Now that our TVs have reached the next level in terms of 4K resolution and contrast thanks to their high dynamic range, the next area of improvement seems to have a high frame rate.
A terminology inherited from the era of celluloid film projectors, the frame rate refers to the number of still images (frames) displayed on the screen per second, creating the illusion of a moving image. If you're a movie buff, you'll undoubtedly know that most Hollywood movies are shot and projected at 25 frames per second (fps).
This allows a "motion blur" when a camera rotates or tilts rapidly, replicating the human experience by turning the head.
There have been some notable deviations from this (think of the Peter Jackson Hobbit trilogy, which was shot at 48 fps), and even there is a current of thought that all cinema should be filmed at a higher frame rate to provide a richer visual experience.
For the time being, HFR content is primarily promoted as a desirable feature for games, sports and documentaries where the tracking movement is more important than a cinematic finish.
What is high frame rate (HFR)?
The high frame rate is a slightly nebulous term at this time, but it refers to a frame rate higher than 25 fps for movies and 30 fps for all other outputs. To put it in context, it is believed that the human eye is capable of processing 1000 fps, maybe even more.
An image displayed at 48 fps allows us to process a much deeper depth and detail. This is both a blessing and a curse, since images taken with a higher frame rate often look "fake", probably because we can see the details that reveal that the actors are standing on a stage.
But, of course, this is a problem that does not affect documentaries, sports broadcasts or games. In these media, the more visual information you have, the better.
The amount of content available in HFR is slowly increasing, and television companies are starting to make sets that are capable of handling this content.
Frame rate or refresh rate?
It's easy to confuse the frame rate and refresh rate, especially when a fps translates to a Hz (the measure of frequency for a refreshing TV), but while fps will always translate directly into the number of frames of the screen per second, Hz can be related to any screen change.
This disparity means that manufacturers such as Panasonic can claim that their TVs have a refresh rate of 2200Hz, while it only works at 120 fps.
Panasonic is not the only manufacturer with a set of 120 fps that will hit the market this year. The OLED range of LG has the W8 and E8 capable of reaching 120 fps, and it is likely that Samsung and Sony will do the same next year.
But televisions are capable of handling 120 fps and being able to see that content are not the same thing.
How do I get the HFR content?
Currently there are very limited options when it comes to obtaining HFR content for your whole. 4K HDR Blu-ray has a cap of 60 fps (which remains high, but does not change the game), the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X can emit at 60 fps, and the Xbox One X has the ability to produce at 120 fps , at least, in certain titles.
Standard HDMI cables are not capable of handling HFR content, so you must have an HDMI 2.1 cable (or premium high-speed HDMI). What complicates things even more is that not all the HFR televisions that are offered work with HDMI 2.1.
There are streaming services, such as YouTube, that have started to show HFR content, but when LG showed it to us it's 2018 OLED Rank, he claimed that the YouTube TV platform differed from the ones on the mobile devices and that HFR content was not yet available on TVs.
What this means is that to get 120 fps content on your TV, your only options at this time are to download the content to a USB stick (which no one does) or use a game console that increases the speed of the game. frames, but lowers the resolution of 4K to 1080p.
It may well be that we are in the early stages of this technology, and it will not be until we have the next generation of game consoles and TVs that high resolution and high frame rate content become unique. For now, of course, we would not advise buying a TV according to your ability to handle HFR content, especially if you do not have the tickets to back it up.