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TV Technology Roundup

TechReport (UK)

‘Processing’ Power

Perhaps not something most of us would think of as it is largely invisible to us (in effect, a ‘Black Box’), but the ‘processing’ power of the TV does have a number of effects on our viewing experience.


Firstly, the ability to apply ‘post processing’ to the image, in terms of improvements to the contrast, reduction in motion blurring, screen flicker and (important to gamers) the input / display ‘Lag’.

The higher the resolution of the display, the more processing power is required to be able to apply these ‘adjustments’ in real time and (potentially), the smaller the input / display lag (the amount of time it takes from receiving a chunk of the display data to being able to convert that into the relevant part of the picture on screen).

Also, the start-up time when the TV powers up and, in particular, the time to log-on to the included Apps has a very significant effect on the viewing experience.

The experience of logging-onto Netflix on a 2011 model Samsung TV when compared with a 2016 model is completely different – the latter can boot directly into Netflix (if that was the last App used when switched off), whereas with the former there is an elongated process to start the Smart TV hub and then a long log-on process for Netflix. Netflix is now specifying a fast start-up time for their App as being part of their ‘Netflix Recommended TV’ specification.

The differences here are almost entirely down to the processing power of the TV.

How can we tell the real processing power of a TV? Well, to be fair they are not easily comparable, as manufacturers tend to use different terminology to describe this.

One assumption that we can make is that the processing power of similar models (low-end, mid-range and high-end) from the same manufacturer will almost always increase from year to year, so buying a newer model will help.

Another clue is the ‘Motion Processing Rate’ – again, manufacturers use varying terminology, but the higher the number, the less motion blurring on a picture and the faster the processor must be.

Finally, as with devices, TV processors are described by the number of ‘cores’ they have – the more cores, the more processing can be done simultaneously and the faster the device.

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