthrough abilities means that TV and video signals from other set-top boxes provided by Sky, Virgin and Freeview TV services can be fed through the console to the television – thus removing the need to switch inputs when going from gaming to TV viewing.

But UK owners who have got their hands on the new device say they have problems. “It’s really bad on sport. Unwatchable. Perhaps the reason no Sky support at launch? Disappointed,” complained a user called Damatris on the official Xbox user forums.

Defaulting to the US television standard

The cause appears to be the difference in refresh rates between UK and US TV sets and services. In the UK, the TV broadcast standard is 50Hz, or 50 frames per second (FPS), which most television set top boxes including Sky, Virgin and Freeview services output. In the US, the standard is 60Hz or 60FPS, and by default the Xbox One is set to the US, not UK standard.

“Assuming the reports are true, this represents a significant issue Microsoft has to address,” Richard Leadbetter of visual testing company Digital Foundry told Eurogamer. “Displaying 50Hz video at 60Hz means that every sixth frame will be a duplicate, resulting in noticeable judder on a lot of material – scrolling text on news channels, fast pans in TV and movies, and the left to right sweep of the camera in football matches.”

Microsoft said that it is aware of the issue, but did not have a comment at the time of publication.

No easy solutions

Leadbetter said that there are no easy solutions to the difference between 50 and 60Hz, and that altering a 50Hz picture to match a 60Hz refresh rate would likely have a detrimental impact on image quality. It is unknown how Microsoft is going to deal with the issue.

A work around has been discovered by a HDTVtest user and verified by gaming site CVG, which involves tricking the Xbox One into outputting video at 50Hz rather than 60Hz. However, this forces the console to use 50Hz all the time – which could cause issues for games that should be played and output at 60Hz.

“This is a major disappointment as the Xbox’s main selling point is its TV / media capabilities, but the reality is it’s broken and doesn’t work,” complained Potty Monster.



Vlambeer suffers E3 theft

Ridiculous Fishing dev a victim of crime at trade show


Vlambeer, the developer behind Ridiculous Fishing and Super Crate Box, lost a significant amount of hardware and the code for its new title Luftrauser after the items were stolen at E3.

“Basically everything Vlambeer is in the bag,” co-founder Rami Ismail told Polygon.

“So it kind of feels like Vlambeer got stolen. We have good backups. We take good care of everything, We’ve got decent backups to continue working. It’s just a giant pain.”

Polygon also reported a theft, and local authorities told Ismail that E3 attendees were at risk.

“When I said a bag with hardware was stolen they said, ‘Are you down for the convention?’ Apparently, there had been quite a few reports about stuff that was stolen. They actually mentioned that it was likely people had been targeting people that were at the convention.”

The items that were stolen included a laptop, iPads, a Vita and a Vita test kit, and a Kindle Fire. Polygon lost a camera. Despite the reports, the ESA said the incidents this year had been “minimal.”

“Our security team and attendees did an excellent job in securing valuables on-site. There were minimal occurrences this year and we appreciate everyone’s vigilance in following common sense procedures.”


Japanese Vita price drop pushes it above Wii U in sales

Japanese Vita price drop pushes it above Wii U in sales

The latest Japanese retail chart shows a Vita given a much-needed new lease of retail life by some stores pre-empting tomorrow’s official price cut, pushing it above a Wii U hampered by a stuttering release schedule.

Vita sold a total of 11,456 units in the week between February 18-24, 2013 with Wii U just behind on 9,633. However, both were trounced by the rampant 3DS, which clocked a total of 74,729 sales. PS3 took second place with 18,529, according to the retail figures from Media Create.

The Vita has now sold 1.2 million units in the territory, compared to 10.6 million 3DS and 790,000 Wii U. Vita’s sales are likely to jump again next week as the price cut becomes official and spreads to all retailers, but without a significant injection to its software catalogue, seems very unlikely to trouble the 3DS.

A look at those software sales reveals the cause of the 3DS’ success, showing a total of 11 3DS games in the top 20 chart, including perennial favourites Dragon Quest, Mario, Monster Hunter and Animal Crossing. Despite that dominance, it is the PS3’s Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which tops out the chart, selling 308,681 copies in its opening week.



Schwarzenegger Returns as Conan

Arnold Schwarzenegger will return to the big screen playing his classic role of Conan the Barbarian, reports Deadline. Universal, who has world rights on the film has waited until the actors second term as Governor of California concluded in 2011 before furthering the project.

“The Legend of Conan” will be produced by Fredrik Malmberg, of Paradox Entertainment who holds the rights to Conan and Chris Morgan, the Universal-based writer and producer who worked on the “Fast and The Furious” series.

‘The Goverrnator’ made his acting debut in 1982 as Conan the Barbarian, sparking his career, which was amplified shortly thereafter with his starring role in the Terminator series.

The Legend of Conan, which will feature the aged Nordic warrior nearing the end of his life and is slated for 2014.