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60Hz vs. 120Hz vs. 240Hz vs. 480Hz: LCD TV Refresh Rates

The HDTV refresh rate produces a non-repetitive transition of images between the frames by calculating the image between the frames and inserting them through frame interpolation methodology

To understand Refresh Rate specifications, we first have to look at some of the basic elements.

Hertz (Hz) refers to the number of video frames displayed on a TV each second. Most video content is sent to the TV at 60Hz. To clarify, a DVD player or cable box is sending 60 video frames to the TV each second.

So, how does an LCD TV come up with 120, 240, or 480 frames per second. With 120Hz, the answer is the same for most TVs. The TV simply repeats every frame twice. You see each of the 60 video frames twice.

With 240Hz, LED lighting added the ability to rapidly turn LED lights on and off. This allowed LCD manufacturers to turn off the LED lights briefly between each video frame. They claimed that 120 video frames plus 120 black fields equaled 240. Other manufacturers doubled 120 by duplicating each of the 60 original video frames four times, creating 240 frames per second. These manufacturers frequently accused their counterparts of not using a true 240Hz.

480Hz is a similar story. Manufacturers are using the 'black frame insertion' with full 240Hz processing. 240 full video frames with a black field between each full frame. Most companies are doing this in some of their 2010 models but with different stories. Sony calls it 240Hz Pro, LG and other manufacturers are calling it 480Hz, but the technique is the same regardless.

In terms of performance, critics tend to agree that there is a visible improvement from 60Hz to 120Hz. Keep in mind though, that when the first 120Hz TVs came out, the increased frame rates were coupled with better video processing which contributes greatly to the reduction of motion blur and artifacts. The differences from 120Hz to 240Hz are arguably less significant. The effects of 'black frame insertion' on 240Hz are still being debated

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