(A quick note for TV nerds: I’m talking about 24fps stuttering here, not the Telecene Judder produced using 3: 2 pulldown to fit 24 frames into a 60Hz refresh rate. This is an entirely different phenomenon, although many people confuse the two. You can correct for telecine jerks by using a broadcast box capable of correctly outputting 24 Hz, such as the Apple TV 4K or Roku Ultra. However, not all streaming services will support proper 24Hz playback, so a TV that can reverse this conversion process is also useful.)
Motion interpolation is the best solution – used sparingly
So here we come to the heart of my dilemma. Twenty-four fps isn’t an ideal frame rate for modern screens, but it’s what we’re all used to and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
Sample and hold displays also remain for the time being, but the latest models attempt to combat these motion issues with two main features: the black frame insertion and the dreaded motion tween. I won’t go into too much detail about inserting a black frame, but RTINGS has a great explanation of how it works and what are some of its disadvantages. On most TVs, it darkens the picture considerably and causes flickering which some people find uncomfortable, not to mention picture duplications which can spoil the picture.
Which brings us back to the interpolation of images, that is to say the smoothing of movement. And yes, its default settings are usually way too dramatic. But I have found the lower settings to be less offensive. A little bit of tweening adds just enough information to “clean” the image during moving scenes, giving you a clearer, less jerky image without making it look like an episode. Days of our lives.
That said, finding this balance can vary from TV to TV, and some brands do it better than others. Keep in mind that the TV takes frames of your movie and guesses what the intermediate frames should look like – which can lead to artifacts or glitches in the picture when it goes wrong. O’Keefe says these artifacts are more common with higher interpolation settings, but that depends on the TV, its interpolation algorithm, and processing power – and, to some extent, how you notice them initially.
In my experience, no one does this better than Sony, which has a reputation among A / V enthusiasts for having the best motion processing. This is largely due to their Cinemotion feature, which has been featured on Sony TVs for many years. The company tells me that this feature uses de-telecining (to reverse that 3: 2 pulldown jerky) and tiny amounts of frame tween to present content at 24 fps as you’d expect to see it, rather than the way modern sample and hold screens show it in its purest form. Most people probably don’t even realize that this is happening, especially since Sony’s main Motionflow interpolation feature is separate from the more subtle Cinemotion setting: even if you set Motionflow’s smoothness to zero, there is always a bit of background tweening with Cinemotion. sure.
But part of Sony’s reputation is also due to its fantastic processing algorithms, which can interpolate images with fewer artifacts than competing brands. And ultimately, that’s why I bought a Sony TV after many years of motion-induced frustration – no other brand could achieve this sweet spot without side effects. Their current flagship products, the LED X950H and A8H OLED, use their most advanced processing hardware and having personal experience of both, these are the models I would recommend watching if you want the best movement on a modern TV. But you can also try it on your current device – just play around with the settings.