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How High a Hertz Rating Does My HDTV Need?
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Gregory Quick has been involved in the computer and consumer industry for more than 30 years...

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How High a Hertz Rating Does My HDTV Need?

Is it worth the extra bucks?

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If you’re searching for the perfect home theater experience, you may be confused about how high a Hertz rating you should look for when shopping for an HDTV.


Consumer Electronics fans do not all agree on what constitutes the best components, and one area that seems to create a good deal of heat is whether you need a 240Hz or faster High Definition Television (HDTV). The advocates for the technology claim that faster provides the clearest, crispest picture available and that is why they demand a set. The flip side of the issue is that it is all hype and that a viewer cannot see the difference. You may not have encountered the issue in your last shopping spree for your latest HDTV as they are nowhere near as common as the 60Hz and 120Hz that dominate the market, but that is quickly changing.

Let's take a closer look at Hertz Ratings, and what that means when you come to the Adorama TVs & Entertainment department to buy your dream home theater setup.

The refreshing process

At the most basic level a Hertz rating refers to the number of times per second the pixels used to display an image are refreshed. The pixels on a 60Hz HDTV refresh 60 times per second, 120Hz HDTVs refresh 120 times per second, and 240Hz HDTVs refresh 240 times per second.

Seems pretty simple, and faster is better, right? Well, that is not quite how it works. The images you see on your television are actually refreshed at 60Hz, since that is the speed of the source footage. So what happens at faster speeds? Well the television interpolates what is going to happen between actual frames using a technology called motion estimation and motion compensation (MEMC) and puts that in between frames. At 120Hz it adds one created scene between two actual frames while at 240Hz it creates three frames between actual ones. 600Hz creates 10.

So is there any benefit to this process, which is so fast that the eye cannot really track them? Probably, at least in very fast action scenes where the extra frames can help smooth out blur that might be occurring due to the filming process. There is also technology that is now being incorporated into some displays called scanning backlight technology that imitates the affect you get with a 240Hz MEMC. Simple, right? Critics of scanning backlight technology claim that it actually blurs the images or makes scenes dimmer. A number of manufactures have or are using backlight technology while a few are using 240HZ.

To further complicate matters some HDTV manufacturers are occasionally claiming 240Hz when they are using backlighting. I have heard from some advocates that the 240Hz makes a greater difference the larger display that you use but I have not seen any research that backs that up, which does not mean that it is not true. You can find some people that claim that it is all marketing hype and others that it is not, but word of mouth is that there is more than a kernel of truth to it.

Then there is the 600Hz, and there will soon be even faster ones. They are becoming more popular at the highest end displays, large screen plasmas with 3D. From the feedback I have heard if you are a fan of fast action sports such as hockey, these are the displays for you- or if you like 3D.

Let's look at some of the HDTVs sold at Adorama that a home enthusiast might want to consider. Keep in mind that all of the models and prices listed here are current as of November 11, 2012.

 

The Adorama-priced $1,717.17 Panasonic TC-P65GT30 65" Class VIERA GT30 Series  is an example of a top of the line 600HZ 3D plasma television. The 66-inch 3D plasma display supports 1080p and uses Panasonic’s Full HD Frame Sequential technology to create its 3D images, running at 120 per second.

Ideal for a home entertainment center it has four HDMI ports so that you can have a blu-ray player and Xbox connected simultaneously so that switching between uses is almost instantaneous. The set also has the ability to automatically choose settings when in game mode for optimal viewing.


A smaller 3D display that also uses 600Hz refresh rates is the LG 42PM4700 42" Class HD 720p Plasma 3D Smart TV (Adorama price: $549), but w2th a smaller screen size comes a sm,aller price tag at $549. The 42-inch plasma display supports 720p and comes with a pair of LG AG-S350 Active 3D glasses. It can connect to the Internet and run your web content and supports Windows 7.

 

Down in the land of 240Hz is the Samsung UN46ES7100 46" Class 1080p LED HDTV, an Adorama-priced $2,197.99 LED HDTV display hat supports 1080p. The 46-inch UN46ES7100 has both 2D and 3D modes and includes built-in Wi-Fi.

By using Samsung’s Smart Hub a user can also access digital content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora, Facebook and Twitter and explore other new interactive TV experiences. The display allows users to multitask so that you can update Facebook or check e-mail while watching a video.

The Toshiba 55L7200 55" Cinema Series 3D  is a solid offering from Toshiba in the 240Hz space. The Adorama-priced $1,899 3D LED HDTV has a 55-inch display that supports 1080p and has four HDMI ports to create a hub for a media center that requires high resolution display technology and has built-in Wi-Fi for Internet access.

 

While a lot of focus is on the higher refresh rate systems it would be foolish to ignore the ones that run at the 120Hz rate. Just look at what you get with the LG 65LM6200 65" Class LED LCD Cinema 3D Smart TV. Available at Adorama for  $2,399, this 3D 65-inch LED LCD display supports 1080p resolution and features six sets of 3D glasses so that you do not come up short when having friends over.

The large display is Skype-ready, has built-in Wi-Fi and features LG Smart TV experience that enables full web browsing and enables users to stream video, run apps and view other content on the system.



Add High-quality Components

A display does not make a home theater, it is just the center point, so you will need to surround it with components of equal quality to both get the best out of your display and from to provide the experience that you are seeking. Start with a good Blu-ray player such as the LG BD620 3D Blu-ray Disc Player w/ Wi-Fi, that has full HD 1080p support and can connect to the internet with its Wi-Fi. Sound quality is also important and you might want to look at an offering such as the $599.99  Denon DHT-1513BA Home Theater System (below). It features a Denon AVR-1513 AV Surround Receiver and a Boston Acoustics MCS 160 5.1 Surround Speaker System with four speakers.


Bringing It Together
When you’re ready to bring together your home theater, Adorama can help. We’ve got the home entertainment equipment you need—from televisions and receivers to speakers, DVD/Blu-ray players, and complete Home Theater systems and Home Multimedia Servers. Let the experts help you create your dream movie theater.

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