In case you haven’t heard it yet from every other publication on the planet, today marks the start of Prime Day, the annual ritual of capitalism where Amazon pushes every working-class person into a locker and steals their lunch money. While a lot of promotion is just nonsensethere’s an occasional diamond in the raw — like, say, a rare TV with a Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) feature.
Wait, what does “variable refresh rate” mean?
Ah, I know. At first it was “teraflops”. Then it was Solid State Drives. This console generation is turning us all into tech geniuses!
Simply put, “refresh rate” refers to the frequency per second at which the monitor refreshes itself, just like the frame rate of a game console. Think of it this way: a modern game console, like Sony PlayStation 5 Or Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, it usually produces 60 single frames or frames per second. You’ll need a screen that refreshes itself 60 times per second to match that.
Math is as simple as math, one-to-one mapping; A 60Hz screen can display 60fps, a 120Hz screen can display 120fps, etc. (although we hope not very Far, because a world where 240fps is the norm seems annoying).
If the TV’s refresh rate matches the console’s frame rate, you’ll get a smoothly rendered picture. But come on, you played a modern game. You know that frame rates are not always constant. Televisions that do not have a variable refresh rate are not fully equipped to handle that.
A screen with a constant refresh rate—which stays locked at, say, 60Hz or 120Hz—is subject to lag, flickering, screen tearing, and other visual quirks. However, a single rate can match a variable rate automatically to the frames output from the game console. Let’s say you’re playing marvel avengers Or some other buggy game and the frame rate drops across the floor. Your TV still has a fixed 60Hz refresh rate that refreshes 60 times per second. However, the VRR-capable TV will adjust on-the-fly to ensure that the screen matches the image broadcast by the game console. The variable refresh rate does not completely block any visual obstructions, but allows the screen to render a file road Smoother picture than standard screen.
These days, variable refresh rate is a very common feature on high-end computer monitors, but it’s less common on most central living room TVs. Even worse, many TVs that come with a variable update cost, I don’t know, are roughly 10 percent of a month’s rent for a studio apartment in today’s market.
One of these TVs is LG OLED B1. Right now, it’s down 37 percent for Prime Day, a promotion organized by a company that regularly flouts anti-union busting laws, at least according to filings from National Labor Relations Board. LG’s OLED screen is globally considered one of the best gaming TVs on the market. It’s also—and it pains me even to write—about $2,200 for the 77-inch model.
On the other end is TCL 6-Series QLED TV. The 65-inch model is currently listed for $700 on Prime Day. It’s not quite as attractive as LG’s best ever screen, but it gets the job done. (I have a similar TCL TV at home, albeit without a variable refresh rate. It’s…good.)
At the end of the day, don’t do that need to TV with VRR technology. But it is good to have.
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