Smearing / differential movement display problems on my LED TV?
November 27, 2016 1:46 PM   Subscribe

My LED TV has always had a couple of (probably related) strange display issues. I'd like to know what this problem(s) is called so I can figure out if it can be fixed (and to avoid getting it in the next TV I buy - I might just trash this one!). See details below.

The TV is a Samsung 4003 LED TV, 3 or 4 years old.

Display problem #1: Image smearing with movement. When something is in motion across the screen - doesn't have to be particularly fast, and this happens more with darker moving objects - it tends have a smeary trailing image behind the thing that is moving.

Display problem #2: Hard to describe, but I'll do my best. In short, it's differential movement between foreground objects and background. So if the head and upper body of a person is in the foreground, if the person turns their head or changes their facial expression, the movement of the person seems to be detached from the movement of the background. Like foreground and background were filmed separately and pieced together. It looks fake and is kind of nauseating to watch.

I get both problems both from cable-based TV that I'm watching and from DVD's - though they seem to happen more with TV programming - especially problem #2, and double-especially when I'm watching PBS (maybe because they have so much "talking head" scenes in documentaries?).

If I could at least name my problem(s) that would be a great start! But if anyone has insights as to how I might be able to address these problems, so much the better. Thanks in advance!
posted by Mechitar to Technology (8 answers total)
Go into picture settings and turn off "motion plus" and anything else with motion in the name. TVs come with all kinds of processing algorithms that try to smooth the motion of things out, and they almost always do a bad job of it. At best it makes movies look like soap operas, and at worst you get weird uncanny valley effects like you've noticed. Fortunately they can still be turned off on most TVs.
posted by zsazsa at 1:59 PM on November 27, 2016 [6 favorites]

#2 could be some kind of compression issue, which would suggest a poor connection, maybe?
posted by andrewcooke at 2:03 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

As above, if your TV has a "game mode" it should turn off all this processing garbage. Otherwise do a hunt through the picture settings and turn off anything that sounds like the TV is trying to make your picture "better". Samsung's tech is sometimes called "Clear Motion".

The ghosting described in #1 sounds like poor GTG response time, and unfortunately this might just be the result of a low-end TV. According to Samsung's web page the monitor has a refresh rate of 50hz (or "Clear motion rate", whatever)... I'm not sure if this is an international standard thing, but for US televisions that would be lower than the 60hz standard.
posted by selfnoise at 2:06 PM on November 27, 2016

Oh, and #2 definitely sounds like fake refresh rate "Clear Motion" garbage, so try and disable that.
posted by selfnoise at 2:07 PM on November 27, 2016

Pulled these from a review of your TV model. Maybe give them a shot:

Picture Mode – Movie
Backlight: 15
Contrast: 95
Brightness: 43
Sharpness: 33
Color: 47
Tint (G/R): G44/R56

Advanced Settings
Color Space – Auto
Gamma – (-1)
Dynamic Contrast – Off
Black Tone – Off
Flesh Tone – 0
Motion Lighting – (HDMI only) Off

Picture Options
Color Tone – Warm2
Size – HDMI – screen fit, Other 16:9
posted by bluecore at 3:00 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sometimes this gets descibed as the soap opera effect, and it really is awful. I agree to go turn off every damn effect you can find, and make your TV be as dumb as possible.
posted by wenestvedt at 4:24 PM on November 27, 2016

I don't think you're seeing the soap opera effect from motion interpolation, as that should cut down on smearing at the expense of making it look uncannily smooth. (You should not be seeing #2 and #1 at the same time) I did have a Philips set that got it right, though. It managed to do interpolation without making anything look weird yet eliminated the smear. It couldn't be turned off.

The best way of eliminating motion blur is with a strobed backlight and/or black frame insertion. It works by turning off the backlight between frames, which makes your eye not see the smearing the same way you don't see it on a film projector. (As in that is exactly how film projectors keep you from seeing a blurry mess) On my recent Vizio that setting is called "Clear Action." Many Samsung sets have it, but I can't remember what they call it. At one time it was tied to the interpolation feature, but if you enabled it on its lowest setting you'd get the backlight strobing with minimal processing, so it didn't give you the full on soap opera feel while still cleaning up the motion blur.

FWIW, the gray to gray response time of the panel makes little difference in your perception of motion blur on an LCD. The problem is that the backlight being on all the time confuses the eye. It turns out your eye actually needs a bit of flicker for the illusion of motion to work right.

I'm with you on the excessively smooth appearance being mildly nauseating and just generally weird looking. I can never understand how people leave that setting on.

tl;dr: Find the clear motion/clear action/whatever setting and turn it to its least aggressive setting and that should strike a reasonable balance between motion blur and the soap opera effect.
posted by wierdo at 4:57 PM on November 27, 2016

The foreground background issue really sounds to me like intraframe compression artifacts rather than the display itself. If the settings suggested here rid you of all but the strange part-of-the-picture-updates-differently-than-the-rest problem, I suspect that your signal provider is doing a poor job at the head-end or perhaps even that the set-top box has something wrong with it or has a strange motion-processing setting enabled.
posted by bz at 12:32 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

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