What is Frame Rate and Refresh Rate?- explained
The smartphone display, the television, or the gaming monitor, if you take any type of display, the frame rate and refresh rate are the two terms that are quite often used with these displays.
And many times, people find these two terms a bit confusing. So, in this article, let’s understand what is the frame rate and refresh rate.
And let’s start with the frame rate.
What is Frame Rate?
So, the frame rate is defined for the content which is going to be shown on these displays.
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 by the FPS.
And if you see worldwide, the different types of content are displayed at different frame rates.
For example, the movies are displayed at 24frames per second. While if you see the standard television shows, then they are displayed at either 25 frames per second or at 30 frames per second.
And here the frame rate differs from country to country. So, the countries which follow the NTSC standard, the standard frame rate in these countries is 30 frames per second.
While the countries which follow the PAL standard, in these countries the frame rate is 25 FPS.
So, apart from these television shows, if we talk about the high action sports or some live broadcast, then it is broadcasted at60 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 type of content is provided at different frames per second.
What is the Refresh Rate?
And when we watch or interact with this content on our smartphone 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.
So, for some television displays, if the refresh rate is 60 Hz, then it means that the display will get updated 60 times per second.
So, the typical 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.
we see so many televisions with a higher refresh rate and so many monitors with a higher refresh rate in the present market
But actually, it depends on the frame rate of the content which is going to be shown on the display.
Relation Between Frame Rate and Refresh Rate:
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 the case of the 60 Hz display, the same frame is displayed twice per second. while 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 a 120 Hz display, then each frame is displayed 5 times per second.
So, 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 (Frames per second) 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 are displayed on the screen.
For example, with a high refresh rate display on the smartphone, when you are scrolling the screen or 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 a 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 Freesync can be used.
So, to use such technology, both the monitor and the graphics card should support these technologies.
So, in the 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 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 FreeSync is similar to the G-Sync technology, but it doesn’t require the proprietary chip in the monitor.
And instead, this FreeSync relies on the DisplayPort’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 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 or 480 Hz displays are also available. And these displays claim to provide the motion blur-free viewing experience with the high frame rates.
So, for these 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. So, in the case of the interpolation, based on the current frame and the next frame, the display itself generates the intermediate frames.
While in the case of the black frame insertion, to reduce the motion blur, the alternate black frame is inserted between the regular frames.
So, 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.
These high refresh rates are also used in the mobiles this year. And the mobile companies are using these high refresh rates for their marketing purposes.
I hope in this article, you understood what is frame rate and the refresh rate, and how they are related to each other.
So, if you have any questions or suggestions, do let me know here in the comment section below.
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