When I purchased a new television recently, I did my research into what features and specifications each set had. It didn’t take long before I was completely lost in the technical jargon. For example, what is a refresh rate? And why does it matter?

What is a Refresh Rate?
A TV’s refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz) and refers to the number of times the TV’s display is refreshed with new images per second. For example, a TV with a refresh rate of 60Hz will refresh the screen 60 times per second. The higher the refresh rate, the more frequently the TV can refresh the image on the screen, which results in a smoother and more fluid motion.

Why Does Refresh Rate Matter?
The refresh rate of a TV is essential for delivering smooth, fluid motion when displaying fast-moving scenes such as sports, action movies, or video games. A low refresh rate can result in choppy and stuttering motion, which can be distracting and take away from the viewing experience. By contrast, a high refresh rate can make the motion appear more natural, making the viewing experience more immersive.

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Another reason why refresh rate matters is that it can affect input lag, which is the time it takes for a TV to process a signal and display it on the screen. The higher the refresh rate, the lower the input lag, which can be crucial for gamers. Input lag can affect how quickly a player can react to on-screen events, so reducing it as much as possible can give gamers a competitive edge.

What Refresh Rate Should You Choose?
When choosing a TV, it’s essential to consider the refresh rate carefully. As a rule of thumb, a refresh rate of at least 60Hz is suitable for most people, and many TVs come with a 60Hz refresh rate as standard. However, if you’re an avid sports fan or a serious gamer, you may want to consider a TV with a higher refresh rate.

Some TVs are marketed as having a higher refresh rate than 60Hz, such as 120Hz, 144Hz, or even 240Hz. While a higher refresh rate can provide a smoother viewing experience, it’s worth noting that there are diminishing returns as you go higher. In other words, the difference between a 60Hz and 120Hz TV is more noticeable than the difference between a 120Hz and 240Hz TV.

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In summary, the refresh rate is an essential specification to consider when buying a TV. A higher refresh rate can provide a smoother, more fluid viewing experience, especially when displaying fast-moving scenes. While a refresh rate of 60Hz is suitable for most people, those who are into sports or gaming may want to consider a TV with a higher refresh rate. As always, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and budget when choosing a TV.

Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at swann@tvanswerman.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.