Video: LCD TV Refresh Rates
In this video, we'll explain refresh rates — what they mean for an LCD TV's performance, and how to decide if you need a set with a faster refresh rate.
Steve: Hi. I'm Steve. I'm here in the Crutchfield studio to talk about "motion blur" and the way that many TVs solve it with faster refresh rates. What I'm talking about only applies to LCD, not plasma. Because of the way plasma TVs create their picture motion blur isn't an issue.
Now all HDTVs redraw or refresh the screen's image a certain number of times each second. Entry level TVs refresh the image 60 times/second and this 60Hz refresh rate generally creates a smooth, clear picture. But as screens have grown larger some viewers have found that 60Hz isn't always enough to cleanly display high speed content like sports and video games. So TV makers have tried doubling the refresh rate from 60Hz to 120Hz which doubles the number of frames you see and dramatically reduces motion blur. Even rapid action looks smooth and clear. And some higher end LCD TVs offer 240Hz, 480Hz, or even 960Hz refresh rate which delivers even smoother, more fluid action.
Here's an example. Obviously I can't show you what it looks like on a real TV but this should give you some sense of how different the three refresh rates look. In this clip, the receiver gets pretty blurry as he sprints for the end zone. That's because our TV's 60Hz refresh rate just can't keep up. By doubling the refresh rate to 120Hz the receiver stays crisp and clear. And at 240Hz he's even sharper essentially blur free.
If you're interested in 3D TV you probably want to look at a TV with a higher refresh rate. 3D images actually require the TV to simultaneously display two full resolution images, one for each eye, which means the TVs refresh rate is cut in half. So a 480Hz TV has 240Hz refresh rate in 3D mode.
One thing to keep in mind you might see some LCD TVs labeled as just 240 without the Hz. That's because making a TV that can fully refresh 240 times per second is very expensive. So some manufacturers have come up with clever ways to convince your eyes that the screen is refreshing 240 times a second even if it technically isn't. This won't look the same as true 240Hz but it does generally smooth out some blur. So how do you know if you need an LCD with 480Hz or 960Hz refresh rate? Well, if you watch lots of sports, action movies or play video games, you'll probably appreciate the improvement.
And if you have any questions about TVs you can email us, chat with us online, or just give us a call.