What is Motion Rate?

Motion Rate is a marketing term created by Samsung to use alongside refresh rate. The market for screens has always been competitive and offering image technology for better clarity on Television is hard to market against terms consumers already recognize as high-performance indicators like 120Hz or 240Hz refresh rate gaming monitors and TVs.

In an effort to capture this recognition, Samsung’s marketers created the term Motion Rate. It was meant to stand for the overall speed a screen could send a live feed through image processing and redrawing the screen. Unfortunately, the term was used to try and compete directly with technology with fast refresh rates. As 120Hz Motion Rate is not as fast performance as 120Hz Refresh Rate, it’s easy to understand why the term is not widely adopted. Other than both using Hz measurements, they don’t have many similarities.

What is Refresh Rate?

Screens, whether used in a computer monitor or television set, use a process of showing millions of individual still-frame images one by one to imitate animation and movement. For this purpose, every screen is “drawn”, “erased”, and “redrawn”. In video games, the speed of this process is known as frames per second. With screens, the speed of “redrawing” is known as refresh rate. The higher the refresh rate is the faster the physical monitor can draw images. This leads to a clearer image and a more immersive experience.

When a refresh rate is too low, the video that plays can seem to have bad motion blur. It can even sometimes appear to skip frames.

Motion Rate vs Refresh Rate

There are a few different types of “Motion Rate” other than Samsung’s own. LG created a version known as TruMotion. Sony has MotionFlow XR and XR Motion Clarity. TCL uses Clear Motion Index. Vizio claims to have an “Effective Refresh Rate”. The reality is that the companies are attempting to use software techniques to make up for the refresh rate. In some cases, the Motion Rate is just an added value proposition for the product.

That doesn’t mean it’s useless. While the refresh rate is a static attribute of a screen, Motion Rates are a set of techniques used to get around the downfalls of a lower refresh. When comparing refresh rate to motion rate, companies like to claim the motion rate as twice the refresh rate. That means a 120Hz Motion Rate is likely just a 60Hz Refresh Rate. It also means 240Hz Motion Rate is only 120Hz Refresh Rate.

That doesn’t make them bad options, however. Here are two of the different technologies used in Motion Rate screens:

  • Black Frame Insertion (BFI): This is a technique where some manufacturers insert a black frame in-between images to reduce motion blur. Each black frame lasts a fraction of a second but introduces contrast that helps improve motion clarity. BFI can decrease screen brightness.
  • Frame Rate Interpolation: Frame Rate Interpolation is an image processing technique that simulates additional frames per second by generating “unreal” frames based on the frames it’s placed between. This has been referred to as the “soap opera effect”.

Refresh Rate vs Motion Rate: Side-by-Side Comparison

Refresh RateMotion Rate
What it is:Marketing term used to describe image processingMeasurement of screens “redraw” speed
Primary use:Showcase TV/Monitor motion clarityShowcase TV/Monitor motion clarity
Conceived:20161941
Initial release:20161941
Technical committee:SamsungNTSC
Influential developers:SamsungNTSC
Open format:No/YesYes
Technologies influenced:TruMotion, MotionFlow, Clear Motion Index, Effective Refresh RateDesktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, VR headsets

Similarities and Differences

Similarities:

  • Both indicate the motion clarity of a screen.
  • Both use refresh rate as a metric.
  • Both are performance indicators.

Differences:

  • Refresh rate is a technical and physical attribute of a screen. Motion Rate is a descriptive term meant to encapsulate software techniques used to improve motion clarity.
  • Motion Rate is often measured as twice that of the actual refresh rate of a screen. For example, a 120Hz Motion Rate is typically a 60Hz refresh rate.

Refresh Rate vs Motion Rate: Which is Better?

Gaming

For PC Gamers and console gamers alike, a true higher refresh rate is the best option. Games are rendered as-is and external software enhancements may improve the image, but reduce true accuracy. As PCs with adequate dedicated GPUs can handle 120 fps and higher, 120Hz and 240Hz monitors can display every frame of it. Each extra frame is detailed information that improves the player’s game and provides competitive advantages.

Sports and Entertainment

This all comes down to the source of your entertainment. Most TV channels send out 24-30 fps. 30 frames per second is the standard frame rate for shows broadcast in the National Television System Committee (NTCS) format. A natural performance of 120Hz refresh rate on a TV for 30 fps broadcasts isn’t going to improve the viewing. However, 120Hz Motion Rate with frame rate interpolation can. The extra clarity added is what is often referred to as the “soap opera” effect.

Office-Use and Home Computing

For office use that mostly revolves around data input and Microsoft Office applications, it truly does not matter. While you may enjoy a high-performance monitor to work on, you could easily get the job done with a 60Hz or 30 Hz display. As input accuracy is more important than image post-processing, there’s no need for Motion Rate technology.

Refresh Rate vs Motion Rate: Six Must-Know Facts

  • Refresh Rate is the measurement of the speed at which a screen can redraw the image shown.
  • Motion Rate is a term used to describe image processing techniques that provide better motion clarity.
  • Motion Rate is measured as twice the true Refresh Rate value.
  • Both Motion Rate and Refresh Rate are measured in Hz.
  • The optimal refresh rate for most uses is 120Hz.
  • Motion Rate has sometimes been referred to as a “fake” refresh rate.

Refresh Rate vs Motion Rate: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is more important refresh rate or motion rate?

In the long term, refresh rate is far more important. As Motion Rate is a descriptive term created by Samsung’s marketing department, it doesn’t have the same base attribute status as refresh rate. Motion Rate usually means a screen has image processing techniques to improve motion clarity like frame rate interpolation or black frame insertion. For VR or PC usage, a higher refresh rate is better.

It may surprise you to learn that Motion Rate capture was created to help boost the performance of shows and movies recorded at the NTSC standard of 30 fps as well as to improve motion clarity without bumping the actual refresh rate. As broadcast television isn’t likely to increase the frames per second of recording, image processing technology can make better use of your 60Hz refresh rate screen for 30Hz presentations.

Is the clear motion rate the same as the refresh rate?

No. Clear Motion Rate is a term used by Samsung to encapsulate the combination of a screen refresh rate with software image processing techniques. Clear Motion Rate is often measured as twice the value of the true refresh rate. That means a 60Hz refresh rate TV will have a 120Hz Clear Motion Rate. This is because of frame rate interpolation which generates an “unreal” frame between every frame as transitions. This doubles the frame output, but half of the shown frames are “unreal” frames created from the original context.

Is 120Hz motion rate good?

120Hz Motion Rate is good, but 120Hz Refresh Rate is better. It comes down to what the screen is going to be used for. While both have the same 120Hz, there are some important differences to consider between what the two different terms are describing. Motion Rate is a set of image processing technology that improves upon the true refresh rate with frame rate interpolation. With a higher true refresh rate, there is just no need for a motion rate to compensate.

In the bargain deals of TVs, 120Hz motion rate for basic usage isn’t bad. In 2022, there aren’t really any truly bad TVs or monitors. Having said that, always try to keep the intended use of the screen in mind when purchasing a new one.

Is motion rate 120 or 240 better?

The higher the Motion Rate, the better. As Motion Rate is measured as twice the refresh rate, a 240Hz Motion Rate would include a 120Hz true refresh rate. That’s double the performance of 120Hz Motion Rate which only has a 60Hz true refresh rate.

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