• Author arn
  • Posted On2008-12-05 14:49:10
  • News

It had recently come to light that the latest iPhone SDKs have an undocumented class that allows for apps to output its video to Video Out rather than to the screen.

A couple of interesting examples had been produced, but Ars asked Freeverse to modify their Moto Chaser [App Store] game to try using the new feature.

This is the result:

Outputting to video-out resulted in a performance hit, so the TV version of the game can only reach approximately 20 frames per second. The game normally runs at 26 fps on the native screen. Freeverse notes that this was all thrown together in a few hours, so there is room for improvement.

It's not clear if and when Apple might allow developers to officially release Apps using this new functionality.

  • 1337brian

    All I have to say is wow, If they can get the FPS up this will be awesome to have that functionality...

  • 1337brian

    All I have to say is wow, If they can get the FPS up this will be awesome to have that functionality...

  • SalsaMD

    Even beda if it could output to My MacBookAir while i am traveling as well. I could then use the iphone as a controller while watching the computer screen, provided the control of the game didn't restrict your looking up from the phone.

  • SalsaMD

    Even beda if it could output to My MacBookAir while i am traveling as well. I could then use the iphone as a controller while watching the computer screen, provided the control of the game didn't restrict your looking up from the phone.

  • http://plan13movies.de GPSchnyder

    I'd really like that feature. Even better would it be to have both. Imagine a Skate It/Tony Hawks like game on the TV and the iPod shows the Deck and you do the Tricks multitouch...

  • http://plan13movies.de GPSchnyder

    I'd really like that feature. Even better would it be to have both. Imagine a Skate It/Tony Hawks like game on the TV and the iPod shows the Deck and you do the Tricks multitouch...

  • SalsaMD

    @GPS

    I agree that would be the perfect evolution of Touuchgrind to connect you with the third person view like in Skate it/Tony Hawks

  • SalsaMD

    @GPS

    I agree that would be the perfect evolution of Touuchgrind to connect you with the third person view like in Skate it/Tony Hawks

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  • Daeke

    @GPS
    It is possible to have both but currently, in this mode, it is not possible to use the Touch Screen (according to Ars Technica).

    Another way to achieve this would be to simply use the iPhone like a WiFi controller with a Mac/PC game.

  • Daeke

    @GPS
    It is possible to have both but currently, in this mode, it is not possible to use the Touch Screen (according to Ars Technica).

    Another way to achieve this would be to simply use the iPhone like a WiFi controller with a Mac/PC game.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    You can have touch events on the Pod while you output to TV. We just didn't both re-writing our touch code and UI for the demo.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    You can have touch events on the Pod while you output to TV. We just didn't both re-writing our touch code and UI for the demo.

  • Alex

    This has a huge potential for productivity apps as well. If I can have TV out, pair an Apple bluetooth keyboard, and use the iPhone surface as a multi-touch trackpad, I've got a *very* portable system with which I could do actual work.

  • Alex

    This has a huge potential for productivity apps as well. If I can have TV out, pair an Apple bluetooth keyboard, and use the iPhone surface as a multi-touch trackpad, I've got a *very* portable system with which I could do actual work.

  • drunknbass

    keep in mind this is tested on a 2g touch like my tests were.. and the fps i decided was not good enough.. im sure i could have tweaked a little but there is not much you can do to fix fps.. my fps was @ 60 and dropped to @ 15ish when outputted to tv.. so it might be a hardware issue, or something with the opengl..

    id be scared to even test on my 1g touch or iphone.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    Ack, I shouldn't stop typing to answer the phone.

    What I meant to say was:

    "You can have touch events on the iPhone and iPod while you output to TV. We just didn't do both, as it would take a lot of time to re-write our touch code and UI for the demo."

  • drunknbass

    keep in mind this is tested on a 2g touch like my tests were.. and the fps i decided was not good enough.. im sure i could have tweaked a little but there is not much you can do to fix fps.. my fps was @ 60 and dropped to @ 15ish when outputted to tv.. so it might be a hardware issue, or something with the opengl..

    id be scared to even test on my 1g touch or iphone.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    Ack, I shouldn't stop typing to answer the phone.

    What I meant to say was:

    "You can have touch events on the iPhone and iPod while you output to TV. We just didn't do both, as it would take a lot of time to re-write our touch code and UI for the demo."

  • snowy2004

    I certainly hope this ability is expanded upon. Hopefully they'll be able to improve the framerate and have it both the TV screen and the iPhone screen working at the same time.

    An obvious issue with the iPhone / iPod touch as a gaming device is the lack of buttons. In this dual-screen mode, the iPhone could be used simply as a controller (A bit how the Nintendo DS' bottom screen is touch while the top isn't). The iPhone could become a kind of "home-console-light"

    Heck, why stop with games: The Last.fm radio app could have a visualizer function for TV screens and the Joost app could present shows on the TV.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    @drunknbass

    You should try. The bottleneck is the fillrate, so the performance is about the exact same (give or take a few frames) on any device.

  • snowy2004

    I certainly hope this ability is expanded upon. Hopefully they'll be able to improve the framerate and have it both the TV screen and the iPhone screen working at the same time.

    An obvious issue with the iPhone / iPod touch as a gaming device is the lack of buttons. In this dual-screen mode, the iPhone could be used simply as a controller (A bit how the Nintendo DS' bottom screen is touch while the top isn't). The iPhone could become a kind of "home-console-light"

    Heck, why stop with games: The Last.fm radio app could have a visualizer function for TV screens and the Joost app could present shows on the TV.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    @drunknbass

    You should try. The bottleneck is the fillrate, so the performance is about the exact same (give or take a few frames) on any device.

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    It seems like a great feature, but I can see why it's currently undocumented:

    It's a whole new can of worms once it becomes public, and the expectations for it are not (yet) met by the hardware.

    First of all, SD graphics on HD screens without antialiasing tend to look rather coarse these days, and beyond the curiosity value, I don't think many people would get much long-term enjoyment out of this. How many people do you know that use the video output capability of the PSP?

    Another thing is the graphics performance. As mentioned in the article, there's already a performance hit with outputting to TV, yet people would like to see additional graphics displayed on the iPhone screen (like a control diagram). For frame-rate dependent games (racing etc.) this is probably a challenge considering the capabilities of the hardware.

    Still, it's really interesting to see this development. The future is fascinating for the gadget geeks :)

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    It seems like a great feature, but I can see why it's currently undocumented:

    It's a whole new can of worms once it becomes public, and the expectations for it are not (yet) met by the hardware.

    First of all, SD graphics on HD screens without antialiasing tend to look rather coarse these days, and beyond the curiosity value, I don't think many people would get much long-term enjoyment out of this. How many people do you know that use the video output capability of the PSP?

    Another thing is the graphics performance. As mentioned in the article, there's already a performance hit with outputting to TV, yet people would like to see additional graphics displayed on the iPhone screen (like a control diagram). For frame-rate dependent games (racing etc.) this is probably a challenge considering the capabilities of the hardware.

    Still, it's really interesting to see this development. The future is fascinating for the gadget geeks :)

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  • eto

    The thing about the PSP is it has controls and does not require you to have your fingers on the screen while playing the game so it could be usable for some games.

  • eto

    The thing about the PSP is it has controls and does not require you to have your fingers on the screen while playing the game so it could be usable for some games.

  • tosui

    Given Apple's (apparent) lack of interest in producing apps that would make real use of a screen (Remote? Mail?), I think the real value of this will come from the jail-broken apps & devs. They've shown time and time again just what an iPhone is capable of! (How many great apps started jail broken? And how many jail broken apps allow you to do things that Apple doesn't?)

    Time will tell, and it will probably be sweet!

  • tosui

    Given Apple's (apparent) lack of interest in producing apps that would make real use of a screen (Remote? Mail?), I think the real value of this will come from the jail-broken apps & devs. They've shown time and time again just what an iPhone is capable of! (How many great apps started jail broken? And how many jail broken apps allow you to do things that Apple doesn't?)

    Time will tell, and it will probably be sweet!

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    Nothing is jailbroken in this video. It's all legit code, on the legit OS.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    Nothing is jailbroken in this video. It's all legit code, on the legit OS.

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  • MJ

    Can anyone else see Future AppleTV paired with iphone/ipod touch?
    I think it would strengthen both products.

  • MJ

    Can anyone else see Future AppleTV paired with iphone/ipod touch?
    I think it would strengthen both products.

  • ToX

    Can it be used for computerless presentations of Keynote and PowerPoint on videoprojectors?

  • ToX

    Can it be used for computerless presentations of Keynote and PowerPoint on videoprojectors?

  • mek

    or the ability to connect it to a projector, and do a powerpoint type presentation or whatnot..

  • mek

    or the ability to connect it to a projector, and do a powerpoint type presentation or whatnot..

  • mek

    @ ToX
    haha, sawry..totally did not read the last couple of posts
    just got too excited

    I think if it had all these porting capabilities to interact with the appleTV, and used the APpleTV processor to run the app, like Cube, and run it above 30 fps....i would so buy an AppleTV

    seriously..get on this

  • mek

    @ ToX
    haha, sawry..totally did not read the last couple of posts
    just got too excited

    I think if it had all these porting capabilities to interact with the appleTV, and used the APpleTV processor to run the app, like Cube, and run it above 30 fps....i would so buy an AppleTV

    seriously..get on this

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    You absolutely could use this to run a presentation on a project.

    However, you have to code your game/app to work with this. So you won't see the home screen or Safari or Google Maps on the projector. Just your program.

  • http://www.freeverse.com Hippieman

    You absolutely could use this to run a presentation on a project.

    However, you have to code your game/app to work with this. So you won't see the home screen or Safari or Google Maps on the projector. Just your program.

  • drunknbass

    @hippieman do you work at freeverse?
    makes me wonder if its a hardware thing since i was getting 60 fps originally on 2g touch and the tv out was similar fps to yours.. you went from 26 to 20ish and i went from 60 to 15-20 ish.. if so id think running games would be pretty pointless unless youre ok with 15-20 fps and im not :P

  • drunknbass

    @hippieman do you work at freeverse?
    makes me wonder if its a hardware thing since i was getting 60 fps originally on 2g touch and the tv out was similar fps to yours.. you went from 26 to 20ish and i went from 60 to 15-20 ish.. if so id think running games would be pretty pointless unless youre ok with 15-20 fps and im not :P

  • http://plushcafe.com gilman

    Would this make it easier to open an AppleTV Games section for higher quality games, and then use an iPhone or iPod Touch as a controller?

    If the games are not on the iPhone or iPod Touch to start with, would there still be performance issues?

  • http://plushcafe.com gilman

    Would this make it easier to open an AppleTV Games section for higher quality games, and then use an iPhone or iPod Touch as a controller?

    If the games are not on the iPhone or iPod Touch to start with, would there still be performance issues?

  • http://www.nocroc.com Hippieman

    @drunknbass

    Yes I do. I'm a senior producer. The low performance is due to the fill rate on the iPhone, and it attempting to do it to a 640X480 scene.

    If the scene was lowered or the fill rate was improved it would get better. I suspect most things will run at about the 20 frames a sec (give or take).

  • http://www.nocroc.com Hippieman

    @drunknbass

    Yes I do. I'm a senior producer. The low performance is due to the fill rate on the iPhone, and it attempting to do it to a 640X480 scene.

    If the scene was lowered or the fill rate was improved it would get better. I suspect most things will run at about the 20 frames a sec (give or take).

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Hippieman: So the iPhone hardware is doing 640x480 there? Is there a way to force 480x320? I wonder what the hardware's max potential output res is?

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Hippieman: So the iPhone hardware is doing 640x480 there? Is there a way to force 480x320? I wonder what the hardware's max potential output res is?

  • f e a r l e s s

    Sweet! I was looking for a reason to buy those expensive cables from Apple. :)

  • f e a r l e s s

    Sweet! I was looking for a reason to buy those expensive cables from Apple. :)

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  • drunknbass

    "Sweet! I was looking for a reason to buy those expensive cables from Apple."

    i wouldnt use tis as a selling point.. even if gameplay was up to par.. apple can still shut it down as soon as it hits the store.. i actually wanted to enable tv out and not mention it til well after the launch, just so i might slip it by.. but now with all the press i wouldnt count on it.

  • drunknbass

    "Sweet! I was looking for a reason to buy those expensive cables from Apple."

    i wouldnt use tis as a selling point.. even if gameplay was up to par.. apple can still shut it down as soon as it hits the store.. i actually wanted to enable tv out and not mention it til well after the launch, just so i might slip it by.. but now with all the press i wouldnt count on it.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    "if and when Apple might allow developers to officially release Apps using this new functionality."

    I will totally kiss Steve Jobs ass if I can play my iphone apps/games on my Tv!!

    erRrr.. maybe not. Unless he wants me to?

    Ha ha ha!

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    "if and when Apple might allow developers to officially release Apps using this new functionality."

    I will totally kiss Steve Jobs ass if I can play my iphone apps/games on my Tv!!

    erRrr.. maybe not. Unless he wants me to?

    Ha ha ha!

  • Dave95

    I was waiting for something like this. Ever since Jobs were using this at his Keynotes, I thought how cool would it be to apply this to games.

  • Dave95

    I was waiting for something like this. Ever since Jobs were using this at his Keynotes, I thought how cool would it be to apply this to games.

  • JB

    In my opinion, what we're going to see in the next ten years is a wedding of the PDA, desktop computer and home entertainment worlds. As these devices become more and more linked by high speed wireless connections and begin to share more of the processing, screen size and portability will become the main difference between the three. At least from the users perspective.

    What apple needs to remember is that they are only beating blackberry right now because they are getting closer to this goal. The iphone wins for me because the OS is so much closer to the computing experience I am used to. They still have a long way to go though.

    Assuming we will have the bandwidth, why not a touchscreen PDA that simply mirrors your desktop, allowing you the full functionality of your home computer on any iphone or tv?

    You could be out running errands and still be finishing up that Final Cut Pro project or streaming games and movies. Then, you could get to a friend's house and play a few games off of your own desktop computer on his HDTV, using your iPhone as a controller of course. Then bring up your FCP project on his HDTV, watch it once at 2k to make sure it's done and send it off to your client, using the iPhone as a mouse and keypad. Pausing easily to answer phone calls, text or whatever you feel like. It's going to be awesome.

  • JB

    In my opinion, what we're going to see in the next ten years is a wedding of the PDA, desktop computer and home entertainment worlds. As these devices become more and more linked by high speed wireless connections and begin to share more of the processing, screen size and portability will become the main difference between the three. At least from the users perspective.

    What apple needs to remember is that they are only beating blackberry right now because they are getting closer to this goal. The iphone wins for me because the OS is so much closer to the computing experience I am used to. They still have a long way to go though.

    Assuming we will have the bandwidth, why not a touchscreen PDA that simply mirrors your desktop, allowing you the full functionality of your home computer on any iphone or tv?

    You could be out running errands and still be finishing up that Final Cut Pro project or streaming games and movies. Then, you could get to a friend's house and play a few games off of your own desktop computer on his HDTV, using your iPhone as a controller of course. Then bring up your FCP project on his HDTV, watch it once at 2k to make sure it's done and send it off to your client, using the iPhone as a mouse and keypad. Pausing easily to answer phone calls, text or whatever you feel like. It's going to be awesome.

  • http://www.nocroc.com Hippieman

    @Blake Patterson
    I sure hope so. It's not clear yet what the limits are. Until Apple decides to support this feature, it's not going to be much more than hacks and youtube videos. We would LOVE to use it in retail games.

  • http://www.nocroc.com Hippieman

    @Blake Patterson
    I sure hope so. It's not clear yet what the limits are. Until Apple decides to support this feature, it's not going to be much more than hacks and youtube videos. We would LOVE to use it in retail games.

  • spiffyone

    If Apple would just allow this for all app developers that want the ability to output their apps to tv sets, they could in fact kill two birds with one stone. They're trying to market (or rather, re-introduce) iPod touch as a sort of gaming device, right? iPhone is obviously a slightly different animal, but iPod touch is their de facto gaming device. So here's the opportunity to slip into the video game industry a portable/home console hybrid of sorts, echoing back to Sega's failed Nomad (remember that? Too much too soon).

    An iPod touch with TV out, capable of 640 x 480 (iirc, the PowerVR MBX, even the lite version used in the iPod touch is capable of SD and ED output) would basically be another selling point. Why buy a Wii and DS when you can get an iPod touch, which could act as both a portable AND home console and do just about everything DS and Wii both do, for over $150 less? Think about it. Apple could term it go anywhere, game anywhere. There's obviously a market for such a thing, judging by some of the comments here.

    BTW:

    "How many people do you know that use the video output capability of the PSP?"

    Honestly...I think the increase sales for PSP in Japan had quite a bit to do with the addition of TV out. Look over the sales. PSP sales weren't much to write home about in Japan until the Slim&Lite came out, and while it coincided with some better games, I think TV out, in a nation where the market itself is skewing more toward portable and mobile gaming, had an impact on sales. Piracy hasn't taken hold over PSP over there as it has in the US, game UMD sales are very strong. So there's something else. TV out, I think, is a selling point. Game on the go, game at home, all on one device.

  • spiffyone

    If Apple would just allow this for all app developers that want the ability to output their apps to tv sets, they could in fact kill two birds with one stone. They're trying to market (or rather, re-introduce) iPod touch as a sort of gaming device, right? iPhone is obviously a slightly different animal, but iPod touch is their de facto gaming device. So here's the opportunity to slip into the video game industry a portable/home console hybrid of sorts, echoing back to Sega's failed Nomad (remember that? Too much too soon).

    An iPod touch with TV out, capable of 640 x 480 (iirc, the PowerVR MBX, even the lite version used in the iPod touch is capable of SD and ED output) would basically be another selling point. Why buy a Wii and DS when you can get an iPod touch, which could act as both a portable AND home console and do just about everything DS and Wii both do, for over $150 less? Think about it. Apple could term it go anywhere, game anywhere. There's obviously a market for such a thing, judging by some of the comments here.

    BTW:

    "How many people do you know that use the video output capability of the PSP?"

    Honestly...I think the increase sales for PSP in Japan had quite a bit to do with the addition of TV out. Look over the sales. PSP sales weren't much to write home about in Japan until the Slim&Lite came out, and while it coincided with some better games, I think TV out, in a nation where the market itself is skewing more toward portable and mobile gaming, had an impact on sales. Piracy hasn't taken hold over PSP over there as it has in the US, game UMD sales are very strong. So there's something else. TV out, I think, is a selling point. Game on the go, game at home, all on one device.

  • spiffyone

    Okay...maybe not for the current iPhone and iPod touch (specifically the touch), but for the next vast upgrade, which Apple will hopefully use PowerVR's much more promising (and powerful) SGX graphics processors. It'd be...well...it'd be a disruptive product in the game industry. And, for those that recall, Nintendo had position both DS and Wii as "disruptive products". Look at what happened. They've by and large obliterated the competition in terms of sales. I think Apple could take it several steps further.

  • spiffyone

    Okay...maybe not for the current iPhone and iPod touch (specifically the touch), but for the next vast upgrade, which Apple will hopefully use PowerVR's much more promising (and powerful) SGX graphics processors. It'd be...well...it'd be a disruptive product in the game industry. And, for those that recall, Nintendo had position both DS and Wii as "disruptive products". Look at what happened. They've by and large obliterated the competition in terms of sales. I think Apple could take it several steps further.

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