120 Hz smart TVs have hit the market with the promise of changing the way viewers consume entertainment and improving the viewing experience at home. The devices have a higher refresh rate, which means that they can reset an on-screen image at a much faster frequency than other TVs. Because of this, 120 Hz TVs should appeal to gamers and sports fans, as they offer sharper and more fluid images, especially in action scenes. It is important to know the pros and cons of the technology before investing in a new device.
Some factors such as high cost and higher power consumption are among the disadvantages of the models. On the other hand, the support for high frame rate content can be an important differential for some consumers. To understand if this is the best option for you, check out, below, all the details about what is refresh rate, what is the difference between it and frame rate, and the advantages and disadvantages of 120 Hz smart TVs.
What is the refresh rate and how does it work?
The refresh rate is a measurement that indicates how often a screen updates the displayed image. Essentially, it represents the number of times the image on the screen is redrawn or updated per second. It is measured in hertz (Hz), and 1 Hz equals one refresh per second.
How the refresh rate works are that new images (frames) are sent to the screen at regular time intervals. The frames are generated by a video source, such as a computer, video game console, TV receiver, or media player. Each frame contains color and brightness information for each pixel on the screen.
The higher the refresh rate, the more times per second the screen refreshes the image. For example, a TV with a refresh rate of 60 Hz refreshes the image 60 times per second, while a model with a refresh rate of 120 Hz does this 120 times per second. Therefore, the refresh rate has a direct impact on the image quality and viewing experience of a device.
A higher refresh rate can improve the fluidity and sharpness of moving images, reducing motion blur and providing a smoother viewing experience. This is particularly beneficial for games and sports broadcasts, which produce a lot of fast motion on the screen.
However, it is important to note that a higher refresh rate alone does not guarantee better picture quality. Other factors such as resolution, panel type, and picture processing also play a crucial role in the picture quality of television.
The difference between refresh rate (Hz) and frame rate
Although the two concepts are related to the frequency of images, they apply to different aspects of the video display process. While a higher refresh rate can improve the fluidity of moving images and reduce blur, the frame rate is related to the video source and describes how many individual frames are generated per second. A higher frame rate can result in smoother and more realistic motion.
Ideally, the refresh rate of the screen and the frame rate of the video source should be synchronized to ensure an optimal viewing experience. If the refresh rate of the display is much higher than the frame rate of the source, the display may show the same frames over and over again, which may not improve the fluidity of the image. On the other hand, if the frame rate is much higher than the refresh rate of the display, some frames may be skipped or dropped, which can also lead to a compromised viewing experience.
Technologies such as G-Sync and FreeSync from Nvidia and AMD are designed to synchronize the screen refresh rate with the frame rate of the video source, providing a smoother viewing experience free of visual glitches such as “tearing” or “stuttering.
Benefits of 120 Hz smart TVs
- Reduced motion blur: Because the refresh rate is higher, 120 Hz TVs can display faster and more accurate motion, reducing motion blur common with TVs with lower refresh rates.
- Better gaming experience: Gamers benefit significantly from a higher refresh rate as it enables smoother and more responsive gameplay, especially in games with fast graphics and fast motion.
- Support for High Frame Rate (HFR) content: 120Hz TVs can display High Frame Rate (HFR) content, such as movies and sports broadcasts, that are recorded at a higher frame rate to improve picture quality and fluidity.
- Compatibility with adaptive synchronization technologies: Technologies such as G-Sync and FreeSync, which synchronize the refresh rate of the TV with the frame rate of the source device (such as a PS5, Xbox Series X/S, or PC), work best with 120 Hz TVs, reducing tearing and input lag.
Disadvantages of 120 Hz smart TVs
- Price: 120 Hz TVs are generally more expensive than models with lower refresh rates, such as 60 Hz.
- Power consumption: a higher refresh rate can result in slightly higher power consumption, impacting the electricity bill and the environment.
- Lack of HFR content: There is still a limited amount of content available at higher frame rates, which means that you may not get the most out of a 120 Hz TV in all situations.
- Decrease in picture quality in some cases: In some situations, such as watching movies with a 24 Hz frame rate, the frame interpolation performed by a 120 Hz TV can create a “soap effect” that makes the picture less cinematic.