Putting the HD Cart before the Xbox Horse?

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Although the new Xbox 360 console from Microsoft is selling for a fraction of the price points of HDTV monitors and receivers, the release of the new game console is likely spurring the growth of HD sales, as well. Not for HD television content, of course, but for HD gaming.

As the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota said this week, "HDTV sets aren't just for high-definition television anymore." The paper, situated in a high-tech region of the Midwest, says the new Xbox console "has ushered in a new era of high-definition gaming, and this trend looks to accelerate next year with the release of Sony's PlayStation 3 console."

That may not necessarily be good news for TV content providers. If current conventional wisdom proves to be true, we can add new-gen video games to the list of reasons why consumers may be shopping for HD products, along with watching movies on DVD (standard) and soon, high-def DVD (maybe). While this possible trend could mean a certain percentage of HD sets will be taken over by rabid gamers, it also means there's an HD monitor still in the house when the gamer is not using that new Xbox. Then again, surveys have found that many HD sets in the United States are not pulling in true HD content, to begin with.

The St. Paul paper reviewed new games designed for the Xbox 360 and agree with most other reviewers that many of the entries look nothing sort of stunning in HD, from the field grass and other details in "Madden NFL 06" to more believable-looking humans in "Peter Jackson's King Kong" game.