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Future proofing: Xbox One to support 3D and 4K content

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Xbox One
Xbox One

The Xbox One is a next-generation console, and as such, it's built with some future proofing in mind. It can do things you're not quite ready for just yet, such as play back 4K resolution games, movies, and TV. And it'll support 3D visuals too, despite the fact that 3D in the home has yet to catch in any meaningful way when it comes to TV, movies, or games. Microsoft noted that the new console would support 4K at the Xbox One launch event on Monday, but 3D support was kept under wraps until Xbox spokesman Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb mentioned it in a Wednesday Yahoo chat session.

The Xbox One's predecessor, the Xbox 360, supported up to 1080p video output — considered full HD. But almost no Xbox 360 games offered true 1080p graphics. Most games only supported 720p resolution that could be upscaled to 1080p. Ultra HD, as 4K is also known as, promises about four times the resolution of a 1080p video source. But making the jump to 4K gaming or even 4K home video won't be happening anytime soon, especially considering that most media hasn't hit 1080p yet. Most HD television channels top out at 720p as well. Another problem: 4K files are massive. A 4K movie is currently a download of about 100GB.

4K and 3D support is here, but will the games and video show up?

Making this all the more out of reach at this time is the fact that 4K TVs are almost completely absent from Amazon or your local Best Buy, and if you do find one to buy, it'll cost you tens-of-thousands of dollars. The Xbox One's top rival, the Sony PlayStation 4, will support 4K video but not 4K games — which can be seen as a testament to how unlikely 4K gaming will be over the next decade or so that these respective consoles are being sold. Still, whenever — if ever — the world dives into 4K and 3D video, the Xbox One will be ready. And if that never pans out, you likely won't even notice.