Now close to three months after the launch of both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, comparisons between the consoles continue to be published. The latest example is a look between the two platforms’ 4K Blu-ray players. A recent console comparison video of the PS5 and Xbox Series X found some surprising results. More specifically, it found that the PS5’s 4K Blu-ray player was better in some few key ways. The video does note, however, that most viewers would never notice these differences.
The first key area that the comparison video, made by YouTube channel HDTVTest, points out is color gradation. The comparison shows that the PS5 displayed smoother color gradation using color ramps. For example, you can see visible bands or streaks of color on the Xbox Series X examples where the colors very clearly don’t blend as well. In other words, a 4K movie on a PS5 will have more color depth than on the Xbox Series X. Colors will also appear smoother and less dark in certain situations.
Upon further analysis, the video claims that this is because the PS5 outputs at YCbCr 12-bit color depth compared to the Xbox Series X’s 10-bit RGB. Even when trying to force the Xbox to up its color depth, it would default back down without explanation. The conclusion the video draws is that the PS5 offers higher chroma bandwidth because of this. It also tests this across multiple televisions, to ensure that the issue is with the Xbox Series X and not with a specific TV.
There is one caveat here with regards to color representation for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The video also compares both consoles to known bit-perfect 4K Blu-ray players. Neither console is shown to live up to the standards of these bit-perfect Blu-ray players, though the PS5 is closer than the Xbox Series X.
Another notable issue is also called attention to in the comparison video. This issue has to do with certain Blu-ray discs displaying at 24 frames-per-second, as opposed to the more standard 23.976 FPS. The difference is small but significant. The PS5 plays both frame rates smoothly, switching between the frame rates as a Blu-ray film demands. The Xbox Series X appears to always default to the 23.976 frame rate. This means that movies playing at pure 24fps will actually skip a frame every 42 seconds.
Like with the color gradation issue, the frame-skip issue on the Xbox Series X will likely not be seen by many home movie watchers. To most, both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X will have identical movie-viewing experiences. For detail-oriented viewers and those working in digital media, however, the differences deserve to be recognized. Hopefully, these are issues that can be addressed by Xbox via updates to its 4K Blu-ray player software.