360’s Metro Dashboard Washes Out Video

I’ve spent long periods of the weekend watching video streaming on the Xbox 360. I didn’t think I would. I thought the new video streaming features would be superfluous to me. But I got a free trial of Sky Go so I watched four live football matches while working and my wife watched two (dreadful) Christmas-themed films.

We also bought some DVDs from Tesco and those show up in your Blinkbox account (after you link your Clubcard number) so we watched Super 8 through that service’s new Dashboard application.

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I have to admit: I thought the video quality was, on the whole, very good. Certainly, it was better than the LoveFilm application was streaming to my PS3 a few months ago. But it was a little flat, as streaming video almost always is.

Well, it seems like this is actually a bit of a step back for the Xbox 360. Digital Foundry, which is often the best thing on the internet, has posted up an in depth comparison article in which Richard Leadbetter takes a look at video before and after the Metro dashboard update. There is a noticeable greying of blacks and general washed out look to the video on the new dashboard. This is in media playing from the console, not just streaming media.

Perhaps the most alarming thing about this news is that Microsoft knew about it during the beta testing phase – many testers raised the point in their forums. Unfortunately, Microsoft has been deleting those forum posts and still saw fit to release the dashboard update in its current state. Of course, the fact that Microsoft knows about the issue gives us hope that they are working on a fix but we’d still like some sort of official statement other than the asinine message they’re leaving in place of deleted forum threads:

Thanks for the feedback! Though we will not be able to incorporate your feedback into this release we will save it for consideration in future releases. Thanks for using the new Xbox Update and please keep up the feedback!

Not really something that should need “consideration” for future releases, is it? Fixing your borked video playback should be an automatic inclusion, surely?

Source: Digital Foundry

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16 Comments

  1. I can’t tell the difference in those screen shots. This is probably why cheap TVs etc are fine for my use, and scoffed upon by my technology officionardo friends!

    • It is a slight difference but the video on the new dash is a bit paler. Blacks become greys and colours look a bit washed out. Bearable, certainly, but not ideal.

    • I only noticed it after looking at the orange numbers. I can’t spot any difference when comparing the black levels of both screens.

    • Likewise, I can’t see much difference in the blackness of the car or the road, certainly can in the orange of the “187”, and the hillside directly above the car looks faded out on the new dashboard image.

  2. ms ignoring a problem?
    never. O_O

    i guess they can’t blame the users like they could with the hack, are they still denying that by the way?
    so they just ignore the problem and hope people will forget.

    • yeah, they’re still proclaiming that the FIFA hack stuff is phishing. It isn’t. Or at least, it wasn’t a couple of months ago when my account was hacked.
      It might be unfair to say they’re ignoring this though, they are removing forum threads but that’s possible just a move to stop the forums becoming clogged with the same error report. Hopefully they’re hard at work on a title update.

      • well you obviously have more faith in ms than i do.
        but that’s not saying much, it’s like saying you trust bp more than the people living on the coast of the gulf of mexico. o_O

        maybe they are just leaving one thread on the subject, i don’t know as i haven’t been on the forums in months, i use chrome and i can’t view the forums, or anywhere on xbox.com for that matter, i keep getting an error, something about the request header being too long.
        whatever that means.

        anyway, when it comes to this issue, i barely noticed any difference, the old one looks a little darker than the new, but then i’m notoriously unfussy about stuff like that, look at most of those ps3/360 comparison videos and think “what am i supposed to be seeing here?”

    • Microsoft ignore most things. They ignored RROD for years until the eve of a US FTC investigation that highlighted the real extent of the problem forced them to admit there was a problem (it’s a shame, as that investigation would have highlighted the real extent).

      Microsoft ignored the disk scratching problems of the Xbox that continue to this day. Our store has a disk polishing machine to remove scratches. It’s ALWAYS Xbox360 DVD’s. I don’t recall ever seeing a PS3 disk (Blu-Ray has a anti-scratch coating).

      Microsoft are now ignoring this too, deleting forum posts, and pretending it doesn’t exist.

  3. It’s always sad when people can’t see a massive difference in the colour palette, but unfortunately that also explains why so many users don’t bother calibrating their screens and are perfectly happy with crappy streaming video.

  4. I spent a lot of time calibrating each of my TV inputs using calibration media such as DVE, and a while ago I compared quite extensively the video quality difference between my Xbox an PS3 in order to decide which to use for streaming and video watching duties. In every case the PS3 was better, an that was before this Metro update so I dread to think how it looks now :/

    • This has been my experience too, without the proper calibration tools but with a lot of tinkering!
      PS3 just seems better at handling video, with the exception of the awful quality of LoveFilm’s app on there (although, that might be even worse on the 360…)

  5. i agree calibrating your screen and correct speaker setup gives huge results for a small outlay.

  6. I’d like to read something positive about the Metro update from this site. If you ask me, the two niggles raised here over the last few days have been blown out of proportion and the positives (for me) out way (or weigh!? Not sure which one) the negatives.

    • I hate the MetroUI, it’s like a childs buildingblock set dumbed down for idiots.

  7. Im sure its always the PS3 thats get called “washed out” when games go head to head PS3 vs Xbox. Maybe MS were balancing things out :)

  8. I could only tell the difference between the two screenshots with the orange and grey letters and numbers too. However, that may just be due to it being the initial viewing, rather than consistent viewing of the two screenshots.

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