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HDTV question - is 60Hz refresh good enough?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm in the market for a new HDTV, my first TV since '97. biggrin.gif

I've been shopping TVs and have been mostly looking at models around 40"-42", LCD and 1080i. I'm not much interested in plasma and don't want to pay the premium for LED-LCD. I'll probably upgrade in 2-3 years when prices are much lower and I can also handle replacing the bulb if it goes in an ordinary LCD.

Also have zero interest in 3D or other gizmos - I already have the new AppleTV and am shopping for a Blu-Ray player. I'll jack in the DVD-A player and a HDTV antenna, too. No cable or dish and no video game console. Though I might spring for an Xbox if it gives me ESPN without cable that I heard about (still not sure how that works), but I'd only use it to get ESPN. (And if it's a pain, I'll continue to hit bars for my NCAA football/basketball fix).

Anyhow, it seems that $100 separates the 60Hz from the 120Hz sets. I understand the technical angle here and know that a higher refresh rate will give a smoother picture.

But do you need 120Hz to enjoy DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming Netflix? I'll pay more if it means that visible artifacts will smooth out and give cleaner motion. But if I'll be able to enjoy movies (probably 95% of what I'll have on) at 60Hz, I'll save a few bucks.

Also, any recommendations for specific sets or telling me to go in an entirely different direction would be very welcome. smily_headphones1.gif My budget is around $500-$600 for a 40"-42" since that looks like a sweet spot in the market. It'll be a thrill since my last set was a 27" CRT. I can push my budget to $1,000 or a little over if there's a great value on a bigger set somewhere. Thanks, guys!
post #2 of 37

120Hz is nice, a little hard to get used to at first, but a lot of big budget movies are now best viewed on an HDTV with a high refresh rate. I've seen 120Hz implemented badly on lower end TVs, so of course the quality of panel comes into play.

 

I'm a fan of Panasonic, personally. Their LCD selection is few, but they have a great well-balanced picture on most models and can be less expensive than Samsung, LG, Sharp and pals. I noticed the colours right off the bat on my Panasonic were a little vivid (not too saturated), but I like my colours to pop like that and that's previously why I liked Samsung panels, though they tend to be more saturated.

 

Also, keep in mind that I believe you need an Xbox Live gold membership (~$60 for 12 months) to get ESPN. I don't believe the PS3 has access to the ESPN feeds, but they do have other sports (MLB, NHL, etc.) services and it is a high performing BD player with WiFi (important when considering a BD player due to the hassle of manual updates) which will also allow you to stream movies, music and pictures from your computer or media server, surf the web, run Netflix, rent new release movies and TV shows in SD and HD (Playstation Network Video Store -- similar to Apple TV) and of course it plays games as well.

 

 

I hope this helped a little, Erik!


Edited by Landis - 1/9/11 at 7:42pm
post #3 of 37

I personally find the 120Hz option produces very strange results, and I seldom use it outside of gaming. Granted, my Samsung was one of the first sets with 120Hz (back in 2008 it was near TOTL) so the technology may have advanced markedly since then, but the best way to describe it would be that it makes everything look like a soap opera or video game--it's too smooth, too artificial, like a bad approximation of realistic motion. Supposedly there are different levels of effect, but all of them look wrong to me.

 

If you have the opportunity, check out one of the big box stores and watch some programming for yourself with the effect turned on. Personally I find it almost useless, but like I said, that was back in 2008. Maybe it's gotten a lot better in two years.

post #4 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

I personally find the 120Hz option produces very strange results, and I seldom use it outside of gaming. Granted, my Samsung was one of the first sets with 120Hz (back in 2008 it was near TOTL) so the technology may have advanced markedly since then, but the best way to describe it would be that it makes everything look like a soap opera or video game--it's too smooth, too artificial, like a bad approximation of realistic motion. Supposedly there are different levels of effect, but all of them look wrong to me.

 

If you have the opportunity, check out one of the big box stores and watch some programming for yourself with the effect turned on. Personally I find it almost useless, but like I said, that was back in 2008. Maybe it's gotten a lot better in two years.



This is exactly the problem I seem to have with the 120 Hz refresh rate. Every time I go to a big TV display at any store and look at the display of TVs playing at 120 Hz, motion just seems.....off. I especially noticed it when I was walking through Sam's Club a few months back and saw them playing back Avatar at 120 Hz. The projection in the theater seemed excellent, but something about the way the same movie was presented on TV at 120 Hz was unsettling.

post #5 of 37

Most of the 120 Hz TVs have something called motion interpolation. This is what causes the unnaturally fluid motion people are complaining about, and you should be able to disable it. It may play a role in reducing motion blur, but I've read that motion blur on LCDs is mainly caused by the panel's response time. You may want to go with 120 Hz is for Blu Ray playback though- movies are usually 24 fps, which divides evenly into a 120 Hz refresh rate, but not 60.

 

Subjectively speaking though, I have both 60 and 120 Hz TVs, and you can notice a "strobe light" sort of effect with fast motion on the 60 Hz sets. I don't notice it on my 120 Hz set. I've only really noticed it watching baseball when a bat is swung and with hard hit balls, to give you an idea where it occurs/is noticeable. Size is what matters to me most, and it's mostly dictated by how close I can sit and the size of the room. I also have to ask why you aren't interested in plasma. They are routinely picked as the best TVs on the market and generally accepted as having superior black levels, contrast, and less motion blur. One other thing I'll mention is you might not miss 1080p on a TV around 40". I would check out www.avsforum.com (I hope it's ok to link to other forums here) and see what calibration settings people are using when you do make a purchase. They may not be perfect for your set, but 95% is good enough for me, and much, much better than how TVs look out of the box.

post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerformanceFirst View Post

Most of the 120 Hz TVs have something called motion interpolation. This is what causes the unnaturally fluid motion people are complaining about, and you should be able to disable it. It may play a role in reducing motion blur, but I've read that motion blur on LCDs is mainly caused by the panel's response time. You may want to go with 120 Hz is for Blu Ray playback though- movies are usually 24 fps, which divides evenly into a 120 Hz refresh rate, but not 60.

 

Subjectively speaking though, I have both 60 and 120 Hz TVs, and you can notice a "strobe light" sort of effect with fast motion on the 60 Hz sets. I don't notice it on my 120 Hz set. I've only really noticed it watching baseball when a bat is swung and with hard hit balls, to give you an idea where it occurs/is noticeable. Size is what matters to me most, and it's mostly dictated by how close I can sit and the size of the room. I also have to ask why you aren't interested in plasma. They are routinely picked as the best TVs on the market and generally accepted as having superior black levels, contrast, and less motion blur. One other thing I'll mention is you might not miss 1080p on a TV around 40". I would check out www.avsforum.com (I hope it's ok to link to other forums here) and see what calibration settings people are using when you do make a purchase. They may not be perfect for your set, but 95% is good enough for me, and much, much better than how TVs look out of the box.



I think this is more or less why I'm not impressed. My set was one of the early ones to have the technology, and as such it's just a lump sum, all-or-nothing setting. I can change the degree to which the effect is applied (evidently low through high), but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect on the result. I understand the principle behind the 120Hz refresh rate and its compatibility with both 24fps and 30fps and wondered why the interpolation was mandatory--evidently it isn't and my set's implementation of the 120Hz technology is limited. I gather from your post that newer sets more commonly have the option to turn off the interpolation. Hopefully the ones UE looks at have this option.

post #7 of 37

Erik, I haven't read everything others have said but I can offer my experience and advice.  You, as most of us, are already attuned to viewing in 60hz and ghosting, as long as not atrociously bad, is something the brain can largely compensate for.  Now the best Motion flow out atm I have seen is the Sony NX810 series.  this is because it does the best at handling the flaws of motion flow inherent in the technology.  With high speed action sequences you really want 240hz or higher, 120hz is a meh, step up.  The problem lies in the slower to medium speed scenes.  You will see stutter, artifacting and weird anomalies that the brain wont adjust for the same way.  Unless you are willing to pay big and come strong motion flow isn't able to provide the performance you are asking for at that price point yet IMO.  Using headphones as an analogy it would be like sacrificing the mids to boost the treble or bass response.  Don't do it unless you mostly do action movies and fast paced sports.      

post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerformanceFirst View Post

I also have to ask why you aren't interested in plasma. They are routinely picked as the best TVs on the market and generally accepted as having superior black levels, contrast, and less motion blur.


Plasmas consume a lot of energy so utilities go up and they generate a lot of ambient heat.  We live in California, I hate turning on my AC because my monitor or TV is cooking the room.  They are also subject to screen burn-in and sometimes have that weird motion sickness effect on some people due to the motion of the plasma within the cells.  Plus they weigh more and are more delicate and are now in limited choices now that Pioneer has left the market leaving Panasonic to it.  

post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

I personally find the 120Hz option produces very strange results, and I seldom use it outside of gaming. Granted, my Samsung was one of the first sets with 120Hz (back in 2008 it was near TOTL) so the technology may have advanced markedly since then, but the best way to describe it would be that it makes everything look like a soap opera or video game--it's too smooth, too artificial, like a bad approximation of realistic motion. Supposedly there are different levels of effect, but all of them look wrong to me.

 

Ditto!

 

It makes movies look too realistic. It's excellent for things like sports, but it makes a Hollywood movie seem like it's filmed by someone walking around with a home video camera. Like Argyris said, it looks just like watching a soap opera or sitcom as opposed to a real high production movie.

 

You can always turn it off, so just use it for sports and animated/CG stuff and you'll be fine.

post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by PerformanceFirst View Post

I also have to ask why you aren't interested in plasma. They are routinely picked as the best TVs on the market and generally accepted as having superior black levels, contrast, and less motion blur.


Plasmas consume a lot of energy so utilities go up and they generate a lot of ambient heat.  We live in California, I hate turning on my AC because my monitor or TV is cooking the room.  They are also subject to screen burn-in and sometimes have that weird motion sickness effect on some people due to the motion of the plasma within the cells.  Plus they weigh more and are more delicate and are now in limited choices now that Pioneer has left the market leaving Panasonic to it.  

That's not really true, if you go ahead and look up the new energy star requirements for the new plasmas.  They only fall behind the LCDs a bit. 

 

As for the refresh rate it really depends on the TV's you're going to watch or your preference.  120's offer in a sense more details if you are going to watch action flicks, or i you're a film buff that wants to see every detail, or if you want to be able to see every hidden egg in the films.  If you are going to buy the 120 look up the reviews because some LCDs do execute it very poorly and almost looks like a 60 rather than a 120.
 

post #11 of 37

It seems to me that 120 Hz is a matter of tastes, on the other hand, I'd want a TV that can display 1080p, displaying a blu ray at its native resolution is interesting, isn't it?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

I'm in the market for a new HDTV, my first TV since '97. :D I've been shopping TVs and have been mostly looking at models around 40"-42", LCD and 1080i.

Edited by khaos974 - 1/10/11 at 1:42am
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by funniecow View Post



That's not really true, if you go ahead and look up the new energy star requirements for the new plasmas.  They only fall behind the LCDs a bit. 

 

As for the refresh rate it really depends on the TV's you're going to watch or your preference.  120's offer in a sense more details if you are going to watch action flicks, or i you're a film buff that wants to see every detail, or if you want to be able to see every hidden egg in the films.  If you are going to buy the 120 look up the reviews because some LCDs do execute it very poorly and almost looks like a 60 rather than a 120.
 

 

Good point, modern plasmas are still a relevant option as their cons have notably subsided, although somewhat still there (image burn-in, power consumption, etc.) but they do still have the better picture in most cases.

 

Also, I should have mentioned earlier that after viewing 120Hz+ for a while, you'll notice the eye fatigue has been heavily reduced, which is something has plagued every kind of display, so this is a huge plus even if you don't seem to notice an issue.

 

@Argyris, I'm surprised you've been playing video games fine on a 120Hz! It creates a crippling lag in fast paced movements and actions (such as in FPS and fighting games) although we found out at work while fooling around with Gran Turismo on a 3DTV that more cinematic games, especially while using a steering wheel, balanced out fine.
 

post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landis View Post

 

@Argyris, I'm surprised you've been playing video games fine on a 120Hz! It creates a crippling lag in fast paced movements and actions (such as in FPS and fighting games) although we found out at work while fooling around with Gran Turismo on a 3DTV that more cinematic games, especially while using a steering wheel, balanced out fine.
 


I'm not really into the faster paced stuff, so it works okay. I actually originally tried it in order to try to smooth out the craptacular graphics of the original N64 and SNES my friend dragged over to my house. I couldn't tell one way or the other if it made a big difference, but since most of our gaming on those rigs consisted of things with Mario in the title, I couldn't imagine much of a penalty. If I were a hardcore gamer, I would definitely consider the lag issue more important.

post #14 of 37

I recently bought a 46" Toshiba LCD for about $700, which is the price they're are going for right now and it has the 120Hz refresh rate. If it's anything more, you are being ripped off. I do notice a difference with 120Hz turned on, but it seems weird when you're watching regular movies (which 60Hz is good enough). 120Hz is probably better if you are watching sports, lots of action, or playing games.  

post #15 of 37

60 hertz should be fine. A monitor also refreshes at 60 Hz, so if you have no problem looking at a video on your computer's monitor, a 60 Hz TV is going to be fine. Additionally a 120 Hz TV are actually still using a 60 fps refresh and merely use buffering and intrapolation to reduce motion blur. 

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