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Read more on processing rates

Processing rates explained: How they improve watching TV

When it comes to buying a new TV it's difficult to separate the specs that matter from those that don't. However, one spec you should take notice of is the processing rate - particularly if you're a sports fan.

Watching Sport Small

What is processing rate?

When watching TV the picture you see is actually a series of images shown at high speed to create a continuous moving image. Just like a flipbook or film reel.

The processing rate - aka the refresh rate - tells you how fast the images are flashing up on the screen.

In the technical specifications, you'll see it measured in hertz (Hz) - the higher the number, the more times per second the image refreshes on your screen. This makes the picture smoother and less blurry.

How does a high processing rate make a difference?

When you're watching a TV show, film or sports event, the actual footage doesn't refresh itself at a higher rate than 60Hz - that's its limit. 

But new ultra high def (UHD) have processing rates well above 60Hz - some have even broken 1,000Hz.

Through a bit of technical trickery, these TVs create a smoother picture and cut down on motion blur.

Backlight flashing is one technique. This is where the TVs backlight goes dark between video frames - it might sound strange, but your eye can't spot the change at this speed, so all you see is a smoother image.

Some TVs also use black-frame insertion, where, as the name suggests, black frames are insterted between each image. Again, the naked eye cannot spot this, and the image produced appears smoother.

Should I have high or normal processing rates?

It depends on what you're watching. High processing rates are great for fast-moving sports, where players are constantly on the go. 

Frame insertion on TVs with higher processing rates can make images on the screen seem smoother. It reduces motion blur making it easier to follow an end-to-end counter attack at Wembley, passing down the line at Twickenham or a long rally at Wimbledon.

When to turn off your frame insertion:

Although this frame insertion technique can improve watching sports, it can hamper other types of programme - such as a movie or TV soap opera. Frame istertion can look jarring on images that are not fast moving.

So if you're watching something where people move as they do out on the street in the real world, then maybe disable the feature in your TV's settings so it runs at the regular 60Hz rate.


Rather than specifically measuring processing rates, Samsung attribute a Picture Quality Index Rating or PQI to each of their TVs. This allows you to easily compare picture quality across the whole Samsung range. Each TV is attributed a number that takes into account the standard of resolution, colour, brightness, contrast, motion, noise reduction and immersivity - the higher the number, the better the picture quality. The PQI ranges from 100 - 2400, and is listed in the technical specs on each product page.

View our range of TVs. 

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