Switch off bad TV settings

Smart TVs have an abundance of weird settings designed to make Seinfeld look like it was directed by James Cameron.

At first this seems great. Why shouldn't 90s sitcoms seem like they were filmed in 4k at 60 frames per second? Then you start noticing things…

Settings like motion interpolation, noise reduction, and dynamic contrast undo the work of the film makers, introduce unwanted artefacts to the image, and make new movies look like soap operas.1

Watch movies as the makers intended, and save a small amount of electricity,2 by switching off weird smart tv settings.

How to switch off weird smart tv settings

The names of these settings differ between manufacturers, and so it's difficult to give a comprehensive guide — so below is an explanation of each feature with it's equivalent name for different brands. You'll need to navigate to your TVs settings and switch them off.

If you're lucky, your TV has filmmaker mode, a setting which will adjust your tv to align with the intentions of the filmmakers without you having to learn any terminology — brought to you by Tom Cruise complaining.3

I won't list every setting for every TV here — there are too many — but most new smart TVs have these three settings, which you should switch off:

Motion interpolation

Motion interpolation4 or motion smoothing increases the frames per second from 24fps to 60fps by creating and inserting new frames not present in the original film.

Motion interpolation is also known as motion smoothing, TruMotion, Motionflow,MotionSmoother, Clear Action, Intelligent Frame Creation, Action Smoothing, Auto Motion Plus and variations on a theme.

Dynamic contrast and brightness

There are lots of settings that dynamically adjust the contrast and brightness of scenes.

Dynamic contrast5 is designed to increase the contrast of dark scenes — present darker blacks. It can inadvertently cause overexposure in dark scenes with bright spots or show you more detail than the filmmakers intended.

Some TVs also dynamically dim the backlight in different areas of the screen.

These settings have an even wider variety of names including Dynamic Contrast, Dynamic Range Remaster, Local Dimming, Local Dimming, Brightness Optimisation, Adaptive Backlight.

Noise reduction

Noise reduction is supposed to reduce noise from terrestrial television, pixelation, and compression. It can inadvertently remove textures and result in a blurry picture — sometimes it's called Smooth Gradation

Learn more

I'm not an expert on picture quality. I did a cram session on it before writing this article. If you require further convincing that these changes will improve your quality of life watch How your TV settings ruin movies from Vox.

For more detailed changes you can make to your specific model of TV take a look at How to get the best TV picture from which.co.uk.


  1. 1

    Wikipedia – motion interpolation – the soap opera effect

  2. 2

    I think it's a fair assumption that switching off computationally intensive features of a smart TV will save energy — I will put this to the test at somepoint. I promise.

  3. 3

    Tom Cruise talking about "video interpolation"

  4. 4

    Wikipedia – motion interpolation

  5. 5

    Wikipedia – dynamic contrast