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Face-Offs Go High Def

It's been a long and arduous process, but I finally feel as though the Eurogamer Xbox 360 versus PlayStation 3 features have matured. The next article in the series is set to include superb quality HD video in addition to the usual embedded streams.

Way back when, I decided not to bother with streaming comparisons at all, despite the videos being weirdly popular. The videos elsewhere on the net were low resolution, plagued with artifacting and told you next to nothing about whatever differences there may have been. With the advent of h264 video compression, the quality bar was raised enough for us to do the games justice via streaming video, by using 1:1 pixel mapping on a cropped area of the screen. Combined with running game video at 25 or 50 per cent, image clarity is retained.

So how to handle HD? Tons more pixels, and less than double the bandwidth available for our embedded videos make for an intriguing problem. The solution is to retain the slow motion video, but remove the crop, meaning that the full 720p resolution of the games in question is preserved, along with the image quality.

You know what they say about the proof of the pudding, so here's a rushed edit I’ve put together based on Resident Evil 5 comparison footage I found lurking on my hard disk. The full-screen button is recommended as the default Eurogamer TV window size in HD mode is a downscaled 960x540. This super-sampling down to a lower resolution usually helps out in masking macroblocking, but with video as pristine as this, it’s not required, and you’ll actually be missing out on spades of detail.

Roll on Face-Off 20!

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About the Author
Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.