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Need help preparing for Xbox360, please.

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs Forum' started by Steven Jackson, Sep 25, 2005.

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  1. Steven Jackson

    Steven Jackson
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    Hi,

    I've been reading around these forums for a while now, but this is my first post. There's a lot I don't understand (yet) around here, so please excuse my ignorance.

    Any help would be much appreciated...

    I want to buy a display that will let me play games in widescreen and high-definition on an Xbox360 AND ALSO use my mac-mini (not at the same time, obviously). I don't want to be pulling plugs in and out to swap between the two systems, so it's going to need more than one input -- the highest quality of which I would like to give to the Xbox360. Built-in speakers would be a bonus, but by no means a deal-breaker.

    I don't want to watch TV on it (HD or otherwise), I don't want to plug in a DVD player or any other input.

    So...I was thinking that a simple flatscreen LCD monitor would be best for me. I found out (I think) that I needed a 1280x720 display. But then the doubts started to set in. I read about stretching; I started to worry about what would happen to all the extra unused lines if I bought a 1280x768 monitor; I wondered whether I would still be able to play in widescreen if I bought a 4:3 display; I became, in a word, confused...

    Can anyone help out. Just to reiterate, I need a monitor (or TV) for my Mac that can also let me play XBox360 games in hi-def. I don't really care about size -- small is fine as price is important, I'm afraid.

    Thanks in advance,

    Steve.
     
  2. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    Well, you didn't mention what price you're thinking, but it sounds like Samsung's latest screens (LE__R41B) are ideal for you.

    23" is around £500
    26" around £600
    32" around £900

    For starters, these are the screens that Microsoft is using to show off all its Xbox 360 games. :)

    You'll plug in your 360 with the included component cables (I assume you're not going to buy the crippled "core" system) and will be able to run in 720p.

    As for the Mac mini; connect it up to the screen with a VGA cable and it should auto-detect the 1360x768 resolution automatically for 1:1 pixel mapping. (or if your cable isn't too good, you'll have to use DisplayConfigX (about £7) to force it to run in that resolution)

    With progressive sources there isn't a hint of motion blur on the screens, and the image is fantastic.

    As for resolutions; even if your screen is running 1280x720 (which is only available on LCDs that are two or more generations old, and unsuitable for gaming) you will not get 1:1 pixel mapping, as they will be using overscan. (effectively stretching the image beyond the physical boundaries of the screen)

    Most LCDs run 1366x768 now, and there is no real loss of quality between that and a 1280x720 panel. Trust me, it looks stunning. The reason you have 1366x768, to the best of my knowledge, is so that the screens can accept 1024x768 which is a very standard PC resolution. This means that you can play older 4:3 games etc without any scaling. (although I realise that's pretty much a non-issue for you with the Mac)

    As for playing on a 4:3 screen, it depends on how Xbox 360 does things. The current Xbox has a "letterbox" option, but it doesn't seem to be used in any games, so you effectively get the sides chopped off the image. 360 probably has a letterboxed option for all games, but I can't confirm it. You definitely won't get the best out of the system this way though, as the 720p resolution can only be widescreen.

    It's not 360, but here's a couple of game shots on my set. (32")

    Project Gotham Racing 2 - Xbox, 480p Widescreen
    [​IMG]

    Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike - Xbox, 480p 4:3
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Steven Jackson

    Steven Jackson
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    Thanks for the response, Andrew. Very helpful post. I have actually been looking at the Samsung screens you suggest, and I am tempted -- the 23 inch would probably be the most suitable for my needs, but the HDMI connector on the 26 inch probably makes it a better buy.

    I can't actually see from your screen shots -- do you have any letterboxing at all on the widescreen or 4:3 games, or are they slightly stretched to use the full vertical height of the screen? Obviously the 4:3 game has black space to the right and left of the image, but how about on the widescreen game -- again, is it stretched to fill the full horizontal width of the screen?

    If games are stretched like this, is it noticable at all? I have a few friends with widescreen TVs and they actually watch 4:3 broadcasts stretched to fill the screen. They don't seem to notice anything wrong, but the effect drives me absolutely mad -- there's no way I could put up with that on my own set. Obviously, the XBox360 games will be widescreen anyway, so the effect would be reduced, but would it still be noticable?

    Also, as you seem to be quite knowledgable about these Samsung sets, would you say that they are reasonably future-proof, as far as HD is concerned?

    One more thing, do you think you could post one more screen-shot, with the lights on so that I can get a rough idea of how big this thins is? Which size do you have?

    Thanks very much for all the info.

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  4. Solomon Grundy

    Solomon Grundy
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    a few other threads have suggested that Hi Def isn't that relevant on a 23" screen...I plumped for the 26" Samsung...it's beautiful! Can't wait for the 360 now!!!
     
  5. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    If you mean stretching as in not having a 1" border all round (1280x720 displayed on 1366x768) then yes they're "stretched" - you wouldn't know by looking at it though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and an older pic of my setup before I had tidied it up (has the most things for comparison)

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure if the 23" has HDMI or not, some places say it does, others say it doesn't. If it doesn't then it won't be as future proof as the 26" or bigger screens.
     
  6. Steven Jackson

    Steven Jackson
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    Decadence,

    Any chance you could post a picture, so I can see how big it is?

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  7. Steven Jackson

    Steven Jackson
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    Thanks again, Andrew. That's the 32" you've got there, right?

    I think I've just found my new TV.

    Anyone know where the best deals are?

    Steve.
     
  8. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    Yeah, it's the 32" I've got. (almost as much visible as a 36" CRT)

    I'm not sure on the best deals, but I ordered from EmpireDirect. Glad I could help. :)
     
  9. WoodWorker

    WoodWorker
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    Hi Andy,
    Could you let me know what amount of cables run to your Samsung. I'm ordering the 40" and want to channel out the wall to mount it but i'm unsure what size to channel out?
     
  10. Raze

    Raze
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    andrewfee - pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease post more pics :) :thumbsup:

     
  11. Steven Jackson

    Steven Jackson
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    Just an update. I eventually got the Samsung LE26R41B and it's very nice indeed. Now if only I didn't have to wait until December to et my hands on an Xbox 360...

    Cheers!

    Steve.
     

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