This was the email I sent to NOA on the matter:
I will not buy a console that is going to be a dead end, period. It's bad enough that the Revolution is planned to not support the impending broadcast standard in the United States. What's worse is the bad publicity it will generate. It will kill the Revolution before it launches.
Every relevant argument given in favor of excluding HD output only applies to not making HD mandatory for developers. Not making HD mandatory is acceptable. Excluding HD entirely is not.
The GameCube supports 480p. At bare minimum, the Revolution should offer support of at least one 16:9 format. It's 50% more pixels per second to push than 480p, but it would look better than any 4:3 format on an HD television. Even better would be if the Rev supported 1080i like the XBox. Best would be support for 1080p, but I won't hold my breath.
Considering that Nintendo is working with ATI, a PC graphics chip manufacturer, and graphics chips are designed to run computer displays at resolutions in excess of 1280 by 1024, a resolution with 26% more pixels than 1080i, I would expect no less from Nintendo's next console. Consider this graphics card:
by ATI. It has 32MB of video RAM and is based on 3 year old technology. In the manufacturer's specifications, it states:
" -Crisp and clear 32-bit 3D resolutions up to 1900 x 1200"
Given that the Rev should have more video RAM than that, it should be able to perform better than that. Now, I understand that there are issues of frame rate and effects to consider but 1080i, which is less than half of the pixels, is perfectly reasonable.
My Real Name
Proud owner of every Nintendo console ever made, but having serious doubts about the Revolution and Nintendo's future.
This was the canned response:
Thanks for letting us know how you feel. We appreciate you giving us your feedback and we will be forwarding it on to the appropriate people for review.
There will be more details released about the Revolution in the future so stay tuned to www.nintendo.com for more information. We are confident that gamers and non-gamers alike will support our focus on fun, innovation, and affordability. Once you have a chance to play games on the Revolution, we think you will!
Nintendo of America Inc.
Nintendo's home page: http://www.nintendo.com/
Power Line (Automated Product Info): (425) 885-7529
For those not initiated, here is how to calculate the number of pixels a card has to push per frame:
4:3 aspect ratio - square the height (in pixels) then multiply by 4/3
16:9 (all HD) - square the height then multiply by 16/9
all others: multiply height by width
if interlaced - divide by 2
For comparison's sake, I'm going to list some common resolutions and their total pixels along with a percentage increase over the previous size.
480i: 153600 (N/A)
480p: 307200 (100%)
720i: 460800 (50%)
1024 X 768: 786432 (70.7%) <- Very common, not high res at all, computer monitor resolution (I don't know if they make monitors with a lower native resolution than this any more)
720p: 921600 (17.2%)
1080i: 1036800 (12.5%)
1280 X 1024: 1310720 (26.4%) <- Another common monitor resolution
1080p: 2073600 (58.2%)
1900 X 1200: 2280000 (10.0%) <- Resolution mentioned in the specs for a Radeon 7000 GPU with 32 MB of VRAM (ie dirt cheap and old as the hills).
Now, consider the ATI Mobility Radeon X800 XT
benchmarks at the link. Remember that this is a mobility product so they should be able to squeeze it in to the Rev's small form factor.
To summarize the results, I'll list the games that make the cut (about 60 fps or more) and those that don't to give you some idea of the graphic quality you could expect on a screen this size at full frame rate.
Game List: Doom 3, Far Cry, Half Life 2, Splinter Cell: CT, UT 2004
1280 X 1024, full effects: + = Half Life 2, Far Cry
ditto, no effects: + = Doom 3, Far Cry, Half Life 2, Splinter Cell
1680 X 1050 (17.6% more pixels to get 1080p), full effects: + = Half Life 2
ditto, no effects: + = Half Life 2, Far Cry, Doom 3 (almost)
So, if Nintendo doesn't support more than 1080i, it should be able to do just fine.
This also isn't about developers, because then Nintendo would only have to make HD support optional. There are only two reasons I can come up with to make this decision:
1 - save a few cents on every console manufactured, assuming Nintendo will save more than the profits from the lost console and game sales.
2 - Nintendo doesn't want to look bad for not supporting HD with its in house software.
Bottom line: if Nintendo supports 1080i I'll be happy, if Nintendo supports 720i I'll grumble but accept it, but if Nintendo doesn't support HD at all I say screw Nintendo.