CES2008: Is 120 Hz the ‘1080p’ of 2008?

Competitors always look for an edge, and as top set designers and manufacturers find it increasingly difficult to distinguish one line of HD products from another, and with all the rage over 1080p in 2007 (cleverly marketed as “full HD”), some execs at CES this week were talking up the newest technical attribute they hope could be the must-have of 2008—120 frames per second.

120 Hz is being touted at curing the fast-action blur of LCD sets, largely during live sports coverage (artifacting that rarely showed up on those old CRT screens). With broadcast and movie content captured at 30 and 24 fps, respectively, DTV sets equipped with 120 fps serve to “fill in” extra bridging frames (via computed calculations) well enough to obliterate or greatly lessen action blur. Scott Ramirez, Toshiba’s vice president of TV marketing, went as far as to tell the Associated Press at CES, “120 hertz is the new 1080p.”

Ramirez and others also point out that higher refresh rates are also a necessity for some forms of 3-D imaging. But for now, their primary goal is to come up with a new buzz word for 2008 to join “1080p”—and it may come down to “1080p with 120 Hz.”