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HD Scenes look fake - is it my Samsung TV?

Feb 4, 2010 8:47AM PST

I have this weird sensation watching hd channels on my Samsung 32", 1080p, 120hz - LN32B640 (that i purchased 2 days ago) that many of the objects in the foreground are not part of the background. It's like when you watch a bad movie that uses a green screen for the background, and you can clearly tell that the people are not part of it. Well that's what this looks like. I'm not sure what's causing this, HD in general, Samsung brand, LCD TVs in general or what but I am having trouble believing in what I'm watching because it looks like actors walking around on a set. I am already having trouble with pixelation, so I might just return my Samsung for a Sony to see if I still have this exerience.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Discussion is locked

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HD shows all the flaws you didn't see on your old SD set.
Feb 4, 2010 9:46AM PST

Average CGI can look really bad in HD. And some people find HD pictures a bit distracting when they first start watching them because they keep noticing inconsequential details like blades of grass or something happening in the background. It will pass after the novelty wears off.

Pixelation (or macro-blocking) usually has nothing to do with hardware. It has to do with a crappy, over compressed signal and too much motion happening onscreen. Its very apparent with streaming services and cable and satellite "HD" content. Try a blu-ray or a really well encoded DVD on an up-converting player and you will see how good your picture can look.

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Feb 4, 2010 10:58AM PST

Turning off 120hz, look for 'Motion Plus' turn that off, that will help make it look better, not like a soap opera show.

Also how is the tv hooked up? HDMI?

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I tried with and without 120hz
Feb 4, 2010 11:38PM PST

Thank you so much for responding. I did try turning off the 120hz but I don't notice the difference. Also i'm trying to understand the "soap opera" effect. Is that just about seeing judders or what I described like the images in the foreground look superimposed over the background? Or like actors walking around on a set?

Also here's my full hookup info:
HD Cable Box - Samsung
Cable Company - Time Warner Cable - New York City (cable box is set to 1080i, 16:9)
HDMI Cables - i'm using the ones that came with my HD Cable Box from Time Warner (they are 1.3)

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I tried with and without 120hz
Feb 5, 2010 12:17AM PST

Thank you so much for responding. I did try turning off the 120hz but I don't notice the difference. Also i'm trying to understand the "soap opera" effect. Is that just about seeing judders or what I described like the images in the foreground look superimposed over the background? Or like actors walking around on a set?

Also here's my full hookup info:
HD Cable Box - Samsung
Cable Company - Time Warner Cable - New York City (cable box is set to 1080i, 16:9)
HDMI Cables - i'm using the ones that came with my HD Cable Box from Time Warner (they are 1.3)

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i just saw it
Oct 26, 2012 3:32PM PDT

It makes movies seem like they were filmed on a camcorder or something. I'm watching Rocky, it looks hilarious. I've never seen this b4

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Thank you!
Nov 18, 2012 4:13AM PST

You just saved my day, i was so angry when i got back home with my new samsung tv just to realise how bad opera effect it has! I understand it is hd and it is clear image, but i hope manufactures will always give option to turn this off as it is awful! Generally all tvs have this option somwhere to turn it off, "motion plus" is in samsung, you can also try to change the picture modes to movie then soap opera goes away completly

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go look at a plasma for a quick comparison
Feb 4, 2010 11:54AM PST

You shouldn't notice such 'realism' issues on a plasma IME. If you want a quick way to make the comparison, during a weeknight view a show like CSI in HD, then drive to a local big box store and view the exact same show on one of their plasmas. It will generally look much more realistic on the PDP IME.

While I don't think this is necessarily what you are noticing in this particular situation, it's noteworthy. Some of the newer LED-LCDs are truly splitting hairs though. Not entirely certain about backlighting in general though.

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Smallest size for plasma?
Feb 5, 2010 12:16AM PST

I think I'm going to stop by BestBuy later to look at plasma but I don't think they come in 32" which is the size I bought.

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Even a 37 or 42 would be fine just to compare (n/t)
Feb 5, 2010 12:26AM PST


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Plasma vs. LCD
Feb 5, 2010 1:40AM PST

Well would you recommend a plasma over an LCD tv? I can't afford the LED LCD so I guess I'd be looking at a 40" plasma. I'm returning my tv today so I need to decide.

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Plasma vs LCD
Feb 5, 2010 4:11AM PST

First, I saw a 32" (I think it was 32") Panasonic Plasma at Costco for cheap.

Second, I have two 120Hz LCDs that do not exhibit any of that weird "soap opera" effect. Many people complained about this effect but I didn't see it until I setup my father-in-laws Samsung 240Hz TV this past weekend, and that weird effect was so evident, I couldn't watch the TV. My father-in-law doesn't see it. My two large LCDs are a Sony and a Toshiba Regza. Both have stunning pictures in both HD cable and Blu-Ray Dics vieweing. The Toshiba was rated as having the best 120Hz processing of any TV, which I didn't know until I bought this TV. Many people also thing Toshiba makes low-end TVs, which they do but for that market, but they also make very good expensive TVs too. I've had mine for 1 year and I love it.

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plasma vs LCD
Feb 8, 2010 3:29PM PST

I bit the bullet and went for a Pioneer Pro151fd since I found it for $4400. Unfortunately, when it arrived, screen was shattered and I could not find another one available for less than $6500 anywhere and the store that sold it to me had given me their last one. What a bummer.. I was determined however and instead ordered a pdp6050, which is next lower model down in the pioneer line..

I already own a Samsumg LN46A850 LCD which has a very nice pic...

But man.. Pioneer is just something else. There is simply no comparison... I have been missing out on a great picture for so long. I am very happy with my purchase and recommend plasma to everyone. There simply is no comparison.. It is sooo unfortunate that plasma is pulling out of the market. Only panasonic seems to be determined to stay but I wonder how long for. I am so sorry that pioneer is not manufacturing these any more.

Happy viewing

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Re: HD Scenes look fake - is it my Samsung TV?
Feb 5, 2010 10:01AM PST

I have both a Samsung Plasma and a Panasonic HD LCD, and Time-warner. Neither of my sets exhibit a fake look, the detail should be uniform.
Some HD shows look better then others, but not fake.
Something else is going on with your set, go to a store showing a HD broadcast signal and compare.

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Re: HD Scenes look fake -
Feb 5, 2010 10:10AM PST
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Scenes look fake
Feb 6, 2010 1:57AM PST

I know exactly what you are referring to. The first time I saw it was watching a blu-ray DVD of U-Boat 471(?). What may be happening is the the resolution is getting so high that one picks up on the lighting of the sound stage in which the film was shot. In other words, the pictures may be getting 'too good'. I install home theater systems and this issue has been bantered about for the last few years. We call it garbage in, garbage out. The lower resolution technology wasn't able to pick this nuance up. Tweaking the picture as mentioned in other posts can help. I personally have stayed with the 720 resolution for its film like quality.

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Plasma makes movies look like "movies" - I hope
Feb 6, 2010 8:08AM PST

Soundgardner - yes exactly! I actually just got back from BestBuy and spoke to a salesman there that I liked and he said the same thing. He said if I really care about movies looking like "movies" and not actors on a film set, then I need to go with a plasma. I mostly only watch movies on cable and some boxing and MMA. I don't really watch DVDs, I don't game, and maybe I'll connect my PC but not sure yet. So for that I think a plasma might be the way to go. I also still see a lot of motion blur even when I have my 120 Auto Motion Plus turned to "Smooth" and the Judder and Blur Reduction turned up to 10. I hope a plasma will be better so now I have to start researching which one to get. I really can't go over 1,000 and would love to stay around 800 so we'll see.

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I would adjust the judder level
Feb 7, 2010 4:19AM PST

Auto Motion Plus 120Hz Off / Clear / Standard / Smooth / Custom / Demo Removes drag from fast scenes with a lot of movement to provide a clearer picture.
If you enable Auto Motion Plus 120Hz, noise may appear on the screen. If this occurs, set Auto Motion Plus 120Hz to Off.
Off: Switches Auto Motion Plus 120Hz off.
Clear: Sets Auto Motion Plus 120Hz to minimum.
Standard: Sets Auto Motion Plus 120Hz to medium.
Smooth: Sets Auto Motion Plus 120Hz to maximum.
Custom: Adjusts the blur and judder reduction level to suit your preference.

Blur Reduction: Adjusts the blur reduction level from video sources.
Judder Reduction: Adjusts the judder reduction level from video sources when playing films.
Reset: Reset the custom settings.
Demo: Displays the difference between Auto Motion Plus 120Hz on and off modes.

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In re: judder level
Feb 7, 2010 4:21AM PST

By "adjust" I mean turn it off or set it to it's lower setting. The judder level can make all programming look like high contrast VHS tapes.

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Judder and Picture color?
Feb 7, 2010 5:23AM PST

What would judder have to do with the color of the picture? I thought judder was when the picture skips for freezes for a second?

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Plasma will help with motion blur but it won't do anything
Feb 7, 2010 5:45AM PST

for pixelization. That's likely due to your cable provider compressing the heck out of an already overcompressed signal.

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Most pixelization...
Feb 11, 2010 2:46AM PST

The most common source of pixelation for the general populace is not broadcaster related, but rather signal reception issue.

Pixelation is most often a sign that your signal is low which will adversely affect the performance of your digital system across the board.

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Feb 11, 2010 12:43PM PST

Unless most of the populace is using over the air antennas and I just don't know about it, then the cable and satellite providers very much are to blame for pixelization that people see in "HD" programming. They compress the hell out of signals (many of which were already fairly compressed to begin with) to fit in more channels. The bandwidth for a decent signal is there. They just choose to fill it up with quantity over quality.

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Properly installed satellite systems
Feb 12, 2010 4:12AM PST

Whether speaking of DirecTV or Dish Network, neither exhibits regular or frequent pixelation when properly installed. Plenty of people see little or no pixelation. A properly set up satellite system will rarely drop signal and provides consistent viewing through all but the worst of weather.

The providers have not crossed the line to the point where everyone has problems because of the way they use compression. The problem is not usually over compression. The problems are usually due to poor installation, and the solution is for the satellite companies to provide better training for installers and to change priorities from speed and volume to quality.

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The OP has Time Warner Cable, not satellite.
Feb 12, 2010 12:26PM PST

And I can verify from personal experience that Comcast and Time Warner both have crappy HD signals.

Whether the issue is at the source or the problem of their installers is inconsequential. The end result is that most consumers get horrible looking HD feeds from standard cable connections. FIOS doesn't boast about the quality of their signal for no reason. Direct comparison screenshots show a remarkable difference:

The bigger point is that the LCD's don't inherently pixelate any worse than plasmas as per the OP's original concern. The problems is always with the source material.

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Cable quality can be increased in most cases
Feb 14, 2010 1:46AM PST

I have also seen widely varying quality in cable systems.

There are a few things a person can do with cable systems.

1. Start where the cable enters the home and check all fittings. They should be just over finger tight. Inside they should have no corrosion and the center needle should protrude from the fitting 1/16th inch. Check the ground block and replace if necessary.

2. Make sure cables are RG-6 not RG-59.
3. Remove any unnecessary cables.
4. Remove any unnecessary splitters.
5. Use correctly sized splitters, or cap (terminate) any open ports
6. Remove any excess length of cables.
7. Calibrate your television.

These things will decrease pixelation and increase PQ in most cable installs.

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Calibration does nothing for pixelization.
Feb 15, 2010 12:50AM PST

Let's make sure we are clear about this for the OP's sake. Nor does it have anything to do with whether your TV is Plasma or LCD nor does it have anything to do with the refresh rate.

Pixelization is all about a poor digital signal.

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Feb 15, 2010 1:50AM PST

While some pixelation can come from the broadcasters, this is a small portion of the pixelation witnessed.

The majority of pixelation is caused by poor signal reception in the home.

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Calibration does NOT affect pixelation
Feb 15, 2010 1:54AM PST

Thank you minimalist!

I included calibration in the list because it has a large bearing on picture quality and relates to the original question. Calibration does not have any relation to pixelation.

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Plasma may not help
Oct 1, 2013 11:27PM PDT

I know this is a very old post, but I just came across it while doing a google search because i was trying to look for a reason why my movies and shows look amateurish on my new TV. I am using a Smart Viera Plasma TV, made in 2013 with Satellite (DirecTV) signal, and i am having this issue so I know Plasma is not the solution. It is very annoying and I don't know what i can do about it. I hope there is a simple fix.

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You need to provide more specifics
Oct 2, 2013 4:22AM PDT

What you have said isn't enough to triangulate your specific issue(s).

My experience is the opposite. A quality plasma HDTV normally spanks the daylights out of everything other than the very top end of LED models.

Content is king though. What services/channels/settings are present so we can compare? Examples:

Comcast, NBC sports match, DirectV receiver/model number, HDMI cable from box to AV receiver, etc. Also list which Panasonic plasma model you own.

Be verbose so we can assist.

It may also be an example of unrealistic expectations. In any case, let us know more Wink