Tom Cruise: Your TV Settings Are Likely Wrong

Actor films PSA about the 'soap opera effect'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2018 11:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Tom Cruise is here today to talk to you about ... your TV settings. The actor (wearing his Top Gun: Maverick gear) filmed a PSA with director Chris McQuarrie about a feature of high-definition TVs called video interpolation or motion smoothing. It's meant to reduce motion blur when you're watching sports, but if you're watching a movie, it makes everything look ... weird. "Many people can't quite put their finger on why the movie they're watching looks strange," McQuarrie says in the video; people often refer to it as "the soap opera effect." Ars Technica explains it thusly: "Your Hollywood blockbuster movie will look like a 1970s BBC TV series." (The site has a great explainer if you want the nitty-gritty on how it works.) Cruise's plea: To make sure you're watching a movie the way the filmmaker intended, turn the setting off.

The problem? Most high-def TVs come with the feature automatically turned on, and it can take a series of complicated steps to turn it off. Directors called out the same setting last year, with one noting a common series of steps: "MENU>PICTURE>ADVANCED CONTROLS>REALITY AUGMENTATION>MOTION LIQUIDITY>FLUID FRAME RESTORATION." Cruise and McQuarrie's recommendation? Just search online for "turn off motion smoothing [your brand of TV here]" and then follow the steps. People are loving the PSA: "You're doing god's work, Tom Cruise," reads one sample tweet. And at Hot Air, Allahpundit writes, "This is simultaneously the most trivial, and most useful, PSA to come out of Hollywood in decades." (Read more Tom Cruise stories.)

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