If you have been looking at buying an LCD flat screen tv, no doubt you have read about the 120Hz models. You are probably wondering if the 120Hz models are worth the extra cost. The value of the 120hz feature has been widely debated in recent months. There are a number of things to consider before making your decision.
In the early days of the LCD vs Plasma tv wars, one of the biggest drawbacks to purchasing an LCD tv was that they were prone to motion blur and a somewhat choppy picture, especially in times when there was a lot of fast action such as sports or in movie scenes such as car chases. Although there has been a great deal of improvement over the years in the tvs ability to handle fast motion, LCD is still battling the stigma of not having as smooth of a picture as plasmas.
Enter the 120Hz tv. As a direct response, LCD manufacturers have incorporated 120Hz tvs into their newest tv models. These tvs have refresh rates that are twice as fast as the "standard" 60Hz models.
Those who are supporters of the 120Hz technology claim that the picture is noticeably smoother with crystal clear clarity, especially during fast action scenes or sports. Another benefit is the ability to produce an almost 3D-like picture.
On the other hand, others say that they can not notice a difference when comparing side to side with the "standard" 60Hz models. They feel that the 120Hz models are simply marketing gimmicks to sell higher priced tv.
So who is right? As usual there is a middle ground. Put simply, a 120Hz tv will take a standard 60Hz signal and simply replicate it twice which by itself does little to enhance the picture quality. The real difference is made when applying a video processing feature for motion enhancement. Each company has there own name for this process. For example, Samsung's feature is called AMP for Auto Motion Plus. This feature takes the screen and interpolates the image to provide a smoother picture to reduce judder.
Does the motion enhancement provide a more satisfactory picture? Again this is open to debate. Motion enhancement at its best provides a noticeably smoother, stable picture, free of jutter, motion blur and ghosting. Some describe gaming in 120Hz as making a 30 frames per second game look like a 60 frames per second game, while others are mesmerized by the ability to make sports and movies look live and 3D-like.
At its worst motion enhancement, especially during fast motion can introduce split second glitches in the picture called artifacts which can obviously be distracting. Others feel that while documentary type shows like Planet Earth can provide stunning stable live action shots, that motion enhancement takes away from the cinematic feel of movies by providing an almost too realistic, live tv or soap opera feel instead of a cinematic experience.
It is important to point out that motion enhancement can be turned on or off, so if you prefer to watch a movie without the motion enhancement you can simply turn it off.
For the time being the choice to go with a 120Hz LCD flat screen tv is purely one of personal choice and budget. Keep in mind that this is a very new technology and as with all new technologies there are still some things that need to be perfected. There is little debate that 120Hz is the wave of the future and that technology will only improve over time. If price is not of primary concern or if you can spare the extra dollars in an attempt to future proof your tv purchase then it would seem to make perfect sense to go with the additional features and benefits that a 120Hz LCD flat screen tv can offer. If price is a primary factor and you are working on a limited budget then one of the standard models would be a fine choice until the 120Hz models are perfected.