Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing a Panasonic 42-inch plasma high-definition television mated with the new Xbox 360 from Microsoft.
All I can say is “wow.”
Until you’ve watched the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, big-time college basketball and your favorite TV shows (“Surface,” “Smallville,” and “24”) in high definition, you haven’t watched TV. And until you’ve played the new Tiger Woods game in high def via the new Xbox, you haven’t really played video games.
I’m going to be writing a lot here about HD, particularly about what it is and how to get it. It’s amazing technology. But first, let’s myth-bust: to get high definition television, you must have a high definition set.
You may see “presented in high definition” across the bottom of your screen when a program comes on, but rest assured, your old floor model 25-inch can’t show HD. HD is a form of digital television that is so sharp, you can see individual hairs on people’s heads. You can see what fans have on in the stands at a basketball game.
True story: My son, Trey, asked me who were the Jackson 5 last week during a Philly 76er game on ESPN-HD.
“Why are you asking, son,” I said back.
“Because,” he said pointing, “that man behind the basket has a T-shirt with that name on it.”
Like I said, “Wow.”
And gaming on an HD set is amazing. Even the old Xbox looks better in HD. Some games were created to use a different form of digital TV, one that is not HD, but still trumps standard TV.
These “480P” games are created to fill the screens of these new HD sets that have rectangular screens – like a movie screen – instead of the old square jobs we’re used to. So your old NBA 2K5 will look better on an HD set than it does even on your non-HD 50-inch square job in the den right now.
But the new 360 game system is created to play all games in HD, and a new adapter coming this year will allow the system to play the upcoming HD-DVDs, a feature that is going to be included with the new PS3 system, which will set you back $500, or about the same as a modified 360 I’m guessing.
People will pay, though.
Playing video games in HD is almost like playing for the first time. It’ll take you a long time to get over the “I can’t believe this looks so good” thing. The grass in Tiger Woods
But by summer, we’ll get second generation 360 games from folks like EA Sports and Visual Concepts and the like, and given the power of the new 360, I think we’ll see new tricks, too. My guess? HD gaming is going to help video games grab an even bigger share of
Tell me about your HD gaming experience. Click on the comments link below.