When an LCD or plasma television renders a video, it does so by rendering dozens of still images very quickly. The industry broadly refers to the time it takes to render these images as the response rate. If that rate is too low, traces of the previous image remain, creating a “ghosting” effect. Ghosting either indicates a low-performing monitor, or the activation of an optional feature, such as noise reduction.

Slow Response Times

The response time is the amount of time it takes a single pixel on the screen to change from black to white and back to black. If this response time is more than 10 milliseconds, then you’ll begin to experience ghosting. Most modern monitors and TVs have faster response rates than 10ms. Ghosting is most evident in games or video with a lot of motion. You can sometimes increase the response time by lowering your monitor resolution.

Optional Features

On occasion, television and monitors include features to improve picture quality. These tools cause the screen to go through additional steps before the pixels are changed, increasing the response time. Samsung’s digital noise reduction, for example, caused ghosting in some of its earlier LCD televisions. Most TV manufacturers take steps to ensure that their products do not cause ghosting; however, turning off optional features on your television or monitor offers one option for eliminating ghosting.