Microsoft Launches its £450 Xbox One X what developers tag as the “world’s most powerful console”.
The Xbox One X runs on the same accessories and games as its predecessor, but with hugely improved power, providing unprecedented audio and 4K visual capabilities. More power hasn’t led to an increase in the size of the minimalist-style console, which is roughly the same size as the Xbox One S.
It’s also quiet. It uses a vapour chamber cooling system so that the console produces a soft hum even when playing games such as Gears of War 4 in 4K. The console features a new HDD for faster loading times, three USB slots, and the standard optical, IR Blaster and HDMI ports.
Microsoft has also announced that it will bring the HDMI 2.1 feature called ALLM, or ‘Auto Low Latency Mode’ to Xbox One. This will enable supported TVs to automatically switch to game mode when you start playing a game on your Xbox One S and One X.
– “Xbox One will also begin supporting Auto Low Latency Mode on supported TVs later in 2018, including select models from Samsung. Auto Low Latency Mode will recognize when a game is being played and automatically switch your TV to a low-latency mode,“ Microsoft said.
This will happen only when starting a game. Xbox One S and One X will not force your TV into game mode when you watch Netflix or UHD Bu-ray.
ALLM is one of the less talked about features of HDMI 2.1 but it is one that will encourage TV manufacturers to step up their work on game modes. At CES 2018, the HDMI Forum confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that TV manufacturers can add certain features of HDMI 2.1 to existing devices via firmware updates. That is exactly what is going on here.
HDMI 2.1 is still in its infancy with no new devices certified yet as being fully compliant but apparently, the Xbox One X is inherently capable of delivering some of the HDMI 2.1 goodies such as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) as was demonstrated during Computex 2018. These features will be enabled via a firmware update to the Xbox One X and will work with compatible TV sets. The best part is that the console itself does not require a re-certification for enabling these features.
There are a few things to be noted from this demonstration. Firstly, the existing 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 devices can be made HDMI 2.1 ‘capable’ if they support one or more HDMI 2.1 specs. There are currently no 100% HDMI 2.1 certified devices in the market as the full 2.1 test spec itself is not available but that should change in 2019. Microsoft’s ex-Head of Marketing for Xbox, Albert Penello, also recently tweeted that the Xbox One X need not undergo a full re-certification as long as the hardware supports one or more HDMI 2.1 features. Secondly, you need a compatible TV to realize these features as the hardware ‘talks’ to the TV to identify which features need to be turned on. While the chances of older TVs getting firmware updates are slim, newer models designed with the HDMI 2.1 spec in mind should be capable of supporting at least some of the features of the new spec.