Many of the specifications that are listed on new HDTVs are important, yet two of these specifications are not as important as they seem. Read this article to learn about the Refresh Rate and Contrast Ratio and how TV manufacturers use them for marketing .

The refresh rate is the speed at which your TV’s screen refreshes the image. It is measured in hertz. The most common refresh rate is 60Hz. American TV pictures are broadcast and recorded at 60Hz. 

 Some LCDs or LEDs go up to 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz. In theory, a faster refresh rate produces smoother images. In actuality, that is not necessarily true. Currently 1080p with a 60 Hz response rate is the standard used for Blu-Ray disks. No media, including broadcast TV, is available with a higher resolution or response rate. The 120Hz and 240Hz that you see in some HDTV is pretty much a marketing ploy. In order to perform at a higher refresh rate, they interpolate data between each of the 60 frames to produce additional frames. Meaning, they add the data that they think should be there. While this can make the action look a bit smoother, it can also add an artificial feel to the video. So the refresh rate may not be as important as TV manufacturers make it seem.

Contrast ratio is another TV specification that can be confusing to the average consumer. The contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest black and the brightest white that a screen can display. In theory, the higher the contrast ratio, the better the picture should be. The problem is that there is no standard way of measuring the contrast ratio. So Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, and others  each measure the ratio any way they like. Of course, they each measure it differently and each makes their TVs sound like the best. So basically, you cannot count on the contrast ratio you see on the box as being accurate. If you are really interested in finding the TV with the best contrast ratio, you will have to search the Internet for companies unrelated to TV manufacturers who test each of the TVs with their own methodology. The specifications listed on the box for the contrast ratio actually are pretty unreliable.