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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Sony doubles smoothness with 240Hz LCD

Today Sony announced an LCD TV with a refresh rate of 240Hz, twice that of current 120Hz sets and quadruple standard HDTVs.

The new KDL-52XBR7 will be the first HDTV with a 240Hz refresh rate. Sony

Catering to those sensitive souls for whom the smoothness imparted by 120Hz LCD HDTVs is still too rough, Sony will introduce the first HDTV with a 240Hz refresh rate this December. Dubbed the KDL-52XBR7 (price TBD), this 52-inch model is the only one in the XBR7 series to boast the faster refresh rate.

According to Sony's press release, the main advantage of 240Hz compared with 120Hz is the "exceptional motion detail in movies, sports, and video games." Whereas standard 120Hz TVs in Sony's lineup interpolate an extra frame between the real frames, the 240Hz model interpolates three.

In our tests 120Hz displays like Sony's own KDL-46Z4100 do clean up some blurring in motion compared with standard LCDs, although the difference is often difficult for us to spot in normal program material as opposed to special test footage and patterns. The effect of the smoothness introduced by the accompanying "de-judder" processing, however, is anything but subtle, and can make film look more like video. We tend to prefer leaving 120Hz de-judder processing, which Sony calls Smooth Motion, turned off for film-based sources.

We expect to test a KDL-52XBR7 as soon as we can, and judge for ourselves whether the extra smoothness makes a difference.