When looking for your next TV to buy, it's easy to get confused with all the marketing terms. TV manufacturers often use higher numbers to advertise a TV's refresh rate, so you need to be careful to not get trapped in their marketing. Each brand has its own way of coming up with exaggerated refresh rates, and they call them differently, so we'll look at the different ways companies advertise the refresh rate.
The refresh rate is the number of times every second that the TV draws a new image onto the screen. Our eyes don't see it, but the screen refreshes many times every second, and a higher refresh rate is important if you watch fast-moving content or play video games. You'll either get a TV with a 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate, and most mid-range and high-end TVs have a 120Hz panel while entry-level TVs have a 60Hz panel. This means that TVs are either drawing up 60 or 120 images every second. However, there are also TVs that are starting to come out with a 144Hz panel.
Manufacturers use fake refresh rates to pretend their TV has a higher refresh rate than it actually has. Since these fake refresh numbers are invented by each company, they're all different from each other, which makes direct comparison across brands impossible if you don't know the conversion multiplier of each brand. Some companies use a multiplier of 2 or 4, while Sony is a unique case because they use a multiplier of 8 for 120Hz TVs and 4 for 60Hz TVs.
|Brand||Alternative Name||120Hz Real Refresh Rate||60Hz Real Refresh Rate|
|480||240 or 120|
|TCL||Natural Motion||480||240 (or 60Hz)|
|Vizio||Dynamic Motion Rate||240||120|
Hisense has both Roku and Android-based TVs, and they advertise the refresh rate differently between each line of TVs. Their Android models in the ULED lineup, like the Hisense U6G, use Motion Rate with a multiplier of 4, but the entry-level TVs like the Hisense A6G have a multiplier of 2, so the Motion Rate is 120. However, their Roku models advertise the real refresh rate.
|Real Refresh Rate||Motion Rate||Multiplier|
LG's TruMotion is easy to understand because it simply doubles the real refresh rate. Unlike other manufacturers, they advertise the real refresh rate alongside the TruMotion rate. Their TVs have a TruMotion setting that controls the motion interpolation feature. However, this is separate from the refresh rate.
|Real Refresh Rate||TruMotion||Multiplier|
Samsung uses Motion Rate as their marketing term for the refresh rate, and they have a simple multiplier of 2. They're not always consistent, though, as they don't advertise the Motion Rate with some HDMI 2.1 TVs, and they'll simply advertise a max refresh rate of 120Hz.
|Real Refresh Rate||Motion Rate||Multiplier|
Sony's advertising of their Motionflow XR number is inconsistent because not all their models are advertised with this fake refresh rate number. Also, the multiplier changes depending on the refresh rate, so 60Hz TVs have a multiplier of 4, and 120Hz TVs have a multiplier of 8. Sony does advertise XR Motion Clarity on their higher-end models with HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and a 120Hz panel. However, there's no number associated with it, and it's just to advertise that it has a backlight strobing feature.
|Real Refresh Rate||Motionflow XR||Multiplier|
Like Hisense, TCL has both Android and Roku TVs, but they advertise the Natural Motion the same between each. They use a simple multiplier of 4 for their higher-end and mid-range TVs. However, their rules aren't consistent with the lower-end models, as the TCL 4 Series/S435 2020 is advertised with a Clear Motion Index of 120 when it has a 60Hz refresh rate, and the TCL 4 Series/S446 2021 QLED is advertised without any fake refresh rate.
|Real Refresh Rate||Natural Motion||Multiplier|
Vizio uses Dynamic Motion Rate, which they used to call Effective Refresh Rate, and it's a simple multiplier by 2. They also advertise a Clear Action number alongside the Dynamic Motion Rate, but that represents the backlight strobing feature, commonly known as black frame insertion.
|Real Refresh Rate||Dynamic Motion Rate||Multiplier|
As you can see, it's easy to decode a company's fake refresh rate once you realize that the number isn't real. Most companies either double or quadruple the real refresh rate to get their fake refresh rate. Since TVs only have refresh rates of 60Hz and 120Hz, anything above 120 is fake. The majority of mid-range and high-end TVs have 120Hz refresh rates; if the manufacturer advertises them as having HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, there's an extremely strong chance they have a 120Hz panel. Figuring out the refresh rate of lower-end and entry-level TVs can be tricky because this is where manufacturers try to trick potential customers, and this is why most brands use a fake refresh rate of 120 for 60Hz TVs. They want you to believe that the cheap TV you're about to buy has a 120Hz refresh rate. If it seems too good for a low-cost TV to have a fast refresh rate like that, it's probably not true. Also, companies are starting to include the real refresh in the marketing materials, so that helps too.
Another popular misconception is that the fake refresh rate or the real refresh rate affect the motion handling when they don't. Having a higher refresh rate certainly helps produces a clear image, but motion handling is strongly correlated to the response time, and that depends on the TV's performance.
In the battle for market share, manufacturers try to find creative ways of marketing their TVs to make them seem like they have better specs than they actually do. One way they do this is by coming up with an arbitrary fake refresh rate that's usually doubled or quadrupled the real refresh rate. Luckily, it's easy to find out the real refresh rate, and some brands are starting to include the actual refresh rate, so it's easier to not get tricked.