MUBI brings you a great new film every day.  Start your 7-day free trial today!
All Topics  »

HDTV and "soap opera" effect

I wasn’t even aware that this problem existed, but apparently it’s a fairly common one. We got a 55" 1080 LCD HDTV, and it frigging makes movies look daytime soaps. Is anyone aware of a way to combat this problem?

Surrealist gesture

over 3 years ago

Yes. Turn off any advanced and additional “motion control” options in the video settings. Then calibrate the television properly after.

What brand television did you get? I’m assuming this is a 120 Hz set?

Drunken Father Figure of Old

over 3 years ago

What exactly causes this and how well does your fix work to correct it?

I saw Harry Potter 2 playing on a 3D tv at Costco and noticed that it looked horribly dated – all the plants and animals looked ridiculously fake (although I’m sure it wasn’t all the tv’s fault), mostly due to bright lighting on the plants, making it look very much like it was shot in a studio. I started noticing this with Lost, too – the jungle began to look more and more like a set, and I think it was mostly due to my upgraded tv. Do you think the fact that more and more home viewers are getting more and more hdtvs is going to or has caused a change in the way movies are lit?

Surrealist gesture

over 3 years ago

The Cliffs notes answer:

Motion interpolation. Basically the television creates and draws in extra frames, changing the natural frame rate of the source, which leads to what they consider to be a “smoother” picture, but for anyone who has spent a good portion of their life watching film it just comes off looking like it was shot on a shit DV camera. Add to this motion interpolation problem further digital noise reduction features on most modern day HDTVs and it produces a flat, textureless, ‘shiny’ smooth image that looks absolutely horrible to most discerning viewers.

For some inane reason the television industry thought that a 120hz refresh rate was the way images should be re-produced at home…

In any event – try the following:
If possible turn off the 120hz refresh rate, keep it at 60
Turn off all DNR filters, black correctors, image enhancers, etc.
Turn off any further picture smoothers, scalers, motion enhancers, etc.
Then recalibrate just the normal settings on the television from scratch, such as color, brightness, gamma, contrast, sharpness, etc.

It should alleviate the horrible “soap opera effect”

Also, as for 3d televisions, I have no idea what they’re doing. I’ve stayed far, far away from all that nonsense.

KaiserS​ennheis​er

over 3 years ago

you may find things in this previous thread useful: HD

Thanks, Surrealist. yeah, it’s a 120 hz Samsung, and it makes films look horrible. I’ll try your suggestions. I hope it doesn’t alter the picture quality for sports viewing too much though.

Surrealist gesture

over 3 years ago

Blue,
It won’t :)

My mother recently bought a new 65" Samsung and it is in my opinion one of the worst offenders as fa as brands go when it comes to the soap opera effect – it can be toned down and they will produce a great picture – but I swear it was the hardest set I’ve ever had to ‘fix up’ in order to get things to look normal.

On top of that, once I was satisfied with how things were, I put in a Bluray to demo the new calibration for them and they complained that they could see the film grain… different strokes for different folks, eh?

SOYBEAN

over 3 years ago

Yes, that would have been my question. If you set your controls to give you the best film image does that diminish in any way the image you see when watching regular cable TV? I’m guessing that it probably isn’t noticeable. I’m asking myself these same questions because I will be buying one of these new fangled appliances very soon. I’ve been putting it off for several months.

EDIT: Sur Gesture just answered that question.

dope fiend willy

over 3 years ago

I think my eyes have adjusted to it, after a while.

When we first got our tv, I thought that every thing looked fake and plastic, but either my brother adjusted it, or my eyes adjusted to it, because I never adjusted it and my parents don’t know how.

The Searchers looks amazing on it, as does The Thin Red Line and Seven Samurai.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
over 3 years ago

I’m still hanging onto my 65" Rear-Projection Mitsubishi, which hasn’t been capable of real 1080 in a year or two. Inexorably it’s going to turn into a 300 pound paperweight, but till then I’m stuck. I should sabotage the motherfucker.

KaiserS​ennheis​er

over 3 years ago

I don’t see anyone mentioning plasma tvs. I have 46" Panasonic Viera plama tv and it’s never had these problems. Plasmas are better for viewing movies (really, they have a better picture quality overall). It’s too bad they have a bad rep due to the burn-in issue which is really not that big of an issue these days.