Frame Rate and Refresh Rate Explained
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Frame Rate and Refresh Rate Explained

August 26, 2019


The
smartphone display, the television or the gaming monitor, if you take any type of display,
the frame rate and the refresh rate are the two terms which are quite often used with
these displays. And many times, people find these two terms
bit confusing. So, in this video, let’s understand what is
frame rate and refresh rate. And let’s start with the 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 rate. For example, the movies are displayed at 24
frames per second. While if you see the standard television shows,
then they are displayed at either 25 frames per second or at the 30 frames per second. And here the frame rate defers 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 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 type of
content is provided at different frames per second. 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 display, if the refresh
rate is 60 Hz, then it means that the display will get updated at 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. 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. 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 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 content on 60 Hz or
120 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 smartphone, 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 120
Hz 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 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 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 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 or
480 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. So, in case of the interpolation, based on
the current frame and the next frame, the display itself generates the intermediate
frames. While in 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. I hope in this video, you understood what
is frame rate and the refresh rate, and how they are related to each other. So, if you have any question or suggestion,
do let me know here in the comment section below. If you like this video, hit the like button
and subscribe to the channel for more such videos.

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  1. The timestamps for the different topics covered in the video:

    0:35 What is Frame Rate?

    1:16 Frame Rate comparison for different types of content

    2:30 What is Refresh Rate?

    2:55 How the refresh rate and frame rate are related?

    4:30 What is Nvidia G-Sync and AMD's FreeSync technology

    6:35 High refresh rate displays

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