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Home / Tips and Tricks / What is Motion Smoothing on a TV, and why do people hate it?

What is Motion Smoothing on a TV, and why do people hate it?



  Blurred people on the street
Willy Barton / Shutterstock.com

If you've just bought a new TV, you might wonder why everything you see feels cheated and smooth, as if you're watching a live broadcast all the time. You Don't Imagine Things: Your TV may suffer from Motion Smoothing .

What is Motion Smoothing and how does it work?

Every television manufacturer calls their specific technology with a different name, for marketing reasons of course. Action equalization, TruMotion, Motionflow ̵

1; this is all names for the same function: to make the TV's picture softer. And it's motion smoothing. It is also known as the "soap opera effect", since low-budget two-strokes used to have inexpensive video cameras which provided a higher frame rate, softer image.

Most television programs, movies and broadcasts are played at 24 or 30 frames per second (fps, also called "Hertz" or "Hz"), which is fast enough for the eye to experience them as smooth video and not a cool slide show. But most televisions and monitors can be 60 Hz and a bit more expensive shows the clock at 120 Hz and even 240 Hz.

But movies and TV shows are still 30fps, which is a problem: what is the meaning of 60hz if the content you just watch is updated at half of it? The refresh rate for movies does not change at any time, so "Motion Smoothing" comes in. Motion smoothing attempts to fix the problem by guessing the 30 frames missing from each second, usually by comparing one before and after shot and trying to find the space between the two.

RELATED: Why does my new HDTV's picture look good and "smooth"?

Why is it such a problem? 19659005] Most people have problems with smoothness. After all, we have spent years training our brains to enjoy movies and TV shows that were filmed at 24 or 30fps, and our brains have come to think of it as a movie or TV show should see.

Television producers, on the other hand, are just trying to advertise more numbers to consumers. 240 Hz must be better than 120 Hz and much better than 60 Hz, right? Well, sometimes it is, yes, especially when the content is designed for it.

But most consumers do not enjoy the higher interest rates on most of the content they are looking at. Viewing content shot at 24 or 30fps looks particularly strange on televisions running 120Hz or higher. The insane movement makes the video almost seem real, which completely lowers the film's immersion. Honestly, it often feels like you are watching a documentary film behind the scene about the film than the film itself.

For some things, motion equalization is meaningful. Live action sports and video games, for example, have fast-paced content that can use a little more clarity. Unfortunately, two other problems associated with motion smoothing also break these two user cases.

  • For the sport, things sometimes move so fast that the equalization algorithm does not know what to do and stops producing a strange, often blurred image instead of a clear "intermediate" frame. This defect, which results in erroneous or glitch images, is called artifacting .
  • For video games, the extra input layer required to add motion equalization is required to play the game effectively. The controls feel sluggish and not responding, so most televisions offer a "game mode" that disables motion smoothing and other advanced image effects.

And other types of content, like cable news or reality TV, can still be unpleasant despite not being "bio".

Do I have it? How do I get rid of it?

You should carefully notice if your TV had it activated. If you have a newer TV name, motion equalization can be enabled by default. For the most part, the ability to turn it off is hidden in the picture settings in the menu, but if you do not find it you can read our guides on how to disable the effect for Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio, and Roku TV.

Otherwise, see your TV's manual and support website.


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