Earlier this morning we posted news that Firemint would soon be bringing an update to Real Racing 2 HD [App Store], with support for full-screen 1080p video-out on the iPad 2. This news got us wondering about the overall situation that the iPad 2 and it's new PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processor(s) present to existing games that already utilize TV-out by way of Apple's earlier component and VGA video cables for iOS devices.

I chatted up Keith Shepherd of Imangi, author of Max Adventure [App Store], which has supported TV-out via the aforementioned cables for some time now, to see what he thought the iPad 2's 1080p capability means for existing titles. While he hadn't tested Max on an iPad 2 personally, he felt it likely that the newly supported resolution should be there among those presented to an application by iOS, and therefore presented as an option in his game.

And, he was right.

With an iPad 2 connected to a 1080p HDTV by way of the Apple Digital AV Adapter (the HDMI cable), I fired up Max Adventure to see how it runs on the new hardware. Max, which supported a maximum resolution of 1280x720 on all previous devices, presents the option to run at a full 1920x1080 on the iPad 2. And, when chosen, the game runs beautifully in full 1080p.

I also loaded up MajicJungle's Chopper 2 [App Store], which has supported TV-out since day one, and noted that it runs in full 1080p on the iPad 2, where it, too, was previously limited to 720p.

It's great news that existing apps like these got an automatic upgrade courtesy of Apple and Imagination Technologies.

Since I was caught up in waving around my HDMI cable, I decided to try it out on the iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3, which we already knew supports TV-out via the component and VGA cables. I loaded up Max Adventure and my HDTV lit right up, with full audio and video coming through just fine, but at a maximum resolution of 1280x720 due to limitations of the device's earlier generation graphics chipset. Still, this is great news, as HDMI delivers a nice, clean digital signal while the VGA and component cables provide analog output only (and lack audio information).

Speaking of those older cables, a quick look at Apple's website indicates that the VGA cable will also deliver 1080p video when used with the iPad 2, but that the component cable is limited to a maximum of 576p on recent devices and just 576i on older hardware.

Our earlier iPad 2 HDMI-out demo video can be seen here.

  • Anonymous

    I really think it's a ridiculous idea, playing a game with that humungous adapter and an HDMI cable hanging off of it, especially if the game has you rotating the iPad to play it (Real Racing 2 HD). But even for games that don't have you doing that. It's going to be pretty awkward trying to playing a game with one side of the iPad getting pulled down. The only use for this I can see is for showing videos/netflix and photos, and for there it's nice, but it would still be better to do it wirelessly.

    • Adams Immersive

      I agree, it’s more an occasional “fun for the heck of it thing,” not a daily core feature. Still cool though! And certain games let you wirelessly use a second iOS device to control the one hooked to the TV. That’s still a slightly silly way to set up a permanent game rig, but it’s nice if you already have, say, an iPhone.

      Now, wireless gaming via AppleTV would be really neat! For certain games, you could have tilt control, plus certain status info/options on the iPad itself, while the main game played on the big TV. I’m hoping AirPlay is fast enough for a lot of games to be playable this way in future.

      • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

        I can't imagine AirPlay would be fast enough to avoid lag in something like an interactive app such as a game. Hell, I've not yet seen a set of stereo bluetooth headphones work for gaming where there's no lag.

      • Adams Immersive

        That concerns me too. Maybe for puzzle or turn-based-strategy games and the like, though?

      • Anonymous

        Streaming the video makes no sense either. Ridiculously inefficient way to have a game system. The only thing that would make sense is if AppleTV had apps, and then the apps send data back and forth in order for the iPhone/iPad to be a controller for the game that is *running* on the AppleTV. I'm sure this will be coming. Just a matter of time.

        The only other use for this cable that I can think of, and it's not one Apple endorses, is if you are jailbroken and use it to connect your TV as a display for a jailbreak emulator, such as MAME, that supports using a WiiMote or other such wireless device as a controller. Then the issue of the cable dangling off there is moot.

      • Guest

        It's possible, we'll just have to see.

        I know that I can play full 1080p videos from my computer, through AirPlay to my TV with AirVideo and the beta server.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/TA7SVNAUGFFFV4ZM6VL3Z6E3E4 Michael B

      Right... but what resolution can AirPlay pump out, and what if Apple gets the AppleTV to do this?

  • Hanerlend

    Soo... Judging from this article, can I use an Apple composite cable an play Max Adventure on my age old CRT-TV?

    • Adams Immersive

      I don’t have Max Adventure... or an iPad! So I haven’t tested exactly this. But I do have a composite cable which I have used with my iPhone 4 and iPhone 3G, and any app/game I’ve tried which supports video out works fine.

      I believe that even on the iPad 2, mirroring won’t work without HDMI or VGA. But other video output—meaning apps that individually send custom output—should work with a mere composite or component cable. Max Adventure should fall into that category as I understand it.

      • Hanerlend

        Thanks a lot for a clearifying answer. Might have to get me one of those cables, then. :)

      • Adams Immersive

        BTW, RadioShack (among others) sometimes sells a black iOS composite video cable, cheaper than Apple's because it doesn't supply power.

    • http://rossau.wordpress.com/ Habakuk
  • Sl1pstream

    ANOTHER article about this? Really?

    • Anonymous

      Let me guess, not an iPad 2 owner.

      • Sl1pstream

        Does that matter?

        If I own one, I can just plug in a cable instead of reading 2 articles about how I can plug in cables. If I'm not, I don't really care about an article that tells me I can plug in cables because I already know after plugging cables into my iPad 1.

        The first article made sense, kind of. This one is just lazy writing.

      • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

        Wow. The amount of testing and back and forth needed to iron all this out this morning didn't feel so lazy.

        I don't think it was as obvious to most readers as it was to you that most of these games that already have TV out will now run at over twice the resolution as they did on earlier devices (and probably smoother than before, due to the improved GPU in the iPad 2). And I don't think many knew that the HDMI cable worked fine with the iPhone.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe what Sl1pstream is trying to say is that we want you to review and preview as many games as possible! :)

      • Sl1pstream

        That.

        There was an article about this very same thing not so very long ago. This is just a waste of time, especially when some of the reviews either get posted weeks after a release and other quality games are basically getting ignored.

        Apple talked about the output when the introduced the iPad. It's on their website and there's a big chance that it even makes the sales pitch in some stores. I just don't see the point in spending more time on it when new games come out every day.

        Most of them aren't that great but if you're going to play favorites with devs and not post bad reviews, what's the point?

      • Sl1pstream

        That.

        There was an article about this very same thing not so very long ago. This is just a waste of time, especially when some of the reviews either get posted weeks after a release and other quality games are basically getting ignored.

        Apple talked about the output when the introduced the iPad. It's on their website and there's a big chance that it even makes the sales pitch in some stores. I just don't see the point in spending more time on it when new games come out every day.

        Most of them aren't that great but if you're going to play favorites with devs and not post bad reviews, what's the point?

      • Hanerlend

        Well if they don't have the cable they cannot try out for themselves.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        Feel free to not read articles that don't interest you!

      • Anonymous

        It's amazing how frequently people forget that this option exists.

      • Frumius

        I'm glad I read the article, but sorry I read your comment, Slipstream. I like Blake's and Jared's replies to you.

  • http://blog.drunknbass.com drunknbass

    wait, so the iphone4 does MIRRORING at 720? or it just does the standard tv-out at 720?

    • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

      Not mirroring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoffer.karlof Christoffer Karlöf

    Can somebody with the necessary skills please check out the money trail to this site. I can guarantee everyone that this so called objective review site has incentives from apple.

    • jknox

      You are surprised that a site with the tagline "keeping in touch with the latest in iPhone gaming" published stories about the iPhone?

      • jknox

        Err, about the iPad i mean. ;^)

  • http://twitter.com/coolpowers Simon Windmill

    haha, this is turning out to be a controversial article!

    Thanks for discovering this works on the iPhone4. Does it work on anything else?

  • Lampshade37

    Will real racing 2 work with composite cables on my fourth gen. Itouch?

    • Lampshade37

      I just tried max adventure and it works great so I was wondering about real racing 2.(:

  • jknox

    While the cable is an issue with the current crop of games take it a step further:

    Same setup as the racing game - 1080p on TV and 2nd display on the iPad. Now add in another device (iPhone or iPod) to act as the controller. Steer with the iPod and watch both displays.

    Think more in terms of what will happen in the next 3-5 years as the system evolves. I've been waiting on this kind of convergence for years.

  • guest

    Do bad the article didn't address the most interesting part of this issue: is someone figuring out how to connect bluetooth physical controllers (like the PS3 controller) to the iPad 2?

    THEN you have a reason to do it. Real Racing, Lego Harry Potter, or any other game that plays well with a gamepad ... you literally would no longer need a dedicated game console. With the advantage the games are much cheaper.

    • Guest

      It never ceases to amaze me how delusional some people are when it comes to Apple products-

      • Hanerlend

        How come this is delusional? Of course graphics will suffer compared to a PS3, but to many people graphics is not everything. The downside is that it's complicated. For anything like this to take off it needs to be dead simple!

        I believe that Apple needs to open up for video out through AirPlay. This would require realtime hardware encoding of the video out signal to H.264, which I believe is already a possibility with the iPhone. Can anyone confirm this?

  • http://rossau.wordpress.com/ Habakuk

    tA wrote: "…clean digital signal while the VGA and component cables provide analog output only (and lack audio information)." This is not true. The component (and composite) cable provides audio. The VGA does not.

    It's okay that the small iDevices offer multiple TV out (and audio out) options.

    - Headphone out
    - Docks (balanced analog audio out only)
    - Component
    - Composite
    - VGA adapter
    - HDMI
    - and last but not least wireless Apple TV 2

    They all offer different options and techniques for different purposes. I am using them frequently. There should be an article that points out the differences. I am sure even the software devs don't know exactly everything on that topic.

  • Doog

    god theres some whiny bitches...go start your own websites ffs,or just get out more.
    :P

  • Anonymous

    Anyone know what astronomy software that is ?

    • Bob

      It's called solar system for iPad

  • Gabe

    No mention of the game "The Incident"?! This article is incomplete! You can hook up your IPad to the TV and use the iPhone to control. It's not 3-5 years away, just download it now.

    When will someone wise up and make an official Bluetooth controller with actual buttons already?!

    • Chad

      Thanks for the reference. Just picked it up and I can see this being the model for iPad+iPhone owners. Basically the iPad becomes a console and the iPhone a controller. The Incident works perfectly and I didn't notice any lag.

      Can also see a similar combination in the future for Apple TV with iPad or iPhone as controller. Can't imagine why Apple wouldn't go down that path...

  • Jesta106

    Thats a beautiful hand you got there. You should be proud

  • Chad

    Thanks for the great article - there are def some whiney idiots that have nothing better to do that complain about this. Seriously?

    I was wondering if there were any other iPhone/Original iPad games that support the video out feature - Max Adventure looks and works great so am hopeful that more developers will build in this support soon.

  • Gurprm

    There is an official bluetooth controller. It is the classic gamecube controller for Wii. for DroidX you can get a PS emulator, it already has HDMI out and sync up a bluetooth controller. Essentially a Portable Playstation (and more support for other games as they are developed). With Roms though you can only download (the backup) if you have an original copy, for legal reasons.

    • Gabe

      That's not official if you need to jailbreak to use it.

  • Matt Black

    Dear Blake and others, thank you for your useful posts. I want to build an image generating app that has a control screen on Ipad2, and outputs a video signal on the hdmi out to a (non AppleTV) monitor...ie a different page to what is on the Ipad...a separate second monitor rather than mirroring. Does anyone know if this is possible , any examples or how to achieve it? Thanks.