It can be difficult to choose a TV model that is right for you. To compare models, you need to be familiar with a lot of technical terms. You might have seen the term “refresh rate” when shopping for a TV. This is the information you need to understand in order to compare different models.
What is a refresh rate?
The refresh rate refers to how often the TV’s image can be “refreshed” or updated every second. Faster refresh rates are better for handling motion, particularly when playing video games or watching action movies.
(Image Source: Amazon)
The frequency of a refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz). A 60Hz TV refreshes the screen 60 times per second while a 120Hz TV refreshes the screen 120 times. Televisions with higher refresh rates do not always handle motion better.
Refresh Rate vs. Frame Rate
Frame rate is the number of frames that your TV can display per second. Refresh rate refers only to how many frames your monitor can display at once, while framerate is how many frames your video source can display in a second. You want to reduce motion blur by setting your TV’s refresh speed at the same or higher level as a video’s frame rate.
Every movie and every TV show is made up of a series or frames of still images. To give motion, these frames are displayed in rapid succession. You will be able to see individual frames if the video frame rate is too low.
Smoother motion is usually seen in videos with higher frame rates, provided that your TV has a similar or higher refresh rate. Your TV’s refresh rate will not be faster than your video’s frame rates. This will cause blurry images and motion that looks choppy.
(Image Source: Optoma)
The majority of American TV shows are shot at 30 frames per second (fps), whereas most movies are shot at 24 fps. To view most content, you will only need a TV that refreshes at 30 Hz. A TV with a faster refresh speed is an option for several reasons.
60Hz vs 120Hz
A TV’s refresh rate will vary between 60Hz and 120Hz if you are looking to purchase a new TV. They will look the same when they are watching TV shows at 30fps. However, TVs with faster refresh rates tend to handle motion better when viewing movies at 24fps.
Your TV will display each frame multiple times to match your video’s refresh rate. If you are watching a TV program at 30fps, your TV will double the frames and play them for half the time.
The same video will look the same on a 120Hz TV because it will display each frame four times, and play them for a quarter of the length.
The problem arises when you want to view a movie on 60Hz television. Because most movies are shot at 24 frames per second, which isn’t a good divisibility for 60. A 60Hz TV uses “3:2 Pulldown” to match the frame rate and refresh rate. The TV will display one frame twice, then the next three times.
You might feel “judder” while watching movies on a 60Hz television, as some frames are displayed longer than others. This can make motion appear jerky and cause the video to run slightly slower than it should.
A 120Hz TV can display every frame five times. This means that the movie will still look exactly as the director intended. While there isn’t much content at 120fps, some movies and video games use this high frame rate.
The response time refers to the time it takes for a TV’s pixels to change colors. Motion blur is caused by a slow response time. Your TV’s slow response time can cause blurred images by creating ghostly trails around moving objects.
(Image Source: BenQ)
A TV should have a response time of less than 30ms. If you’re a gamer, however, you shouldn’t get a TV that responds faster than 10ms. You can now find TVs that respond in as little as 1ms.
What about 240Hz TVs
High-end TVs advertise a “effective refresh rate of 240Hz” as an advantage. But, TVs these days are not capable of delivering a native refresh rate greater than 120Hz. Many TVs come with features that artificially double their refresh rate. A TV running at 240Hz is actually only 120Hz.
Frame interpolation is used by some TVs to reduce blurred motion. The TV analyses two frames and creates a hybrid image by “guessing what should happen” between them.
Frame interpolation is a useful tool to reduce motion blur. However, it can also lead to the “soap-opera effect,” which is ultra-smooth motion making movies appear unnatural. This feature can also cause latency in gaming due to its high processing power.
What is a good refresh rate for TVs?
Modern TVs have a refresh rate of 60Hz or 120Hz. 60Hz TVs can be used to watch most videos, but 120Hz TVs work better for video and gaming.
What is a good refresh rate for a gaming TV?
A refresh rate of 60Hz for older consoles is sufficient if you’re looking for a gaming television. The Xbox One S/X and Xbox Series X support 120Hz so motion will look better on TVs that have a faster refresh rate. Make sure your TV has an HDMI 2.1 port.
You should also look for a TV with VRR (variable refreshing rate). This feature will automatically sync your TV’s refresh rate and your game’s frame rate in real time. Your TV will automatically adjust to a lower refresh speed if your game’s frame rate drops.
There are two VRR formats available: G-Sync and FreeSync. G-Sync by Nvidia is found in high-end gaming TVs and PC monitors. However, it is not compatible with next-gen consoles. FreeSync can be found in more TVs and is supported by the Xbox Series X.