That Darn Soap-Opera Effect on every new TV
This has been on my mind for a while since the beginning of the End when I strolled through a Best Buy. A bunch for their new LCD TV's were playing Iron Man.... but Tony Stark appeared to be more so in a soap opera than in a cinematic block-buster. I ignored it because I knew by working there previously that Best Buy really don't do justice to any of their TV's with their connections and configurations.
Fast forward a few years and we live in this world where every TV manufacturer is obsessed with advertising 240 Hz refresh rates and all of this other "Precision Motion" effects. I don't fully understand the technical jargon involved, so don't want to retort facts that I don't fully understand. What I do fully get is the end-user experience in this mess. Here's a bit of it from what I've researched:
Old LCD's from a few years back had a 60 Hz refresh rate. The complaint was that during things like watching sports with fast-paced moments, the motions got jittery. So alas came 120 Hz claiming to get rid of that. It utilizes motion interpolation to make a 'smooth effect.' It's all of this additional processing and motion interpolation that causes the dreaded soap opera effect, not the actual refresh rate.
So basically it makes movies look like crap. It is not at all what films were intended to look like, let alone much of the currently broadcasted TV shows. Last year I bought a new Vizio LCD TV and upon installing, I played Monsters Inc for some siblings to watch. Within the first five minutes, they kept saying they felt dizzy. I looked at the TV and realized I felt dizzy too. After shuffling through the menus, I found all of the smooth motion selections and shut them off. Voila. THAT is how pictures should look. Most movies are made in 24 frames per second. It almost makes me feel uncertain of the future of our TV's if companies peruse this bizarre ghostly effect. Some say that it just us not being used to seeing this sort of motion, but if it makes kids nauseous, something is wrong here. We have (apparently) been fine with the way motion looks for decades. Why mess it up now? Currently we can shut off these systems, but will there be a day where its fully caked in?
There's a reason why plasma TV's are still around. Their constituents don't have to deal with the artificial enhancements entailed with LCD TV's. Yes they have their cons, but regardless the issue at point is motion. Take a look through some AVS forums, and you will find plenty of people begging for ways to shut this off from their TV sets.