System-wide video bug.

    • Level   5

    Hey folks, I'd like to bring something to everyone's attention. While I was at my nephew's house setting up his internet connection so that he can game online I stumbled onto a significant bug in this latest Dashboard.

    I encourage all of you folks with either a HDMI or Component connection to try this out. Seeing as this bug is a system wide-bug, affecting every single Xbox system in existence, it is a cause for concern. In a more technical term, this is relating to a Reference Level error.

    Below are two screenshots to demonstrate the bug. No matter what Reference Levels are set on the Xbox 360, the brightness levels are always reset, either after a game or when powering up. The default setting is the brighter one "Standard" and the darker one is the "Expanded" setting. The console constantly switches between these two when a video source is played, and then back again if playing a game. This bug also effects gaming as well, although it is intermittent, however.

    Please excuse the quality and all, I used an archaic iPhone to capture them.

    Here's a screenshot of a video that's way too bright, "Standard".
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/856/dsc03040s.jpg/

    Here's the same screenshot that's much darker, "Expanded".
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/88/dsc03041wf.jpg/

    There are other ways of reproducing this bug, but for now I'll just highlight the simpler form in layman's terms.


    *Upon booting up your console, go into Video Player, in My Video Apps, under the 'video' tab.

    *Select and play any video of your choice but take note of the screen's brightness.

    *Now exit the Video Player to get back to the Dashboard, by only pressing the 'B' button.

    *Notice how much darker the screen is now?

    *Now, once you go back into the Video Player again to resume your video you'll notice how much darker the entire video is than compared to before.


    If you've tried the above steps you'd see that it completely messes up the black levels to a degree that picture quality is severely degraded. One is way too bright and another is too dark. The only way of resetting this is to boot up a game or power off and then back on again.

    If you run a gaming forum or have connection to the gaming journalists, please by all means refer them to this link. We need to bring this to Microsoft's attention, Thanks!


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   5

    This was on my nephews console not long after the update was downloaded. As well as that several friends of mine can also reproduce this on their consoles. Pictures taken from my nephews brand new Xbox 360 console, but this issue is wide spread.


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   5

    It's not effecting my console and I use it a great deal for media streaming.

    Mass Effect 3 - MEHEM and Extended Anderson Conversation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmofIH7rN9U.

    • Level   5

    How is your Xbox connected to your TV?


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   5

    HDMI cable I bought from a pound shop. Connected to a Sony Bravia 26" HDTV.

    -

    I use my 360 a lot to watch videos (streamed, DVDs and HD-DVDs). I've been in the preview and I've not noticed the video problem you mention during that either.

    Mass Effect 3 - MEHEM and Extended Anderson Conversation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmofIH7rN9U.

    • Level   5

    Perhaps you're not fully aware of it, or perhaps your TV's brightness settings are way too low. Being too low the discrepancy isn't as noticeable. I do know that this is widespread though.


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   1

    I just went ahead and tested this, I don't see too much of a significant change however I do see the change in brightness.

    -

    Nice job pointing this out.

    • Level   5

    Thanks! I appreciate you taking the initiative to trying this out. I doubt I'm the first to have noticed it though. There are a lot of respectable videophiles on these forums, so I wouldn't be surprised if they've come across this too. I am the loudest one though, that's for sure. =)


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   5

    The brightness on my set is at 50 (out of 100) if that makes any difference.

    Mass Effect 3 - MEHEM and Extended Anderson Conversation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmofIH7rN9U.

    • Level   5

    My TV set as well as my nephew's dad's TV set  are both professionally calibrated. Your brightness levels are set very low, and I can confirm this, I tried it on my TV set at a much lower brightness setting. I didn't get as noticeable a difference as before. This doesn't mean that the bug doesn't exist. It just means you're not aware of it because of your disposition.

    Most people, and indeed, gamers have their TV's set too low because they don't know any better. Try setting your brightness up to around 60 or so and then try to reproduce this bug again. Doing it afresh from power up. I know for certain that this happens on every console, VoteDC.

    You can calibrate your TV set with the basic of settings by doing a search on Google for AVS HD 709. Pick the file that suits your hardware and you should be good to go.

    The "Reference Levels" should not interfere or affect the screen's brightness at all if the "Color Space" on the Xbox 360 is set to YCbCr709 HD (used for High definition videos) and yet it does. This technicality is a massive flaw on Microsoft's part, which means that the HDMI and Component outputs are no longer compliant with HDMI standards / High Definition standards.

    This affects every single console, whether or not they are connected via HDMI or Component. It just means that those who are not connected through these two means are blissfully unaware of it.


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   9

    I never knew you could "professionally" calibrate your television/monitor's settings.

    I just choose what looks best.

    But I guess I do lean towards the brighter and higher contrast end of the spectrum as my eyes can't pick up dark looking things well.

    Watch a Korean Drama.

    • Level   5

    Yeah, it costs and arm and a leg, and they do a host of thing like measure the luminance levels of your TV on a device and calibrate colors using special glasses, to calibrating the grayscales and all. Very technical, almost religious in fact. If you have the money and the tech it's worth it, I suppose.


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   5

    This is a serious issue and it's driving me crazy.

    One reason some people are not seeing this is that the factory settings on most TVs enable variuos contrast boosting features, that always try to push the darkest areas in a picture toward black. While the input video is washed out, this aggressive processing in the TV may obscure it. However, even then the results will be inconsistent.

    And two wrongs don't make a right - even if a lot of people are happy with factory settings and aggressive processing on their TVs - for anyone who has experienced an untarnished picture on a properly set up display, it opens up a whole new world where HD can truly appear HD. Problems like this can ruin that experience completely.

    From my perspective as an enthusiast and videophile since 25 years, it is unacceptable to see a bug like this and unbecoming of a major company like Microsoft, not the least now that they are focusing so much on providing video content. It's the worst possible time this could have happened.

    The irony is stark. When HDMI output was introduced on the Xbox 360 with the first Xbox 360 Elite, it supported only full range RGB. Later, by public demand, they added the color space and reference level options for the very purpose of avoiding issues like this and getting accurate picture reproduction, no matter the setup the Xbox 360 was in. They did the job really well then, and between that and this fall update it all worked as it should.

    Now, in an instant, those very same features have broken the output.

    So before anybody disregards this as a non-issue - turn off all 'enhancements' on your TV, and you should be able to see what's really going on. And remember that the video levles jump all over the place depending on what you're doing on the Xbox 360, so this issue manifests itself in all sorts of ways.

    And if the 'enhancements' on your particular TV mask the issue, remember that two wrongs don't make a right.

    "Thank you for helping us help you help us all." - GLaDOS

    • Level   5

    Excellent points, Zacabeb, chief among them the default aggressive video processing features of Contrast boosting and enhanced Black Levels. This would explain why VoteDC wasn't able to discern the undesirable effects of this cursed bug.


    None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
        

    • Level   5

    My theory on what is happening is that there are separate constants for input level mapping (for handling the source) and output level mapping (for the selected color space and reference levels).

    The output level mapping seems to be working fine, while the input level constants for for video range and full range get swapped around.

    Upon booting the system or a game, or for instance when forcing an exit from the video player app through the guide, it reads the right constants and sets the input levels correctly. But whenever the system is forced to do an on-the-fly change such as within the video player or Zune apps, it reads the wrong constants.

    It could simply be a status bit indicating video or full range input that is set or interpreted wrong by some part of the system software.

    So then it should be an easy job to locate the faulty code and make sure it reads the right constants for each type of input. Maybe one of the easiest bug fixes in history. A "Hello World" level fix.

    Everything points to the cause of the bug being that simple. A single boolean read incorrectly, wreaking havoc with the picture.

    "Thank you for helping us help you help us all." - GLaDOS