60Hz vs 120Hz For TVs – Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Answer:

Choosing between a 120Hz and a 60Hz TV mostly depends on what type of content you are watching. 120Hz TVs are better for playing video games and watching native 24FPS content.

Most new TVs support 120Hz though, so you should focus on other important TV specifications as well, such as the panel type, response time speed, input lag, etc.

Wondering whether you should purchase a 120Hz TV, and is it worth the upgrade from 60Hz?

Well, given that most modern TVs are 120Hz, you won’t have much of a choice if you want a brand new TV.

Unlike other specifications related to new TVs such as 4K Ultra HD resolution, HDR, and OLED technology, switching over to a new TV solely because it supports 120Hz won’t be worth it for most people excluding gamers who have compatible consoles or gaming PCs.

In this article, we’ll go into details about what exactly a 120Hz TV offers as opposed to the standard 60Hz TV, after which you can decide for yourself whether the upgrade is worth it.

120Hz TV vs 60Hz TV: Content Source & Type

SONY 4K HDR TV

First of all, you should know the difference between true 120Hz and ‘fake’ 120Hz.

Some TV manufacturers may advertise a feature of a TV as ‘Motion Rate 120Hz’. This isn’t a true 120Hz refresh rate as the TV can only display up to 60FPS, and simulate the rest to make motion appear more fluid. 

This is referred to as motion smoothing or framerate interpolation, which you can learn more about here.

So, make sure that the TV you’re interested supports a native 120Hz refresh rate!

Most new 4K TVs support 120Hz, but usually only at lower 1080p and/or 1440p resolutions, though there are high-end 4K 120Hz TVs available as well, such as LG’s new OLED TVs with HDMI 2.1.

In order to make use of a 120Hz refresh rate, your device must support it too.

All new PC gaming graphics cards support 120Hz and over, but as far as consoles go, the Xbox One X and S support 120Hz at 1080p and 1440p, while the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S support 120Hz at 4K, too.

So, if you are watching content up to 60FPS on your 120Hz TV, the image won’t be different than it would be on a 60Hz TV. And since that makes for the majority of content, many find 120Hz unnecessary for TVs.

An exception to this would be watching native 24 FPS content from a media source such as Blu-ray.

Because the source feeds the display 24 frames per second, a 60Hz TV has to alternate between adding 3 and 2 frames in-between those 24 FPS in order to produce the picture.

This method is referred to as ‘3:2 pulldown‘ and can introduce slight judder in certain scenes, though many don’t notice it all.

A 120Hz TV, on the other hand, adds 5 frames in-between those 24 frames per second (5:5 pulldown), which offers a smoother viewing experience since the number of frames added is always the same.

Some 60Hz TVs can remove this 24p judder by changing their refresh rate to 48Hz or 72Hz when 24FPS content is detected, so you don’t have to rely on 120Hz for that alone.

does refresh rate matter on led tv

Conclusion

All in all, if you have or plan on getting a gaming PC or a console that supports 120Hz, you should definitely get a 120Hz TV as it makes for a more responsive and immersive gaming experience.

Keep in mind that to get most out of 120Hz, you should also be able to maintain around 120FPS (Frames Per Second). 60FPS will look the same at 60Hz and 120Hz, but in order to benefit from a high refresh rate, you’ll need at least ~90FPS.

Most Xbox One games are limited to 30FPS or 60FPS, so the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz won’t be very noticeable when it comes to motion clarity. However, you get a lower input lag, which is great for competitive gaming.

If you just want to watch movies and TV shows, 120Hz is really not necessary. In case you’re sensitive to 24p judder, make sure that the TV has a feature that can fix it.

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Joseph Moore
Joseph Moore

Joseph has probably spent thousands of hours learning about displays in his free time and prior work experience at HP. He now writes and manages DisplayNinja to ensure it stays as the people's favorite resource.