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Gaming consoles have radically changed over the last thirty years, well beyond the obvious improvements in graphics, interface, and player connectivity. Sony and Microsoft’s last iterations – the PS3 and Xbox 360 – shattered the mold of traditional consoles and gave users more functionality (think: playing Blu-rays or streaming on-demand video). Almost one year ago, Microsoft announced its next gen gaming console, the Xbox One, and one thing became quickly obvious: Microsoft wants the One to enter homes and become a media hub. One of the more interesting revelations came with the announcement that Microsoft had inked a partnership deal with the most powerful sports brand in the United States: The NFL. Those three letters have driven Direct TV and its exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket to great heights, so one can assume Microsoft is looking to throw a lasso around the NFL and ride it to greener pastures.


Recently, CED Magazine released some enticing details about this partnership including plans for Microsoft to stream NFL games at 60 frames per second through Xbox One systems. This frame rate is essentially twice as fast as what we all see now, leaving current cable and satellite companies spinning, and will be offered via Xbox’s NFL App through a partnership with a company called Neulion. This partnering company specializes in providing live and on-demand content to devices connected to the internet (Neulion's relationship with Microsoft isn't exclusive, Sony is also a client with support for both the PS3 and PS4).

The fast motion associated with sports, especially a popular sport like football, has long been the subject of analysis when it comes to viewers (just look at how LCD display manufacturers have advertised faster refresh rates to sports fans over the years); it’s a simple fact that sports fans want the crispest, like-you’re-there-in-person, experiences possible. The Xbox One is capable of bringing fans one step closer to “being there” because of an advanced, on-board, video-card; it’s one of the first stand-alone units with this capability putting Microsoft well ahead of the game (no pun intended).

Neulion is the engine behind this entire venture, charged with handling the encoding and transcoding needed to stream NFL content to Xbox One owners. The company says its cloud-based service is capable of providing seven different tiers of streaming profiles, ranging from 60 frames per second in 720p resolution (about 6 Mbps) at the high end to resolutions that one might expect in worst case conditions (less than stand-def, 464X264) at 30 frames per second. Neulion says that the performance viewers will experience is entirely dependent on available bandwidth, and that viewers won’t experience buffering when using a tier suited to their connection speed.

With all the fervor about 4K televisions and our lust for 1080p content, it might be hard to understand why a 720p image at 60 frames per second is worth a second look. But CED says that sports networks like ESPN say that they’d choose high frame rates over resolution, any time, any place. Surprised? The truth probably lies somewhere in between. A high definition image at 720p will probably provide more than enough resolution for the vast majority of users, while the doubled frame rate is simply a cherry on top. Assuming the televised games will be Thursday Night match-ups that are broadcast on the NFL Network, there shouldn’t be any local black-out issues. Although, this new Xbox feature would become even more enticing if it allowed users to buy a season ticket for one team for the duration of a season. Hint...hint!

Source:www.cedmagazine.com
Image Credit: new.xbox.com
 

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There's the small difference between the Xbox ONE and the PS4/PS3 that owners of the ONE will need to pay for Xbox Gold Live membership to have full access to the app unless they change there policy !!!
 

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This sounds awesome though when i read 720p I was less exciting that I was at first. Curious what this might cost.
 

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60fps is pretty cool but I'm just wondering what you'd rather have on a >100" projection screen - 720p @60fps or 1080p w/30fps.
 

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60fps is pretty cool but I'm just wondering what you'd rather have on a >100" projection screen - 720p @60fps or 1080p w/30fps.
Great question. 720p at a normal viewing distance on a 50-inch display (10ft?) would be acceptable. But a 100" screen? No way. I'd take resolution over frame rate with anything larger than acceptable...of course if you're sitting 20-25 feet away from that 100-inch screen, that might change my answer..;)
 

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How would 60fps compare with OTA HD?
 
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