A TV’s refresh rate affects the quality of the picture.
As LCD TV manufacturers introduce new models and updated technology, consumers have taken special interest in the terms “60Hz” and “120Hz,” which refer to a TV’s refresh rate. A higher refresh rate means a better picture, and discriminating buyers are seeking out the more advanced sets. Many consumers, however, notice little difference in the image quality.
The “refresh rate” is the number of times an image refreshes each second. A 60Hz LCD or HDTV refreshes an image 60 times per second. While this may sound good, when a viewer is watching fast-moving images on the screen, the refresh rate may not keep up with the speed of the image. This may cause the image to appear out of focus or blurred. A 120Hz TV provides a smoother-looking picture because the images are refreshed twice as fast.
The best way to understand refresh rate is to imagine a flip-book featuring a man in different running positions. As you flip the pages, the man appears to move. If you flip too slowly, the movement looks choppy. If you flip the pages faster, the man “runs” more smoothly. The book can even have the same picture two or three times, but if you flip fast enough, you wouldn’t notice the duplication.
Whether a 120Hz refresh rate is better than 60Hz is a matter of debate. The difference is most noticeable with fast action, such as live sports and films viewed in high definition. For non-HD broadcasts, a 60Hz image can be perfectly suitable.
As consumers became more familiar with HDTV technical terminology, manufacturers looked for features they could market as innovative or as distinctive. As HDTVs with 1080p resolution became the sets of choice, manufacturers began marketing the refresh rate and promoting 120Hz.
When LCD TVs were initially introduced with a 120Hz refresh rate, the price was as much as $1,000 higher for 120Hz. As newer models were introduced, prices came down within buying reach of most consumers. (Manufacturers have even introduced a 240Hz.)