How to get rid of the ‘soap opera’ effect on your new TV

Brittany A. Roston - Jun 14, 2017
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How to get rid of the ‘soap opera’ effect on your new TV

If you recently purchased a new high-end TV, only to turn it on and feel disappointment and confusion about the weird video motion, you’re not alone. Some call it the ‘BBC effect,’ referring to the similarity between motion on new televisions and the motion effect on older BBC shows that used to bother so many American viewers. In recent times, though, this strange new video experience has become known as the ‘soap opera effect,’ and you can get rid of it if you’d like.

The soap opera effect, obviously, gets its name from the similarity between motion in soap operas and the motion on new TVs. If you’ve never seen this in person, it is hard to explain; if you have seen it, though, you know exactly what we’re talking about. The same motion effect can be found in some theaters, depending on the technology they’re using. Not many people like it the first (or second) time around, and a subset say it makes them feel sick.

What causes the effect? A feature that goes by many names: ‘motion interpolation,’ ‘motion smoothing,’ or sometimes even the acronym ‘MEMC.’ Some companies have adopted their own names like ‘Cinema Smoothing.’ The feature exists to try and reduce the motion blur that you may see on certain kinds of televisions by inserting extra frames, eliminating the motion blur but also eliminating the cinematic, film-like feel of video content.

Some people really do like this technology, and there’s nothing wrong with that…but they’re in a minority despite the feature’s existence for the last handful of years. Some people get used to it, but others can’t. If you fall into the latter category, you can turn it off for good.

Turn off motion smoothing

The exact method to turn off your television’s motion-smoothing effect will depend on the unit’s manufacturer, its model, and its year. That makes giving precise instructions difficult. Below we’ve provided the instructions for disabling the feature by brand, though the exact menu items and steps may vary a bit.

VIZIO

How to turn off motion smoothness on Vizio TVs:

– Select ‘Menu’
– Scroll to and select ‘Advanced Video.’
– Choose the ‘Smooth Motion Effect’ option.
– Select ‘Off.’ Alternatively, you can reduce the severity of the motion smoothing, minimizing the effect without completely eliminating it.

SAMSUNG

Samsung calls its motion smoothing effect ‘Auto Motion Plus.’ To turn off Samsung’s feature, do the following:

– Press ‘Menu.’
– Select ‘Picture.’
– Select ‘Picture Options.’
– Scroll down to ‘Auto Motion Plus.’
– Press the -> arrow key multiple times until the option reads ‘Off.’

Check out Samsung’s support page here for more info.

LG

LG calls this feature TruMotion, and it bills it as a solution to the slight blurring present in fast-action scenes. If you don’t want it, do the following:

– Press ‘Menu.’
– Select ‘Picture.’
– Scroll down and select ‘TruMotion.’
– Choose ‘Off.’

Note: some users report having trouble finding the TruMotion option; if the above doesn’t work, keep looking, as the feature is there somewhere.

HISENSE

Hisense calls motion smoothing ‘MEMC,’ which we mentioned above: it stands for Motion Estimation / Motion Compensation. You can turn this feature off doing the following:

– Choose ‘Menu.’
– Select ‘Picture.’
– Scroll down and select ‘MEMC.’
– Choose ‘Off.’

Wrap-up

The motion smoothing ‘soap opera’ effect is unwanted by many but it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Fortunately, you can decrease it or entirely disable it in almost any television, and it only requires a few button presses. If your model isn’t included above, try heading into the Menu > Picture settings and look around a bit — odds are the feature is readily accessible.


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