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LG TVs can automatically kill the soap opera effect for Prime Video content

LG is rolling out an update to the Filmmaker Mode feature on all 2020 and 2021 4K and 8K UHD Smart TVs starting this week. The update will let these TVs respond to a signal embedded in certain streaming shows and movies by automatically switching to Filmmaker Mode. For now, the feature only works with Amazon Prime Video content, but presumably, it could be applied to any streaming content from any service.

For the uninitiated, Filmmaker Mode — the brainchild of the UHD Alliance — is the TV industry’s answer to the growing frustration over what’s commonly known as the “soap opera effect.” Motion-smoothing technologies that are designed to help modern flat-panel displays do a better job with fast-motion video, like sports content, have the unfortunate side effect of making lots of other content (like movies and TV shows) look unnatural and, in many cases, low-budget — thus the soap opera analogy.

For some reason, TV makers continue to ship their TVs from the factory with motion-smoothing turned on by default, so Filmmaker Mode was established as a one-button way to turn off all of that extra picture processing, letting you see content the way its creators meant it to be seen.

LG’s update means that as long as the streaming content contains the relevant signal as a trigger, you don’t even need to reach for the remote at all — the TV will switch modes automatically. There’s always the option to turn motion smoothing back on manually, but I can’t see why you’d ever want to do that. In fact, LG’s automatic system should become standard on all TVs.

Filmmaker Mode is definitely the easiest way to eliminate the soap opera effect, and automatic Filmmaker Mode is even easier, but for those of us with older TVs, these are not the only options. We have a complete guide to disabling the soap opera effect on any TV. If you’ve never modified your TV’s factory settings, it’s worth a few minutes to dig into the menus in order to eliminate any unnecessary motion smoothing.

The new feature will work with streaming content from the built-in Amazon Prime Video app on any 2020 or 2021 LG 4K or 8K TV equipped with webOS 5 or webOS 6. Digital Trends has learned that these TVs will also recognize the same signal from third-party streaming media devices, like an Apple TV 4K, as long as the device (and the app you’re using) are capable of sending such a signal.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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