If you’re thinking about buying a new TV in 2020, we’ve got some news you’ll be interested in. TV manufacturers have made a lot of advances in quality and the number of features offered. Chances are there are features you aren’t using that could help you get more out of your entertainment experience. The integration of computer technology with televisions means that the average TV sold today does a heck of a lot more than just display TV programs as the broadcasters intended.
On the downside, there are also a few things about the latest TVs that are actually lowering the quality of your movie-watching experience. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. But it will help you to understand the full capabilities of your 4K TV.
How Motion Smoothing on High Def TVs Ruins Movies
Action star, Tom Cruise recently explained to BBC News that the ultra-high clarity setting which is being set as the default setting on 4K, High Definition TVs is ruining movies.
He said, “If you own a modern high-definition television, there’s a good chance you’re not watching movies the way the filmmakers intended, and the ability for you to do so is not simple to access.”
The settings we’re talking about is called interpolation or motion smoothing, and it’s sucking the drama out of film. If you think about normal vision, when an object moves by very quickly, you get a blur effect. It’s something we are very accustomed to and when we see its effect in film, it conveys “blinding speed” and dramatic motion. Filmmakers use this effect to their advantage to ramp up the drama of an exciting scene in the same way children use motion lines in their drawings to show the excitement of high-speed movements.
When a TV has its motion smoothing setting activated, it deletes all of the motion blurs that convey tension, drama, and danger making a well-shot film look like what actor Reed Morano calls “soap opera video.”
Motion smoothing has been around for at least ten years, and it’s quite novel. People see the super high clarity and accept it as an improvement, but we think you’ll see it for what it is once you put the setting back to normal.
According to Cruise, the setting is buried in the menus, but if you Google “Turn off motion smoothing” and enter the make and model of your TV, you should be able to find it.
How The Most Unused TV Settings Can Improve Your Viewing Experience
Learning about motion smoothing was a wake-up call for us. It got us thinking that there might be more 4k TV calibration settings that could make for a better viewing experience if we only knew about them.
Here’s what we found:
- Wireless Audio Syncing: Samsung soundbars can wirelessly sync to your TV, allowing you to control the sound presets, and the EQ on your TV screen. Soundbars contain the left, right, and center channels of your sound spectrum, making them great for easily adjusting your audio set up by simply arranging them according to your preference.
- Light Sensor: This feature gives you the ability to optimize brightness based on ambient light. This allows you to keep some lights on so you can see your popcorn and beverage while still enjoying a great cinematic experience.
- Sony “Reality creation”: Admittedly, this sounds like hype. But Sony’s patented “reality creation” feature is able to take a low-resolution video source and improve it using specialized clarity boosting algorithms. This could help if you’re watching a copy of a movie that hasn’t been remastered or a YouTube video from the 2000s.
- Wide Mode: This is that good old feature that appeared with the advent of DVDs. It enables you to switch between full screen and “theater mode.” When done properly (ie; not just cropping the top and bottom), it makes your movie look the way it did on the big screen. It works best on TV’s 65” or larger. It’s probably best to stay on normal for standard definition footage to avoid stretching. Smaller TVs might do best with “wide zoom” so that it fills the frame properly.
- Picture Modes: When it comes to adjusting the picture, most people are aware of contrast and brightness. But modern TVs have a whole list of modes for you to choose from for the best experience depending on what you are viewing. These include:
- Color Temperature: The tint of the white or “washed out” parts of the image. This affects the overall mood of the image.
- Edge Enhancement: In the same way that children’s cartoons use black lines around objects to make them clearer, edge enhancement does this with objects on your screen. It can help add needed clarity to a low-quality image source. It’s also one of the best TV settings for gaming.
- Gamma: This one has been around for a long time, but it’s often confused with brightness. Gamma enhancers adjust the dark and bright areas of the image. By adjusting them to your preference, you can effectively improve the contrast ratio. Some TVs have a special menu with a list of set Gamma adjustments for various activities, and you should be able to adjust each to your liking.
We understand that playing around with all these esoteric settings might be a little bit spooky. But there’s nothing to worry about. You’ve always got the option to return to the default settings.
If you’re looking to buy a new TV this year, knowing about all these interesting features will help you to get the most out of it. Best of all, you might even manage to look like a real audio/video wizard in front of your friends and family. So give them a whirl, and have fun!
Before we go, let’s get back to that interpolation setting we talked about earlier. If you’re into gaming- you’ll want to switch interpolation back on- especially if you’re into those detail-intensive shooters. Your opponents will notice the difference.