Horizontal scan rate

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Horizontal scan rate, or horizontal frequency, usually expressed in kilohertz, is the frequency at which a CRT moves the electron beam from the left side of the display to the right and back, and therefore describes the number of horizontal lines displayed per second. CRT timings actually include some horizontal scans before the visible display, after it, and during the travel from bottom to top (known as vertical back porch, vertical front porch, and vertical sync width, respectively, and collectively known as vertical blank time), so the horizontal scan rate does not directly correlate to visible display lines, unless the unseen lines are also known, but it can still be used to approximate the display lines, as the total blank time is usually a small but significant portion of the total lines.

It is usually the most limiting factor of a CRT display. This limit is due to how quickly the CRT's yoke can move the electron beam from one side of the display to the other.

Compare vertical scan rate (refresh rate), which indicates how often the electron beam is moved from the bottom of the display to the top. Given the horizontal scan rate, the refresh rate can be approximated by dividing the horizontal scan rate by the number of horizontal lines multiplied by 1.05 (since about 5% of the time it takes to scan the screen is spent moving the electron beam back to the top). For instance, a monitor with a horizontal scanning frequency of 96 kHz at a resolution of 1280 x 1024 has a refresh rate of 96,000 / (1024 x 1.05) ≈ 89 Hz (rounded down).

Example[edit]

  • Display Mode at 1280x1024 @ 60Hz means it draws 1024 lines x 60 per second
  • Taking Vertical blanking interval into account, it would actually draw 1024x1.05 lines for a full frame cycle
  • Therefore, it draws 1024x1.05x60 lines per second = 1 line per 1/(1024x1.05x60) second
  • Horizontal scan rate: 1/(1024x1.05x60) sec ~= 1.55009921E-5 sec or 64.512 kHz