Resolution, reference levels and HDMI color space.

I've spent the last few days trying to get the best picture out of my Xbox 360 with my TV. I've read loads of stuff and fiddled with various settings etc and now my head is ready to explode with confusion.

My TV is a Sony Bravia KDL-40W4500, which is a 1080p set. I'm connecting to it via HDMI and no matter what settings i have the reference levels/HDMI color space on i either get crushed blacks or a totally washed out look. I did find a solution where i could switch the reference levels to standard and put it on RGB and that was ok but somehow i thought the picture didn't look as rich. The TV has no black level setting i could find just something called colour space which was either standard or wide. The only difference it made as far as i could tell when i switched it to wide was to saturate the colours more.

Then i decided to disable display discovery and suddenly i had the option of selecting various PC resolutions. The highest one i could set it to was 1360x768. I switched the reference levels to expanded and left it on RGB and now i don't have the problems with crushed blacks or looking washed out. I'm wondering though, given that the TV is 1080p am i losing any significant picture quality by running my Xbox 360 at 1360x768 resolution instead of at 1080p? Would the other 2 resolutions available be any better/worse? They are 1024x768 and 1280x1024.


Discussion Info

Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 12 Applies to:

If your TV does not have a black level setting, Then it expects 16-235 coming in while using Standard reference levels on the 360 to produce accurate 0-255 mapping with the TV providing the Highest and lowest levels instead of the 360.


Setting your TV to one of those "PC" 1366x768 named resolutions puts your TV and ANY HDMI compliant TV into "PC" mode. So by using a PC resolution on your Xbox 360, you set your TV to expect 0-255 content and that's when you can use the Expanded reference level on your 360 to let your 360 produce those highest and lowest levels to reduce INPUT DELAY (which is what you shoot for when gaming).


Now here's the catch. I basically tested all this past weekend, that anything higher than 720p (1080i too) will cause internal input delay due to upscaling. Many say it does not, but i have switched back and forth, rebooting the console by turning on and off Display Discovery and switching from 720p to 1080p back and forth all weekend and I have found that Display Discovery ON/Enabled with 720p set for games (use 1080p if you use Xbox video/Zune marketplace HD streaming since its the only service to offer 1080p on the Xbox 360) provides the least amount of input lag.


Any TV today is probably better at upscaling than the almost 8 year-old Xbox 360. My 32" budget LG 32LD450 does MUCH better than the 360 in my case. But for gaming, most displays i recommend are from Samsung or LG. They are the ones known for most features for price and the way to FORCE "PC" mode (renaming input label) so even at 720p, you can get your TV to expect 0-255 while sending an ATSC-defined broadcast signal.


In your case, keep your Xbox 360 at RGB/Standard, and use 720p. If you want, you could try the 1280x768 since its only a small upscale from the native 720p, but for the least confusion when calibrating, leave it at 720p.


I know on Sony's that if you have a picture mode called "Graphics (Graphics Custom?)" then use that and set your screen size or something aspect similar to Full Pixel +1.

Forgot to add (can't edit my previous post) that you should use Wide on your TV for color space and if your getting crushed blacks on RGB/Standard, you need to raise your brightness on the TV and ingame accordingly.


Reference Levels and HDMI Color Space Settings


This page of the master thread for answers similar questions explains more of what i stated above in detail.