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Frames Per Second (FPS)

Definition - What does Frames Per Second (FPS) mean?

Frames per second (FPS) is a unit that measures display device performance. It consists of the number of complete scans of the display screen that occur each second. This is the number of times the image on the screen is refreshed each second, or the rate at which an imaging device produces unique sequential images called frames.

Techopedia explains Frames Per Second (FPS)

Each frame consists of a number of horizontal scan lines. These represent the number of scan lines per frame.

Currently, there are three main FPS standards (plus a few others) used in TV and movie making: 24p, 25p and 30p (The "p" stands for frame progressive).

  • 30p imitates a film camera's frame rate.
  • 24p is widely used when transferring a video signal to film.
  • 25p is used for direct compatibility with television. It also works better for progressive scan output to LCD displays and computer monitors and projectors.
  • High-end high definition TV (HDTV) uses 50p and 60p progressive formats.
  • 72p is an experimental format.

The greater the FPS, the smoother the video motion appears. Full-motion video is usually 30 FPS or greater. Different formats of video files have different FPS rates. Slower FPS rates produce smaller computer files.

Some of the first 3D video games used a frame rate of only 6 FPS. In today’s action-oriented games, the frame rate may range from 30 FPS (for example, in "Halo 3") to over 100 FPS (as in"Unreal Tournament 3"). Computer game enthusiasts may use the FPS ratings of a game to demonstrate computer power and efficiency.

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