The refresh rate is one of the most conspicuous features when buying most gadgets nowadays. If you grab a television, monitor, or even phone catalog, you will see the refresh rate of 60Hz, 120Hz, or 240Hz listed somewhere.
What does refresh rate mean? Does refresh rate matter? How does refresh rate work? Which is the best refresh rate? We have answered all these questions here.
What is Refresh Rate?
Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second a screen updates with new information. The refresh can, therefore, refresh rate simply means the number of screen updates per second.
Refresh Rate Units
The refresh rate is measured in Herts abbreviated as Hz. Herts is the unit of measurement of refresh rate which means the number of times per second. The term Herts is borrowed from Physics were it is the standard of measurement of the rate per second especially in measuring frequency.
Importance of Refresh Rate
Still images must be refreshed to create a sense motion illusion. In other words, the refresh rate is the number of images a TV display can show in every second.
Therefore, the more times the images are shown per second, the better the video clarity. Thus, the faster the refresh rate the better the video watching experience.
Do you recall the CRT displaying content will a lot of visible flickering as we used to call it then? It was disgusting!
That happened because the CRT had a low refresh rate. You no longer see this nowadays, Right! That is courtesy of the high refresh rate in today’s flat screens.
Refresh Rate in Modern Flat TVs
Modern TVs defy analog refresh rates beyond 50Hz. You will never see any flat TV with 50Hz. The lowest refresh rate you will find is 60Hz.
Other rates available are 120Hz, 240Hz, and 480 Hz. Most TV in the market today have either 60Hz or 120Hz. The 240 Hz refresh rate is rare.
60Hz vs 120 Hz Refresh Rates
Which is TV is better than 60Hz or 120Hz? Theoretically, its obvious 120Hz is better though other factors might influence this theoretical fact.
So, should I choose 60Hz or120Hz? It depends. Most TVs nowadays come with 120Hz. You’ve limited choice as a result. But if your old TV is 60Hz, it is not a good idea to buy 120Hz TV. Below is why.
Beware in mind that 120Hz TVs run 60 frames per second (FPS) then reproduce the other 60Hz to attain 120Hz. They do so either through Black Frame Insertion (BFI) and Motion Smoothing technology.
What does the above mean? The pictures would be no better when you 30FPs or 60PFS watch TV programs on a 120Hz TV.
Requirements for high Refresh Rates
Despite smooth motion that comes with refresh rate, such comes with its demands for hardware resources. Otherwise, despite high refresh rates say 120Hz, the image displayed will be default 60Hz.
The resource-demand depends on the application the monitor or TV is intended for. For normal programs, you need faster interconnect and high-quality cable.
For video content, your tv requires fast processors, more storage space, and a high frame rate. For gamers, gaming monitors need a very powerful graphic card.
Refresh Rates Complements
- High refresh rate
- Powerful graphic cards
- Powerful processor
A higher refresh rate means that the television or a monitor will show more images per second. That means that you will be able to capture more details in image very fast than if you were using an inferior refresh rate.
It is for the above reason that a high refresh rate is extremely important for gamers. When you are gaming, you need to act quickly to outdo your competitor. With the high refresh rate, you will see extra details early enough then your competitors do. You will, therefore, take action against them before they see it and you win!!!
For example, imagine you are playing a gunfight game. Your monitor has a 120Hz refresh rate whereas and your competitor’s refresh rate is 60Hz. When navigating corners, you will spot your competitor before they do.
And once you see them, click your mouse to shoot them. You will win. However, how fast your mouse click will reflect as pull trigger also depends on your screen input lag. This is a story for another day.
High Refresh Rate with inferior Hardware
If the computer of TV hardware does not match the strength of the Refresh rate, you will not earnest the advantages of such a high refresh rate.
For instance, take a case where your television has a 30 fps graphic card with a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen will actually refresh 120 times each second. But most of the frames will contain the same image details therefore your 120Hz will be useless.
Buyer’s advice: If you are not ready to buy a monitor or television with a powerful graphic card, don’t waste your money on the higher refresh rate. Get the cheapest refresh rate but at least 60Hz.
Is Higher Refresh Rates Worth?
Refresh rates obey the popular law of diminishing returns. That is to mean, as the refresh rate increases, it becomes less effective especially for a very high refresh rate because of the following reason.
We can refer to 60 Hz as the default refresh rate. This is because most screens will max at 60 fps. The screen generates more frames To achieve higher refresh rates say of 120 Hz and 240 Hz.
Thus, there is a very significant improvement when you move from a 30Hz to a 60 Hz refresh rate. You will, however, note a little improvement in your picture from a 60Hz to 120Hz. Similarly, moving from 120Hz to 240Hz has significant improvement for the same graphic card.
Buyer’s Guide: Unless each refresh rate comes with a more powerful graphic card, a 240 Hz refresh rate screen is not something to worry about. Unless you just need to have it. A monitor with 120Hz is just enough.
Refresh Rate and TV Panels
The response rate of different TV panels influences the effectiveness of the Refresh rate effectiveness.
Twisted Neumatic (TN) screens offer the fastest response rate of less than a microsecond. Therefore, they will be very suitable for the high refresh rate of 120Hz or 240 Hz. But be ready to deal with TN drawbacks of poor image quality and narrow viewing angle.
The Bottom Line
Based on the above review, we have demonstrated how to refresh rate is not a very key buying factor when it comes to televisions and computer monitors. However, if you are or intend to become a gamer, the refresh rate is worthy to consider.
Gamers Guide: If you are a gamer, we advise you to consider a 240Hz refresh rate but ensure the screen is of TN panel. A combination of both will give you an upper hand in to reap high refresh rate benefits. If you are on a budget, you may consider 120 Hz but with a TN panel.
There is no need to buy a smart TV in 2020 merely based on 120Hz. There may no much difference with the 60Hz.
Unless you just prefer 120Hz, there is no need to chuck out additional bucks just because of 120Hz. If you watch sports online or you are a frequent gaming guy, you may consider 120Hz.
120 Hz and beyond will be a choice of future. And that future is not any time soon. But if you have enough chums, you can buy one to be ready for the future.
You have the knowledge now. So is up to you to decide.