What Is the Soap Opera Effect and How Can You Disable It?

After unpacking your brand new OLED TV, you sit down to finally put your new $ 3,000 gear to the test. Load up your favorite 4K Blu-ray, plug in the A / V system, curl up on the couch, and turn on the TV … just to notice the picture shows strange. The only way you can think of to describe the image you are seeing is that everything looks and moves too perfectly. It’s not natural, that’s for sure. What the hell! All that money and is What is the type of image you are getting?

In reality, what you’re probably looking at is a common feature that many LED-LCD TV manufacturers incorporate into televisions and have been doing for some time. What you’re seeing is called video interpolation, aka Soap Opera Effect, and it’s something even Tom Cruise wants you to be aware of. The good news is that it is easy to fix and doing so can help you enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows as they are meant to be seen.

What is the soap opera effect?

From the way people talk about it, you might think the soap opera effect is a mistake, but it’s actually a specially designed feature found on many modern televisions. It goes by many names, as we will detail later, but we know the technology behind it as video interpolation, or more commonly, motion smoothing. A feature deliberately added to most modern LCD / LED TVs, it came about to solve a problem, not create one.

Unlike old CRT and plasma TVs, LCD screens have problems with motion blur. Some are more sensitive than others, but when an LCD TV needs to display fast motion (sports or fast-moving video games, for example), the blur can become excessive and obscure the details in the picture. To help combat this problem, TV manufacturers began using displays with higher refresh rates, moving from the native 60 Hz refresh rate used in older TVs to more modern 120 Hz panels.

Since most video s, including streaming and streaming, do not transmit at this frame rate, however, motion smoothing went so far as to “simulate” a higher frame rate when inserting images between 30o Actual 60 frames per second coming from your cable box, game console, or antenna. It creates these new images when your TV analyzes the image and digitally guesses what new images it might insert. They even use this frame guessing game on some OLED TVs.

Motion smoothing works well for sports programming and video games due to its recording and / or content production methods, but we are used to seeing lower frame rates in many TV shows and movies, most of which they are recorded at 24 frames per second. Therefore, people were nervous to see The Hobbit at 48 frames per second as opposed to the 24 fps we’ve been seeing on film for decades and later imitated by digital cameras and projectors. Many people who saw the film thought it looked unnatural and frequently commented that it looked too real.

Sounds familiar? Also, displaying 24fps content with frame interpolation for 120Hz displays interferes with cadence as the display adds frames that never existed. It’s literally fake and eliminates the jitter between frames that we expect to see. This is why it can be so annoying. That said, motion smoothing isn’t always bad.

samsung 8k 85 inch tv

The benefits of motion smoothing

As mentioned above, motion smoothing can be great for sports and video games as it leads to a smoother-looking action. Even if the effect of the soap opera bothers you (some people are more sensitive to it than others), you may find it preferable for sports.

Motion smoothing doesn’t bother everyone, and some people even like to watch TV shows, depending on how they are filmed. There are even some people, strange as they are, who prefer to watch movies with motion smoothing turned on. Finally, there are people who notice that nothing happens. If you’re reading this article and wondering why you’ve never seen this so-called soap opera effect, you might be one of them, and that’s okay too.

If you don’t notice the motion smoothing, or if you prefer, it’s okay to leave it on. Motion smoothing doesn’t hurt your eyes or anything like that (as much as those who hate it may believe otherwise). If you can’t stand it, here’s how to turn it off.

How to disable the soap opera effect

In virtually all cases, all you need to do is adjust a setting on your television and the soap opera effect will wear off. The hardest part is finding that exact setting on your TV, as it’s known by various names, and making sure it’s disabled for all s.

Each television manufacturer seems to use their own term for smooth motion. LG calls it TruMotion, Samsung calls it Auto Motion Plus, Sony calls it MotionFlow. Outside of some extreme cases, your TV setup probably has the word “motion” somewhere in the name. One notable exception is Hisense, which calls its motion smoothing UltraSMR.

It’s this wild west naming problem that is at the center of most people’s confusion about the soap opera effect and how to disable it. It’s such a common problem that the UHD Alliance proposed that all TV manufacturers add a button to their remote controls called “Filmmaker Mode.” Pressing it would instantly disable all forms of motion smoothing, regardless of what the TV manufacturer calls it or how hidden that setting is. maybe.

Companies like Vizio, LG, Samsung, and Panasonic have committed to adding Filmmaker Mode to their televisions. In fact, since 2020, LG TVs have Filmmaker Mode built into Amazon Prime Video encoding, ensuring that the motion filter is disabled while watching Prime Video movies and shows.

But until Filmmaker Mode is across the board nonetheless, read on to find out how to find motion smoothing on your TV and turn it off.

Step 1: Motion smoothing is likely to be found under the image settings, but exactly where it is located will change from manufacturer to manufacturer. You may even have a button that performs the equivalent of Filmmaker Mode on your remote, but with the general trend of simplifying TV remotes, this is likely not the case if you have a newer TV.

Step 2: To find motion smoothing, navigate to the Settings menu and find the Image configuration submenu. Most of the time, it will show motion smoothing towards the bottom, having passed more traditional settings like Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness. Sometimes you may need to go to a separate section, sometimes called Advanced Picture Settings or something similar.

Step 3: Certain televisions automatically enable motion smoothing for set picture modes such as Sports or Vivid Picture, but do not enable it for Cinema settings. This can make things easier, but if you’re the type who likes to adjust your own TV settings to get the best picture for your environment, you should find the option and turn it off.

Stage 4: Also, if you are using the built-in apps on a smart TV, the adjusted picture settings may not apply to streaming content on apps such as Netflix or Hulu. If this happens, you will have to completely disable the settings while you are streaming through the app. Sometimes you may find a Global for all configuration settings, which we recommend, as you should apply whatever settings you make to all s.

Step 5: Samsung, LG and Sony are three of the biggest TV brands on the market. With that said, we went ahead and put together step-by-step instructions for disabling any built-in motion smoothing features in each of these three sets.

Samsung: Take your TV remote control and press the Menu or Settings button. Please select Image > Expert setup > Auto Motion Plus. Then select Auto Motion Plus and disable the setting.

LG: press the House on your TV remote control. Please select Picture mode > Image options, then change TruMotion from soft setting to off.

Sony: press the Settings on your TV remote control. Then go to Picture settings > Advanced settings. Then go to Motion settings and turn Movement flow off.

So you’ve gotten rid of the dreaded soap opera effect, but now you find that things look a bit more blurry than they used to be. Some TVs only offer those two options, so you can’t choose between soap opera effect or blur. Others, however, especially those on the higher end, offer blur reduction technologies that don’t rely on motion smoothing or provide an adjustable range of smoothing to make your experience less jarring.

Play around with your TV settings and see what it has to offer. If you have a high-end TV with plenty of options, it won’t be a problem to get rid of blur and jitter (a more noticeable stuttering effect in camera panoramas) while enjoying a smooth viewing experience.

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