Which LCD TV Is Better: 120 MHz or 60 MHz?

By Andrew Tennyson

Buying an LCD TV can involve sifting through a lot of confusing numbers. Refresh rate is one such number. Listed as 60 MHz, 120 MHz, 240 MHz and 480 MHz, these numbers make a big difference when it comes to the quality of your TV's picture.

Significance

The refresh rate (also called the response rate) of an LCD TV is listed in hertz and represents how many times the screen is redrawn per second. A TV with a 120 MHz refresh rate therefore redraws the content it's displaying twice as many times as one with a 60 MHz refresh rate.

Effects

In the real world, refresh rates have the biggest impact on your picture when watching things with fast motion like sports and action movies. Slower refresh rates can result in what's called "motion lag," which shows itself as a blur effect behind fast-moving objects.

Considerations

Though higher refresh rates are desirable, they come at a cost. Manufacturers usually include higher refresh rates on their more expensive TVs. Another side effect of higher refresh rates is they can result in greater background noise in the picture, which can give the overall image a plastic look.