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How to Turn Off Motion Smoothing on Your TV

If you’re experiencing the soap opera effect on your TV, or if your picture simply doesn’t seem to look natural, here’s how to disable motion smoothing.

By Will Greenwald

This has probably happened to you: You sit down in front of your TV to watch your favorite movie or show, the credits roll, and everything looks strange. People move around unnaturally, and every shift of the camera is slightly disorienting. You can’t shake the feeling that whatever you’re watching is somehow too smooth.

That’s probably because it is. It’s called motion interpolation, a special smoothing effect many modern TVs use to push the frame rate of the show or movie you’re watching from the native 24 or 30 frames per second to match the TV’s frame rate of 60, 120, or higher frames per second. Colloquially it’s known as the “soap opera effect,” because it makes whatever you’re watching look like a daytime soap opera. The TV is adding additional frames, digitally combining and interpolating the images in the video signal to simulate more frames than are actually there. It can be useful for watching some sports and video games, but for most show and movie content it’s jarring and unnatural.

You don’t need to live with it, though. If your TV has motion smoothing features, it probably has some way to turn them off. You just need to dive into your TV’s picture settings and flip the switch to make film look like film and primetime TV look like primetime TV again. (Though if you want to watch live sports, you should probably turn those features back on during games; they can actually improve the visual experience when the camera pans quickly across a field or court.)

For some TVs, the Cinema or Movie mode automatically disables motion smoothing, because it’s understood that you want to watch film or video content (again, 24 or 30fps) as it’s presented. Put your TV in Cinema or Movie mode, whichever is present, and see if it turns off the soap opera effect. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to manually disable the motion smoothing yourself.

Different television brands have different names for motion smoothing features, which means you need to identify the right one for your TV. Look for any setting with “motion” in the name under the Picture or General settings of your TV to determine if it’s enabled, then disable it. If you aren’t sure, here are some of the most common settings for different TV brands.

Amazon Fire TV (Amazon, Toshiba)

The exact term for motion smoothing varies from model to model on Fire TVs, but for Amazon’s TVs it’s most often called Action Smoothing.

  • Press the gear button on your remote
  • Select Display & Sounds
  • Select Advanced Settings
  • Select Action Smoothing

Google TV (Hisense, Sony, TCL)

Hisense Google TV settings (Photo: Will Greenwald)

The motion smoothing feature on Google TV panels can vary slightly between models as well, but on Hisense TVs the features are called Motion Enhancement and Motion Clearness. They’re two different features that do slightly different things, but should both be disabled if you want to make sure motion smoothing is completely turned off.

  • Press the gear button on your remote
  • Select Settings
  • Select Display & Sound
  • Select Picture
  • Select Advanced Settings
  • Look for the motion smoothing features in that list (Motion Enhancement, Motion Clearness)

LG

LG settings (Photo: Will Greenwald)

On LG TVs, the motion smoothing feature is called TruMotion.

  • Press the gear button on your remote
  • Select the All Settings icon (the one with three dots) near the bottom of the list
  • Select Picture Mode Settings
  • Select Picture Options
  • Select TruMotion

Roku TV (Element, Hisense, RCA, Sharp, TCL)

Roku TV settings (Photo: Will Greenwald)

On Roku TVs, you need to select a specific input or use the app to bring up the full selection of picture settings. On TCL TVs, the feature is called Action Smoothing.

  • Open an input or app
  • Press the asterisk (*) button on your remote
  • Select Picture Settings
  • Look for the motion smoothing features on that list (on TCL TVs it’s called Action Smoothing)
  • If motion smoothing isn’t there, scroll down to the Advanced or Expert Picture Settings menu and look for the features on that list

Samsung

Samsung TV motion settings (Credit: Samsung)

On Samsung TVs, the feature is called Auto Motion Plus.

  • Press the gear button on your remote (it will probably have a gear; the numbers 1, 2, and 3; and four colored squares on it)
  • Select All Settings
  • Select Picture
  • Select More Picture Settings
  • Select Picture Clarity Settings
  • Select Auto Motion Plus

Vizio

Vizio TV settings (Credit: Vizio)

Vizio calls its motion smoothing feature Clear Action.

  • Press the gear button on your remote
  • Select Picture
  • Select Advanced Picture
  • Select Clear Action

If you have other TV problems, these easy fixes will help you get your picture straight, bright, and untinted.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.