Xbox 360 Dashboard Update Brings Video Playback Issues

If you have been enjoying the new video apps that came with the Xbox 360’s recent dashboard update, but feel like your videos seem to have lost their sparkle, you are not alone. Eurogamer responded to the concerns by running histograms comparing RGB levels in screenshots of videos playing on pre- and post-update Xbox 360s and found that after applying the Metro-infused dashboard update Xbox 360 video playback suffers from a limited RGB range output. The result is a washed out image that is also more prone to revealing compression artifacts in dark images. The good news for gamers is that the issue appears to be limited to video playback and does not affect gameplay image quality. I don’t personally watch a lot of video content on my Xbox, but I am curious whether anyone else had picked up on this issue?

The new dashboard forces video content to be run at “limited range RGB levels,” versus “full range” RGB as the console previously did. The end result is a washed out look that has many videophiles quite unhappy.


  • As a workaround, you can

    As a workaround, you can temporarily change your “Reference levels” to “Expanded” while playing video content.  (You’ll need to switch back for media center or games.)


  • I know I saw some other color

    I know I saw some other color options that I did not notice before, just as Auto, Source, RGB, YCbCr709, or YCbCr601

  • So if your primary use of the

    So if your primary use of the xbox is MediaCenter for HD TV playback, and you have a 720p plasma with an HDMI cable, how should it be set now?

    Display at 720p, Reference Levels to Expanded, and stick it on Auto/Source/RGB/bt709/609?


  • From a little more digging in

    From a little more digging in some different forums and sites, switching to expanded for video playback will help, but there are lot of reports of crushed blacks if your TV does not support expanded RGB. However, the bigger issue is that switching from app to dashboard to player will evidently reset the output to the limited RGB output regardless of your reference level settings. This isn’t the first time that MS has had these kinds of issues with the 360. The whole reason that many people run on Expanded all of the time is because of a color issue that arose with DVD playback back when the HD-DVD add-on came out that was never fully resolved.