Out of all the features of Monitors and TV two features are little bit confusing, those are frame rate and refresh rate. After reading this article Frame rate Vs refresh rate, your doubts on frame rate and refresh rate will be cleared.
When we talk about any display system let it be smart phones, television sets and monitors these two common words knocks our head. Many times, people find these two terms bit confusing. So i decided to write this article Frame rate Vs Refresh rate which will clear your doubts.
FRAME RATE VS REFRESH RATE
So, in this lesson, let’s understand what is called frame rate and refresh rate. Now we will explore these two words and specifications.
FRAME RATE PER SECOND (FPS)
The frame rate is defined for the content which is going to be shown on these displays and an important feature to discuss in this article Frame rate Vs Refresh rate.
So, if you take the case of any video, then it consists of the multiple frames or the still images which are slightly different from one another.
And when these different frames are shown sequentially in a very short interval, then it gives the human eye an illusion of the motion.
So, the frame rate defines the rate at which the frame appears on the display. And it is defined as the number of frames per second or simply known as FPS.
And if you see worldwide, the different types of content are displayed at different frame rate. For example, the movies are displayed at 24 frames per second.
But in case of standard television shows, they are displayed at either 25 frames per second or at the 30 frames per second.
Frame rate also defers from country to country.
So, the countries which were following the NTSC standard, the standard frame rate in these countries was 30 frames per second.
While the countries which were following the PAL standard, in these countries the frame rate was 25 FPS.
What are these standards which are driving the world of digital television and digital video broadcasting?
In world there were three major analog color television system called NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.
derived from National television system committee. It is the analog television color standard and was first introduced in America during 1950s.
Now this color system is obsolete and non-effective. The countries using NTSC system are converted to ATSC, DVB , ISDB and DTMB.
ATSC (Advanced television systems committee) standard is the American set of standard for digital television and digital video transmission.
It is the replacement of NTSC and mostly used in United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan. The standard frame rate in these countries is up to 120 frames per second.
DVB (Digital video broadcasting) standard is a set of global open standards for digital televisions and digital video transmission. It is mostly used in European countries.
The standard frame rate in these countries is up to 50 FPS.
ISDB (Integrated services digital broadcasting) standard is a Japanese standard for digital televisions. Initially it was started at Japan in the year 2003. A lot of countries have adopted this standard.
It is mostly being used in Asian, African and American countries. The standard frame rate in these countries is up to 60 FPS.
DTMB (Digital terrestrial multimedia broadcasting) standard is the digital television standard developed by China. Asian and African Countries are using this standard.
Asian countries like Pakistan, Cuba, Laos, China, Hong Kong, Cambodia and Macau. African countries like Comoros and Caribbean countries like Cuba are using this standard. The standard frame rate in these countries is up to 50 FPS.
PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is a color encoding system for analog television used in broadcast television systems in the most countries broadcasting at 25FPS.
This system is an old system and countries using this system are converted to above new standards like DVB, ISDB and DTMB.
SECAM (Sequential color with memory) is an analog color television system first used in France. It is one of three old standards and no longer exists.
The countries which were using this standard, are converting to DVB system.
So, currently four standards ATSC, DVB, ISDB and DTMB are effective throughout the world.
So, apart from these television shows, if we talk about the high action sports or some live broadcast, then it is broadcasted at 60 FPS.
And apart from that if we talk about the games, then usually they are played at 60 or higher frame rates.
And the content provided by the video-sharing or the streaming services on the internet varies from 24 FPS to 60 FPS. So, as you can see, the different types of content is provided at different frames per second.
And when we watch or interact with this content on our smart phone display or on the television, then the refresh rate comes into the picture.
So, basically, the refresh rate defines how many times per second the display is getting updated.
For some television display, if the refresh rate is 60 Hz, then it means that the display will get updated at 60 times per second.
The ideal refresh rate of today’s monitor and television is 60 Hz.
But there are some displays which are also available at higher refresh rates. And usually, there is a belief that the higher refresh rate gives a better viewing experience.
But actually, it depends on the frame rate of the content which is going to be shown on the display.
So, for example, if you watch 30 FPS content on either 60 Hz or 120 Hz display, then you won’t feel much difference in terms of the viewing experience.
So, in case of the 60 Hz display, the same frame is displayed twice per second. In the case of the 120 Hz display, the same frame will be displayed 4 times per second.
On the other end, if you are watching any movie which is filmed at 24 frames per second, then on the 60 Hz display it is shown using the pull-down technique.
That means every alternate frame is displayed 3 times and the two times respectively on the display screen. And except some panning shots, this technique won’t get noticed by the human eye.
On the other end, if the same film is displayed on 120 Hz display, then each frame is displayed 5 times per second.
In short, to get a better viewing experience, the refresh rate of the display should be more than the frame rate of the content.
So, if you watch 30 FPS content on 60 Hz or120 Hz TV, then it won’t make much difference in terms of the viewing experience.
But these high refresh rate displays will be very useful when you are interacting with the contents which is displayed on the screen.
For example, with high refresh rate displays on the smart phone, when you are scrolling the screen or the interacting with the screen, it gives you a smoother experience.
Or even when you are playing the game with the high frame rate on such screen, it gives you a smoother experience.
So, let’s say you are playing some game on the PC which renders the frame at 120 FPS.
So, to play such a game, the native refresh rate of the display should be at least 120 Hz. So, if you play such a game on the 60 Hz monitor, then it can show only 60 frames per second.
On the other end, let’s say, you have a 120Hz display and the PC is able to output the frames at the 90 FPS.
So, if there is no synchronization between the monitor and the graphics card, then you might see a screen tearing while playing the game.
That means the information of two or more frames will get displayed on the same frame. So, to avoid such screen tearing, the different synchronization techniques like G-Sync and the Free-sync can be used.
So, to use such technology, both monitor and the graphics card should support these technologies.
So, in case of the G-Sync, there is some special chip in the display which communicates with the graphics card.
And in a way, it lets the monitor to vary its refresh rate to match the frame rate of the graphics card or vice a Versa.
The graphics card can match its frame rate based on the maximum refresh rate of the display.
So, this AMD’s Free-Sync is similar to the G-Sync technology, but it doesn’t require the proprietary chip in the monitor.
And instead, this Free-Sync relies on the display port’s adaptive sync specification.
So, in short, using this synchronization technology, it is possible to use even lower refresh rate monitors with the high-end GPUs. Or vice a Versa, the higher refresh rate monitors with the low-end GPUs.
But of course, with the high refresh rate monitors, the gaming experience would be much smoother.
And today, not only 120 Hz but even 240 or480 Hz displays are also available. And these displays claims to provide the motion blur-free viewing experience with the high frame rates.
So, for this displays, the native refresh rate is still either 60 or 120 Hz, but using the different techniques like interpolation and the black frame insertion, virtually they increase the frame rate of the display. And using this they try to reduce the motion blur.
In case of the interpolation, based on the current frame and the next frame, the display itself generates the intermediate frames.
BLACK FRAME INSERTION
While in case of the black frame insertion, to reduce the motion blur, the alternate black frame is inserted between the regular frames.
Using these few techniques, TV manufacturers market the high refresh rate displays.
So, in conclusion, the high refresh rate displays are only good when the content is also available at the high frame rates.This is the end of my article Frame rate Vs Refresh rate.
I hope in this article Frame rate Vs Refresh rate, you understood what is Frame rate Vs Refresh rate, and how they are related to each other.
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To know more about different features of monitors look into my last article “EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MONITORS (PART-II)’’.
Have a good day!