50Hz/60Hz Confusion Causing Xbox One TV Features to Judder in UK

By Gerald Lynch on at

Having managed to smooth over the fury of gamers enraged by the Xbox One's initial unveiling (to the sum of more than 1 million of the consoles being sold during its first weekend on sale) Microsoft's next-gen machine has a new problem on its hands. In the UK, its TV features are pretty much broken.

And we're not talking about the lack of the much-touted EPG features, available at launch in the US but not expected to be ready in the UK until some time next year. Instead, it's the  Xbox One's HDMI passthrough feature. When used to hook up a set-top box, it's causing live TV broadcasts to judder uncomfortably, to the point of being "unwatchable" according to some users.

The root of the problem lies with refresh rates. Many UK TV sets and set top boxes output in 50Hz, including Sky, Virgin and Freeview boxes. In the US however, the standard is 60Hz. With a difference in frames being sent between the two machines, the Xbox is compensating by doubling up every sixth frame, leading to the stuttering effect.

It's sure to be a headache for Microsoft -- unless it decides to issue a patch to lock the console at 50Hz across the board, which could potentially bring its own problems. If it decides to lock only the TV features at 50Hz that will almost inevitably cause a delay between the triggering of the app-swapping feature and it being displayed on screen, removing the sense of seamless integration that makes it so attractive in the first place.