LG Tops 120 Hz

LG Display announced today that it has developed a “Trumotion 480Hz” LCD HDTV panel. Yes, Virginia, that’s four times faster than the current 120 Hz specification offered by some of the top-of-the-line models from various TV makers. The point of the higher refresh rate is that it helps reduce motion blur on LCD panels. By refreshing the image faster than then standard 60 Hz — sixty times each second — the image tends to blur less from one frame to the next. LG Display claims a 4 ms Motion Picture Response Time (MPRT) for the new panel, which is a very good number. A score of 8 ms is about what the best sets get today. LG hopes to have the first Trumotion480Hz TVs on the market in the second half of 2009.

So how does LG get to 480 Hz? As it turns out, it’s a combination of two pieces. First, the panel operates at a 240 Hz refresh rate. This is twice as fast as the best current models, but there have been other 240 Hz panels demonstrated, most notably by Samsung and Sony. LG adds a scanning backlight, which it claims combines with the 240 Hz panel to “refresh 480 images per second“. Now, I suppose that this raises the question of how you define “refresh”, but I believe that there may be a bit of hyperbole in this claim. If the panel can only update 240 times a second, then it can only show 240 images a second. Even if you flash the backlight twice while each image is showing, you only get 240 images. However, it’s possible that the claim is that the LCD molecules are still moving between the 240 images, and the strobing of the backlight “freezes” them and there will be slight differences between the two backlight flashes for a single image. But I’m not sure that people will be able to see the difference between 240 Hz and “Trumotion 480Hz” in any case.

The good news is that I’ll get to see for myself next week at CES in Las Vegas. I’ll be heading out to see what’s the latest news in HDTV and related technology, and you’ll be able to read about it here. So as they say in TV Land, “stay tuned.”