What's The Difference Between 60Hz and 120Hz?

What is the difference between 60 Hz and 120 Hz televisions? We see them in stores and we see the price differences and we hear what we think is the truth: that 120 Hz is better than 60 Hz. But is it really? And if it is, why is it better? Well, look no further, I'm about to enlighten your curiosity and help you get a better deal.

The big deal in electronics display industry is over the 60Hz and 120Hz. But most people don't understand it. So I'll try to explain it for you. The 60Hz or 120Hz is essentially how fast the display refreshes the picture. As we all know, a film is nothing more than hundreds, thousands, even millions of individual pictures shown in sequence at a certain speed to produce motion (think of a notepad of drawings flipped through by your fingers to create an animation). So when you take a 60Hz display vs a 120Hz display, you are essentially flipping through the pages (images) twice as fast.

A Matter of Opinion

This will alter what you see, and depending on how your eyes and brain handles these images, it will either look much better, much worse, or not much different at all.

The best example used throughout the Internet is the how motion is portrayed in sports. As you know, seeing a football fly through the air is a relatively fast motion, just as seeing a car zoom across the screen at over a hundred miles per hour. With slower refresh rates, the you might notice motion blur, which is the result of picture frames not being able to keep up with the speed of the subject on screen.

So if you imagine the screen being refreshed at 60Hz vs. 120Hz, you could imagine that 120Hz would be able to show you the motion much more clearly, as you would be receiving nearly twice the amount of pictures to smooth out the motion.

This rings true of most high-action movies and television content. So if you are one of those types who loves seeing this as clear as possible, then 120Hz might be worth it, particularly those of you who love sports.

This effect might or might not be noticeable to the user. In fact, most people would live happily if they never see a 120Hz television, as in some cases the difference is only noticeable after comparing the two side by side. Even then though, some people might not notice that much of an improvement.

So the 60Hz vs 120Hz is more of a judgement call at this point. People will pay extra for a 120Hz television, but if smooth motion is not absolutely critical to you, then feel free to pass on it and save money until the time is right to upgrade to something better.

To summarize, if you are interested in a smoother picture, then feel free to invest in a 120Hz television. If you are a big sports fanatic, you might certainly feel compelled to invest in a 120Hz television.

Either way, be sure to ask your local electronics supplier to see a comparable 60Hz and 120Hz television side by side with different content sources before you make your purchase.

240Hz and 480Hz Nonsense

But there is also 240Hz and 480Hz displays being touted by Sony and LG. Sounds great, right? The bigger the number the better, right? Wrong! The primary difference improvement of 120Hz is that film (which is shot at 24 frames per second) can be evenly divided into the 120Hz refresh rate, which means no 3:2 pulldown is necessary to display the frames. This also means no more judder, which is an issue that will be discussed in the future.

Either way, the most advantage you will is upgrading from a 60Hz television to a 120Hz television. Going above and beyond to 240Hz and 480Hz is almost a waste of money at this point — the industry is betting big on it, though.

In other words, save your money and either purchase a 60Hz television if it doesn't bother you or a 120Hz television if it does.