Smart TV: who needs 120 Hz

One of the parameters that today influences the purchase of Smart TVs, but also smartphones and tablets, is the refresh rate: here's what it is in a simple way

For a few years now we've been hearing more and more about refresh rate. For years, decades, the term had remained in the background, for the exclusive use of "insiders", but for some time now you can almost always find in the specifications of Smart TVs and smartphones in the entry refresh rate.

Absolutely normal, then, that someone gets the question: what is the refresh rate, and who needs 120 Hz? A legitimate and useful doubt, because today the refresh rate is one of the parameters that can move the purchase from one product to another. In this short "user manual" we explain what it is in a simple way, what changes between the various refresh rates, which are the most popular and the most useful and, of course, who needs 120 Hz, without forgetting the 144 Hz that, we anticipate, are useful almost exclusively to the most avid gamers.

What is refresh rate

The refresh rate of a screen or, in English, refresh rate is a definition that video game fans know well because for them it is one of the most important features of a monitor or Smart TV. To fully understand what it is, you first need to understand how any screen works, whether it's on a smartphone, a PC or a television.

Screens show moving images thanks to the fact that they switch from one image to another at a very fast rate, so fast that the human eye doesn't even notice that it's a lot of static images and the brain actually believes they're moving. A bit like the flip books, the small books of many years ago that, browsed quickly, recreated a story in motion.

The refresh rate of a screen indicates how many images it can reproduce in one second, to generate a video. It's measured in Hertz (Hz), so a 60 Hz display is capable of "changing" 60 images in a single second, and likewise a 90 Hz medium, and so on. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the video feels.

Now it should be clear why a video game enthusiast considers a high refresh rate essential: the faster the Smart TV or monitor displays what's happening during the game, the greater the chances that the player will react in time to dodge, say, an opponent's attack.

What are the frequencies used for and what does it change

When the refresh rate drops, not only does the video feel not very smooth - sometimes "jagged" - but the eye itself also perceives a visible flicker, an effect that also ends up straining the eyes. Today the most frequent refresh rates for consumer screens are basically three: the "old" 60 Hz, 90 Hz and 120 Hz.

When switching between 60 and 90 Hz the naked eye can see an increase in screen fluidity, while between 90 and 120 Hz the difference is less evident than one might think. The 120 Hz are nowadays useful mainly in the latest generation of video games, even more so for the 144 Hz used almost exclusively by gamers.