Gamespot HD Game trailers- not really HD?

May 3, 2005

Gamespot says, “We’re offering our HD-quality movies exclusively to our GameSpot Complete members, though we’re offering several free samples to give the rest of you a taste of what you’re missing.” Excellent! or so I thought. I don’t have much time for playing games these days but I love to watch trailers and see what the current state of quality is.

I took a look and it appears I’m still missing something. I don’t understand how they can call these “HD”. Sure, they’re WMV files, but they sure aren’t my understanding of HD quality. The first warning sign I saw was the video resolution – 640×360 for the Forza Motorsport sample and 640×480 for the Doom 3 sample.

When we talk about HD- as defined by the ATSC standard, the resolution has to meet a minimum bar of 720p – that’s 720 progressive horizontal lines of video resolution. So why am I downloading a sample that purports to be HD as a part of a sales pitch, but delivers half the resolution of HDTV? Ok, it’s 16:9 aspect content – on a 4:3 display it could be considered 640×480 resolution but that’s still 480p- not HD. Am I missing something?

WMV-HD can handle this no problem and in J Allard’s talk at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year, he made it clear that the next Xbox will “usher in the era of HD gaming and entertainment”. He gave away 1000 Samsung HDTVs. If this was the definition of HD, he could have just given away standard TVs or perhaps EDTVs.

I hope others are calling this to the attention of Gamespot. The technology is there- WMV-HD can do what they’re asking. I hope others are calling their attention to this fact.