What is the Refresh Rate?
The refresh rate is the number of frames per second the television can display. Its unit is a Hertz, which is equal to 1/second. 120Hz means it can draw 120 images per second.
The refresh rate of televisions is misleading and is mixed with marketing lies. The increased refresh rate (120Hz and higher) was introduced by manufacturers as an indirect way to reduce the motion blur problem of LCDs and LEDs. However, the response time of 120Hz and 240Hz TVs is usually the same as 60Hz ones.
Additionally, manufacturers are inflating their advertised refresh rate number. For example, as explained in the next page of this article, Samsung uses a made-up number it calls the Clear Motion Rate .
To prove that a 120Hz TV does not reduce motion blur in movies, we filmed - in slow motion - a 60Hz TV next to a 120Hz TV, both displaying a 24p Blu-ray movie. As you can see, the amount of blur is exactly the same.
The same is true for video games. Video game consoles (even the Xbox One and PS4) display a maximum of 60 frames per second. When displaying this on a 120Hz TV, the panel just draws each frame twice, so it doesn't reduce the blur.
Does the refresh rate mean the same thing across LCD, LED, and Plasma TVs?
No. An LCD/LED panel retains the picture for the entire frame duration. This is called the sample and hold method. A plasma TV works differently. It uses very short pulses to draw the picture. For each frame, it emits a series of pulses, determined by the intensity of the colors.
When LCD TVs started advertising higher refresh rates meant to reduce motion blur, plasma TV manufacturers didn't want to appear obsolete, even though they display better motion by default. To keep up with their marketing, they started including a number in Hz. This number is not the amount of frames per second it can display, but the inverse of the duration of a small pulse. For example, a 600Hz plasma means its pulse length is 1/600 second, even though it only draws 60 frames per second.
Displaying a 120fps signal on a 120Hz+ television
In 2014, very few televisions officially support a true 120 frames per second signal as an input. Even a real 120Hz or 240Hz television usually does not support a source of 120fps. At that speed, they can only display frames created by themselves using motion interpolation. For example, you can feed a television a 1080p @ 24Hz signal, which it will upconvert to 1080p @ 120Hz internally; but you cannot feed it a 1080p @ 120 signal directly.
Despite the fact that HDMI version 1.4 added support for 1080p @ 120Hz, there is no content available to display on a TV at that frame rate. Only a computer can generate this high frame rate. This will not change anytime soon. Gaming consoles, including the PS4 and Xbox One, are limited to 60fps. Movies are shot at 24 fps. The first movie shot in 48fps is 'The Hobbit,' and it is only available at that speed in some specific theaters.
For TVs, the refresh rate means nothing, especially given that manufacturers inflate their numbers. A TV with a high refresh rate is not guaranteed to be free of motion blur. Even for console gaming, there is no advantage in using a 120Hz+ TV, because console video games are capped at 60 fps anyway.
For gaming on a PC though, a monitor with a higher refresh rate is definitely worth it if you have a strong enough graphics card.
The next pages of this article explains two features usually found on 120Hz+ TVs, but which are irrelevant to gaming.
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As you can see, the length of the motion blur trail is the same. The difference is the backlight. The H7150 flickers twice as fast, which we perceived as more superposition of the logo. Which method is better is a personal preference. Keep in mind that we are nitpicking here. Most people won't even see the difference when watching normal content.
That said, the H7150 is a better TV than the H6400, even if the motion is relatively the same. It has a better uniformity and screen finish. It is worth the upgrade, provided you don't mind the price difference.
2) In a kitchen, you probably do need an IPS panel to benefit from its wide viewing angle. They reflect a bit more light, though. The LG 42LB6300 should be more than enough here.
3) For the bedroom, get the Samsung UN32H6350 (assuming you don't care about viewing angle here), because you can just rotate the TV towards your bed). It has better blacks than the LG.
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