How high definition TV copes with fast moving video

To get the most from sports, a high definition TV needs to be made for action

Television is all about movement. Without movement all you have are photographs. With movement you have movies. So how well a TV handles movement is important.

Vitally so, when it comes to sports. Because most sports are about fast movement. High definition allows you to see a small ball on a pitch from far away because of the detail it delivers. But your TV won’t be of much use if the ball becomes invisible the moment it is kicked.

There was a time, not so very long ago, where this was a problem with some types of TV. And there were more obvious problems related to the ‘responsiveness’ of these TVs. The bold colours of a footballer’s jumper would smear as he raced across the screen. Bright lights would sometimes linger noticeably.

Those TVs were based on LCD technology and there may still be some cheap models that have these problems. The respectable brands, though, have improved LCD technology sufficiently so that these problems no longer arise. One specification to look out for, just to be certain, is the claimed ‘response time’ for an LCD TV. Today’s sets range from 12ms to 2ms but if a TV has a response time of 8ms (milliseconds, or thousands of a second) or less, it should be fast enough to avoid the image appearing smeared or blurred.

GadgetGuy tip

The TVs in stores usually display a loop of different programming material. When it comes to fast moving action sequences, look for how the picture holds up on the various models you’re comparing – does everything remain clear on all of them, or are some clearer than others? Those that are less clear may be smearing the image due to LCD lag, or just plain poor video processing. Televisions with Digital Natural Motion, Motionflow 100Hz or similar processing capabilities will make the action look silky smooth.