when you watch movies. PSA at the beginning of the Blu-ray.
The Soap Opera Effect?
The Soap Opera Effect, or SOE, is actually a feature of many modern televisions. It's called "motion smoothing," http://www.cnet.com/ "motion interpolation," or "ME / MC" for motion estimation / motion compensation. Some people do not notice it, some do not mind it, and a few even like it. It looks like a hyper-real, ultra-smooth motion. It shows up in pans and camera movement, although many viewers can see it in any motion. The effect is possible for some kind of video, like sports and reality TV. But movies, high-end scripted TV shows and many other types of video look – by the TV.
This motion "whatever" was originally developed to help reduce apparenton LCDs. All LCD TVs have difficulty with motion resolution. Which is to say, any object onscreen that's in motion will be less detailed (slightly blurry) compared with that same object when stationary. High-refresh-rate LCDs ( ) were developed to combat this problem. Check out for a more in-depth description of this.
The short version: In order for high-refresh-rate TVs, they need new, real frames to insert between the original frames.
Thanks to speedy processors, TVs can "guess" what's happening between the frames originally captured by the camera. These new frames are a hybrid of the frame before and after the frame. By creating these frames, motion blur is reduced. With 30fps and 60fps content, this is great.
However, withcontent (Hollywood movies and most nonreality, TV shows like sitcoms and dramas), there's a problem. The cadence of film, and the associated blurring of the slower frame rate's image, is linked to the perception of fiction. Check out the scathing reviews of the for proof of that. Even if this perception seems grandiose – the look of 24fps is expected with movies and fiction TV shows. Even though the TV and movie industries have started filming on actual film, the new digital cameras are set for 24fps because of the audience for fictional programming expects that look.
SOE messes with this cadence. Creating new frames between the 24 original frames, 30fps or 60fps content. In other words, it makes movies (24fps) look like soap operas (30 / 60fps).
How to turn it off
The bad news: Every TV company has a different name for their motion interpolation processing. And in most default picture modes it's turned on. Why? Maybe because you want to justify the TV with this feature built-in. Ah, progress.
The good news: With almost every TV on the market, you can turn it off.
Step 1: Put the TV in Move, Cinema or Calibrated mode. On most TVs this will not just eliminate or greatly reduce smoothing, it will make the picture more accurate in general, particularly colors. If Movie Looks Too Dark, Feel Free to Turn Up the Backlight (on LCD TVs) or Brightness (on newer LCD TVs) or OLED Light (on OLED TVs) until it's bright enough for you.
Step 2 Some TVs keep the opera opera turned on even in movie or cinema mode. Not cool. CNET checked out a few of the 2018 TVs: Picture settings> Picture Options> TruMotion: Off. On 2018 B8 OLED TV we checked, smoothing is enabled in Cinema mode (TruMotion: Clear) but disabled in Technicolor. Expert mode.
Most of these names have been smoothed out over the past few years, so if you have an earlier TV from one of these brands, you should be able to find the smoothing function with some digging.  CNET's picture settings forum TV's settings.
No matter which TV you have, it's worth getting to know where this setting is. It's possible you'll be watching sports, or other "video" -based content (30fps or 60fps). Then, for movies and fictional TV programming, you can turn it off. This will give you the best-of-both worlds approach with minimal motion blur with sports, and no SOE with movies.
This article was originally published in 2013.
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