The Truth Behind 120Hz HDMI Cables

When you look up information on HDMI cables from various retailers, one common trend and flaw you see are HDMI cables being advertised as 120Hz HDMI cables or even 240Hz. When you actually delve into the specifications from the HDMI organization however, what you see is that HDMI cables can only support up to 60Hz, even with HDMI 2.0. So how is it that when you're purchasing a HDTV, you most likely will see its refresh rates listed as 120Hz, or even 240Hz, thus making the mistake of thinking an HDMI cable exists in a 120Hz or 240Hz configuration?

There is no Such Thing as a 120Hz / 240Hz HDMI Cable

The truth is, these higher refresh rates are being handled by the display, not by the source. In order to explain this, we need to understand Hz (Hertz) when used for display. In order to trick the human eye into seeing a real time picture, the industry came up with a number for frames per second that would translate to realistic video. This number is roughly about 24fps. This is made in conjunction to how our power lines are also run (60Hz). So how does this relate to manufacturers implementing 120Hz or 240Hz televisions? For some people, when an object is in motion on their display, what they may experience is image blurring. To solve this, manufacturers created 120Hz or 240Hz televisions to alleviate this problem by inserting frames in between the frames originally there. If you notice the soap opera effect on films or TV shows, this is the frame insertion in action. For reference, this "soap opera" effect is called in the industry "dejudder." Most televisions allow you to set this feature on or off (Note: Manufacturers often times confuse users by calling this different names, such as "TruMotion", "Clear Motion Rate", etc.).

So to recap, currently there is no such thing as a 120Hz or 240Hz HDMI cable. HDMI cables are 60Hz, anything beyond that is handled by the display through frame insertion or what you see on the screen as the "soap opera" effect. The current industry standard is based on 24 frames per second for movies (Blu-ray) and 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second for television (Cable / Satellite, YouTube, Video Cameras). So the next time you're shopping for HDMI cables, don't be fooled by false advertising (e.g. 120Hz or even 240Hz HDMI cables).

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