Make Your HDTV Accept Real 120Hz Refresh Rate
Purpose: Use TV as a 120Hz computer monitor. Smoother motion and less input lag.
Supported Displays: Several models including Vizio, Panasonic, etc. See comments.
Higher success rate for Active 3D HDTV’s (the type that use electronic shutter glasses).
Alternatives: See List of 120Hz Monitors for computer monitors instead.
Some HDTVs have an undocumented ability to accept 120Hz from a PC.
Many TV’s do 120Hz internally for a different purpose (e.g. motion interpolation, active 3D). These TV’s support the dot clocks necessary for 120Hz because active shutter glasses 3D @ 60Hz (frame-sequential) use a similar dot clock frequency as 2D @ 120Hz.
It is important to note not all televisions can be forced to accept native 120Hz via external connections through refresh rate overclocking. A successful HDTV overclock to 120 Hz will result in 50% less motion blur compared to 60 Hz. Some models that do 120Hz internally (e.g. Motionflow, 3D) can also accept 120Hz externally.
Instructions: Output 120Hz From PC To TV
Choose a Compatible Graphics Card
The best cards for refresh rate overclocking are nVidia GeForce and AMD Radeon cards. Another advantage of nVidia Geforce cards is that they are also compatible with LightBoost monitors (including ASUS VG248QE) which use a strobe backlight for zero motion blur CRT-quality during high-end desktop video gaming. Consequently, nVidia Geforce products are currently preferred (at this time of writing) over AMD Radeon products.
NOTE: Unfortunately this will not benefit game consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) since consoles are limited to 60 Hz. However, several new Sony TV’s have a Game Mode that allows the interpolation-free Sony Motionflow Impulse mode with low input lag. This is a strobe backlight similiar to LightBoost.
Choose A Refresh Rate Overclocking Method
- A very easy method is to use the overclocking feature found in some nVidia cards, such as EVGA Geforce Titan. It has a slider that allows you to raise the refresh rate.
- Or Install ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility.
This is a method that works on both GeForce and Radeon.
- Or Install PowerStrip. It can also be used for refresh rate overclocking, but not all newer graphics cards work. If the “Advanced timings options…” button is greyed out, PowerStrip is not compatible with your graphics card.
- Or Manual EDID override. This is the hardest method. If you need to get familiar with how EDID overrides are installed (e.g. 3D Vision Blog Instructions (different purpose), Microsoft technical info).
(a) Download one of the 1080p@120Hz files (1080p@120Hz EDID Overrides in this thread). This allows your HDTV to masquerade as a 120 Hz computer monitor, allowing your graphic card to send 120 Hz into your HDTV. Then you can see if the display successfully displays it!
(b) To install an EDID Override, download the file, then right-click this INF file in File Explorer and select “Install”. This is a one-time step, even for future HDTV’s. An example good EDID override is the ASUS VG278H EDID override INF file. This will attempt to make your HDTV “masquerade” as an ASUS 120Hz computer monitor.
(c) Next, go to Device Manager and right-click your monitor, select “Update Driver Software”, then “Browser my computer…”, then “Let me pick…”, then disable “Show compatible hardware”, then select the “EDID Override” from manufacturer ASUS (even if you don’t have ASUS), and then reboot. Repeat this step every time you reconnect an HDTV to a new input, or to a new HDTV.
(d) IMPORTANT! (Windows 8 specific): If you’re installing under Windows 8, follow these instructions to disable driver signature enforcement before installing this INF file. The INF file is installed via right-clicking the monitor in Control Panel -> Device Manager, and updating its driver.
(e) Finally, Control Panel will now unlock the 120 Hz refresh rate.
Test The Refresh Rate
- Connect your computer to the television first.
Make your HDTV your primary display. If using multiple displays simultaneously, do not use mirror mode. Otherwise, it won’t work properly.
- Unlock 120Hz If Necessary
If using ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility, add the 120Hz mode.
If using manual EDID override, install the override as described above.
- Test the 120Hz refresh rate
Go to Control Panel -> Display -> Adjust Resolution -> Advanced Settings -> Monitor
(a) If the resolution of 1920×1080 fails, try 1280×720 at 120Hz.
There is a much higher success rate with 1280×720 at 120Hz
(b) If 120 Hz fails at all resolutions, try other refresh rates such as 75 Hz.
Testing 720p @ 120Hz is usually more successful because it uses a similar dot clock frequency to the frame-sequential 3D 720p @ 60 Hz (shutter glasses signal). You may need to use a Custom Resolution via the nVidia Control Panel or AMD Catalyst in order to create the 1280×720 120 Hz resolution, if it does not already exist.
- Test all connections. HDMI, DVI-D, VGA
Sometimes, a HDTV successfully overclocks to 120 Hz on one connection only.
Use compatible cables (e.g. high speed HDMI cables that are 3D and 4K ready).
Try to avoid adaptors (e.g. DVI-D to HDMI adaptor will not permit 1080p@120Hz).
Try bypassing your receiver. Older surround sound units may not pass 120Hz HDMI.
Yes, 120Hz sometimes works on older HDMI 1.3 ports.IMPORTANT NOTE:
- Your TV may say “60Hz” even when computer says “120Hz”. Ignore this behavior.
- Avoid DVI adaptors with HDMI as those cannot do 1080p@120Hz!
- Test to check for true 120 frames per second.
Subjective Method: Drag windows around; dragging should be more fluid than 60Hz.
- TestUFO: Frame Skipping Check (web based) or Refresh Rate Multitool (install app).
If only 60 frames per second is shown (“frame skipping”), try 720p instead of 1080p.
- Will it damage my HDTV?
Not likely. The risk is low but may not be zero. Presently, no HDTV’s are currently known to become damaged because these models already do 120 Hz internally for other purposes (3D shutter glasses, frame interpolation, etc). Most HDTV’s simply make it difficult to accept 120 Hz natively from an external signal source.
Blur Busters disclaims all responsibility for any possible damage to your display.
Special Situation: (from user reports) Sometimes a display “almost” reaches 120Hz, but not quite. For example, 115 Hz or 118 Hz. To fix such a minor shortfall, reduce the timings (smaller numbers for Front Porch, Back Porch and Sync) to maintain same dotclock while raising refresh rate. Using “Reduced” instead of “Automatic” within ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility, can do this too. This may allow success at 120Hz.
Uninstalling CRU: If you have problems with ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility, just run “reset-all.exe” to undo the changes made by the ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility.
No fake frames. No interpolation tricks. No Motionflow voodoo. True 120Hz!
If you have a success report in HDTV refresh rate overclocking, please post your TV model in the comments, or email squad[at]blurbusters.com!