Refresh rate flicker is a common phenomenon from which many display devices suffer. Not to be confused with screen burn-in, it lives up to its namesake by involving a flickering motion. Rather than producing images that transition smoothly from frame to frame, some displays may flicker. What is refresh rate flicker, and how do you prevent it?

What Is Refresh Rate Flicker?

Refresh rate flicker is a visual phenomenon in which a display appears to flicker when changing frames. All displays create images in the form of frames. A frame is a grid of pixels that serves as a single image. A smooth transition from frame to frame will result in a fluid-like motion. If a display fails to create a smooth transition, on the other hand, it may appear to flicker.

Some instances of refresh rate flicker are minor, whereas others are more severe. Regardless, they all involve a display stuttering when changing frames.

How to Prevent Refresh Rate Flicker

You can prevent refresh rate flicker by choosing the right type of display. Some displays are better protected against this visual phenomenon than others. Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), for instance, offer a high level of protection against refresh rate flicker. LCDs are able to retain their pixel state during refreshes. Therefore, they aren’t susceptible to refresh rate flicker.

You should also choose an LCD with a high refresh rate if you’re worried about this visual phenomenon. Refresh rate is a measurement of how quickly a display can change its frames. It’s measured in hertz (Hz). Some displays have a refresh rate of 60 Hz, meaning they can change their frames up to 60 times per second. Other displays have a refresh rate of 120 Hz, meaning they can change their frames up to 120 times per second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the frame-to-frame transition will be.

Assuming you’re already using an LCD with a high refresh rate, you may want to check the cable. A loose or damaged display cable may cause refresh rate flicker. Whether it’s an LCD or organic light-emitting diode (OLED), all displays require a display cable. The display cable is the data cable that transfers the visual data of a computer or device to a display, such as a computer monitor or TV. If the display cable is loose, punctured or otherwise damaged, you may notice refresh rate flicker when using the display to which it’s connected.