If you’ve ever noticed that some movies or shows look a bit off on your TV screen, you’re probably not imagining it. Some televisions these days use something called “motion smoothing,” or image interpolation. This is a technology meant to make up for the discrepancy in frame rates between film and modern television, making things appear smoother and clearer. However, what it actually tends to do is make movies and shows all look like soap operas. That is, played at a higher frame rate and cheaply done. Since image interpolation is meant to make movies appear smoother, it needs to increase the frame rate to the same rate the television has the ability to run at. Most films are shot at 24 frames per second, while most modern TVs can play up to 60 or 120, according to Variety. When viewing films shot at 24 FPS on these TVs, it can cause what’s known as a “judder effect,” where things may appear to jump and transition isn’t smooth. The added frames from image interpolation is meant to mitigate this.
You may notice a problem here. Where are all the extra frames coming from? Well, when image interpolation is used, new frames are added by artificially creating them based off of past frames. This is meant to make things look smooth in theory, but in practice this can cause some glitching.
Issues with motion smoothing, and how to turn it off
Since image interpolation requires that new frames are produced, you may wonder how they are added into a video. Image interpolation analyzes the video in order to produce matching frames, but this process can cause things to look off. The process isn’t perfect, and when producing new frames, you can sometimes get visual errors or pixels where they shouldn’t be. This can be especially true with fast-paced video where it’s more difficult to accurately generate new frames. When trying to enjoy your favorite movies, this can have a distracting effect. Unfortunately, most modern TVs come out of the box with motion smoothing on by default, but there’s usually a way to turn it off.
If you want to turn motion smoothing off on your TV, you can usually find this option in the settings. Look for “Picture” settings, and from there you’ll want to find a setting that mentions “Motion,” as the exact name of the motion smoothing feature is different across televisions. You may also need to look under “Expert” or “Advanced” settings to find where you can turn motion smoothing off.