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Two weeks, 12 dramas. The most controversial console generation yet?

PlayStation 4 on Twitch TV: Shotgun, strips, and bans

Horse head on TwitchTV

When canny gamers realized they could use PlayStation 4’s live-streaming capabilities, along with the pack-in title PlayRoom, to broadcast themselves on Twitch.tv, things started off innocently enough.

One of the first streams was an epic call-in show hosted by a wonderfully photogenic couple from Washington. It got over 200,000 views in its first night.

There’s always someone who spoils nice things for the rest of us, though, and what followed made for a different kind of viewing.

Gaming forum NeoGAF paid close attention to the variety of nongaming content that suddenly exploded on Twitch. Reports came in of people wearing horse heads, folks carrying shotguns, a guy just streaming his cats, and many streams featuring breasts being flashed.

Twitch user Darckobra took the award for most inappropriate content, however. He spent his Twitch time drinking heavily with his partner before she passed out on the couch. Darckobra then proceeded to expose her breast to the camera for about 15 minutes. The camera went off for a while, and when the stream returned, she was naked, still unconscious in front of the PS4 camera.

Twitch.tv initially responded to this spate of inappropriate streams by banning individual accounts.

The company has since removed Playroom from its gaming directory, telling Game Informer, “We removed Playroom content from the directory because a majority of it was nongaming related. We will look into adding it back as PS4 owners become more familiar with the games-only focus of Twitch content.”


Kotaku’s PlayStation 4 HDMI problem

PlayStation 4 rear image

Above: A rear view of the PlayStation 4

Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Shortly before launch, gaming website Kotaku had a problem with one of its PS4 retail consoles. The HDMI cable wouldn’t fully connect, and the console wasn’t outputting a signal.

Something seemed seriously awry, and editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo included details of the problem in his PS4 hardware review, noting, “I certainly hope this is a fluke. I’ve asked Sony to share any insights they have into how common this issue has been. They’ve not provided any official reply yet, but a rep did seem surprised when I first told him about it.”

Thankfully, Sony collected the faulty unit and examined it, solving the problem. A small piece of metal at the base of the HDMI port pointed upward, and this had obstructed part of the HDMI connector. In fact, the metal had actually knocked some of the teeth from the HDMI cables that Kotaku had been using to test the unit.

When the Sony engineer pushed the obstructing piece of metal back down with a pin, the machine worked perfectly again.

In a follow-up article, Totilo explained that the problem may have come down to human error on Kotaku’s end, or it may have been a fault with the HMDI port or cable. “Sony doesn’t know. We don’t know,” he said.

Thankfully, this problem sounds like a one-off. But, being extra careful, you’ll want to check that everything is flush before connecting up your PlayStation 4 for the first time.


Xbox One suffers TV juddering problems in Europe

Yusuf Mehdi is chief marketing officer for games at Microsoft.

It’s easy to speculate that Microsoft created the Xbox One with the U.S. market primarily in mind. Full TV integration, a cornerstone of the Xbox One’s vision, has only a vague 2014 roll-out date for the U.K.

Worse still, running basic, live TV through the Xbox One is causing problems in both the U.K. and Europe, with the broadcast picture noticeably juddering.

Review site HDTVtest first noted the problem, which is due to the different TV broadcasting systems used in the U.S. and Europe.

The native frame rate of the Xbox One is 60Hz, but the U.K. and European TV uses a 50Hz broadcasting system. As a result, the Xbox One is taking a 50Hz signal and outputting it at a forced 60Hz. Richard Leadbetter, a game technology specialist from Digital Foundry, explained to Eurogamer that “every sixth frame will be a duplicate, resulting in noticeable judder on a lot of material — scrolling text on news channels, fast pans in TV and movies, and the left to right sweep of the camera in football matches.”

There is a workaround for this issue, which involves tricking the Xbox One into thinking your TV isn’t compatible with a 60Hz signal, thus forcing it to output in 50Hz.

To do this, you must set your Xbox One to autodetect HDMI from the display settings menu. Toggle the resolution from 1080p to 720p (or vice versa), and select “No” when asked if you want to keep the new resolution.

Unfortunately, this workaround means that games will then output at 50Hz, meaning they may stutter instead.

For now, switching forcibly between a 60Hz and 50Hz signal seems the only way to make sure that both TV and gaming outputs run smoothly in Europe. It’s a long way from Microsoft’s vision of having one box that seamlessly does everything.

Microsoft has not made any official comment on this issue yet.

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