Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/182926/ask-htg-why-does-my-new-hdtvs-picture-look-awful/
You’ve unpacked and installed your new HDTV, you’ve fired it up, and despite the expectation that everything should look magnificent on it, you can’t get over how everything looks uncannily smooth and downright weird. Read on as we explain why and show you how to fix it.
What a perfectly written article. I just purchased a new 46" Samsung 120hz model and found the experience nauseating and I woke up the next morning feeling like I had a hangover. After fiddling around in the advanced picture settings I found 2 settings that helped fix this problem. All is well now.
There are other things to do, too... one of the most important is to pick up a disc like Video Essentials and properly adjust your color, contrast, and brightness settings. The difference between a properly adjusted set and one using factory settings can be incredible.
Admittedly, the difference was a lot more dramatic on tube TV's, but it's still very noticeable on modern sets.
I definitely get a little nauseated, myself, when watching certain things with the full motion smoothing on. I think what does it for me is pan shots... I remember a scene in the movie Step Brothers where this particular pan shot (coupled with the 120hz motion smoothing) made it feel like the foreground and the background were sliding in opposite directions and at a strange unsynced speed that shouldn't naturally occur.
Good advice, I should do a writeup on using a video calibration disc. =)
The vast majority of all sitcoms, dramas, news, and nearly all movies are filmed at 24fps.
While the material may have been filmed at 24fps, it was never broadcast at that frame rate. NTSC broadcasting as well as digital broadcasting use a frame rate of 29.97fps (rounded up to 30). 24fps source material is converted to 30fps using a process called 3:2 pulldown. Current broadcasting is done at 30fps, which is exactly why televisions offer refresh rates like 120 Hz or 240 Hz, which are multiples of 30. Notice they don't offer refresh rates of 96 Hz or 192 Hz (which would be multiples of 24).
The reason this looks bad, especially during pans, is because the older NTSC broadcasts didn't actually use 30fps, they really used 60 interlaced alternating-line frames per second. This was because the tubes couldn't draw the full screen in 1/30th of a second. When video and broadcasting went digital and screens could be drawn fast enough, displays were able to produce 720p and 1080p, which is progressive, meaning the entire screen is drawn in one pass from top to bottom in 1/30th of a second. During a pan, the objects on the screen have moved horizontally during the 1/30th of a second it takes to redraw that part of the display. This can make it look jumpy and/or pixelated. The higher refresh rates attempt to deal with this by redrawing the screen faster, or inserting interpolated frames so there isn't as much perceived object movement between screen redraws.
The only place you are ever going to find true 24fps material is from a DVD or Blu-Ray disc. The material on the disc can be encoded at 24fps and either output at 24fps if the display can handle it, or the player can perform the 3:2 pulldown and convert it to 30fps, if that is all the display can accept.
Also, sitcoms, and dramas are not filmed at 24fps. They're shot straight to videotape at 30fps or to digital media at 60fps. I seriously doubt there's a single TV production company today still using actual film to shoot television shows.
Even movie production is switching to digital video.
Or you could just buy a plasma TV instead. They work, and they don't tend to have jacked up blues to make the display look more 'dynamic'. I'm dreading the day when my plasma HD TV packs up - it'll probably be irreplaceable.
Would I use smooth motion for video games (Halo, CoD), or should I turn it off when playing games?
Ugh. Plasmas are ugly and burn-in is a bear. Not to mention that it creates static for every ham radio operator in your neighborhood.
I'm in some kind of nightmare scenario for motion smoothing. I have a Vizio that is just 3 years old, right out of the Costco extended warranty. The Smooth Motion effect recently turned on and I can't turn it off - as in, the firmware doesn't even show the option in the menu! After several rounds with Vizio they told me either my cable box or Xbox One was causing the issue (read: SOL). Personally I find it implausible that a component could reset my firmware but I tested it with another box and the effect was the same. Denied my requests to flash the firmware.
If you have any HTG articles on how to flash a TV's firmware when their support gives up, I'll be all over that!
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